Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Source: Publisher
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Deborah Yaffe grew up loving books, even breaking school rules about reading in gym class, but nothing compared to her early love for Jane Austen. Before the internet allowed fans to easily connect with one another and the infamous Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice put Jane Austen on everyone’s reading list, Yaffe’s obsession felt very personal. It wasn’t until she discovered the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) that she realized she was not alone in her love for the author; in fact there were thousands of “Janeites” throughout the world, many with stories much more extreme than her own.
In Among the Janeites, Deborah Yaffe digs into the Jane Austen fandom from both the inside and the outside. Though a regular attendee of JASNA conferences, for the first time Yaffe spends hundreds of dollars on a period costume to wear to the conference ball. She also travels to Jane Austen’s Chawton home in England with a group of Janeites in a sort of pilgrimage, aiming to walk the same paths as their favorite author. Yaffe talks to several others: famous fan fiction writers, people with outrageous theories, a man deciphering what he believes to be a secret code found in Austen’s work.
Even those with minimal Austen knowledge simply curious about an extreme group of fans will find a great deal to enjoy in Among the Janeites. Without ever shutting out the casual reader nor chastising the Janeites for their excessive enthusiasm, Deborah Yaffe’s book celebrates both Jane Austen and the impact the written word can have on all of us.