Jane Austen and the 21st Century

Jane Austen and the 21st Century

As March 8th was International Women’s Day, here’s to you, Jane Austen,  for you influence on so many lives.

I think it would be interesting to take a trip through time, to learn Jane Austen’s view on how her stories have come to life, and many lives she has touched.

1188px-PrideAndPrejudiceTitlePageAs was the custom of female authors in her time, Jane Austen published anonymously.  The first edition run was 250 copies, according to an auction website. Jane Austen was not truly recognized for her work for nearly 50 years, when, in 1870, her nephew published “Memoirs of Jane Austen.”

Today, it is estimated that over 20,000,000 copies of Pride and Prejudice have been sold worldwide.

In 1832, the first U.S. publication was made of Austen’s work, and by 1870, there was a distinct response in the U.S. to her work.

It was only 10 years ago when I became a JAFF addict. I began reading stories written by JAFF authors using Austen’s beloved characters. Such names as Sharon Lathan, Regina Jeffers, Kara Louise, Linda Berdoll, and Linda Wells gave me some of the first JAFF works I read.

Now, in 2015, thanks to the world of Internet and social media, we are able to reach further than could ever have been dreamed of before.

From Jane Austen publishing anonymously,  too few publishers giving a second look at JAFF stories,  we now have individual publishing companies, and programs through Amazon and Nook for self publishing.

We have forums were we can share our thoughts, our stories, learn from others in the area. Groups such as DarcyandLizzy.com, Beyond Austen, and A Happy Assembly reach fans worldwide.

Many of us in the genre have our own blogs (yes, even I do). We are all over Facebook and Twitter, Austen Authors, Austen Variations,  and more.

Then there are movies, based on Austen’s work or influenced by her stories, and audiobooks.

But we addicts of the 21st century are not stopped there. We have dolls, jewelry, bookmarks, tea blends, soaps, and even bandages.


jane-austen-action-figure_large_2x JA BandaidsAnd yes,  I admit to having purchased these items.

iheartdarcysetlg_large_2x With hundreds of JAFF stories being written, in Regency period, modern, and even in other realms with vampires and werewolves,  we still want more.Jane_Austen_Silhouette_Sampler_large_2x

So, with all the changes in the JAFF world, what is your opinion? Are we a passing fancy which will fizzle and die? Or will we continue to grow, keeping our beloved characters living for centuries to come?

And what would Jane Austen think, if she were alive today, seeing our passion for her stories and characters?  Personally, I wish I could meet her and thank her personally for all she has brought to my life, nearly 200 years after her death. And I wish she could have enjoyed knowing, in her life, the influence she would have on the world.

In honor of my newest release, On the Road to Ramsgate, I will be giving away a copy of the Kindle version.


35 Responses to Jane Austen and the 21st Century

  1. How many years later and everyone still loves Jane Austen’s works. Times change, we move forward in time, machinery, our lives but Jane’s works move forward and still makes readers happy. Her works are true to life experience no matter what era! I love that she and her works are so loved!!!!!

  2. I don’t think JAFF is a passing fancy. I think some characters will never be forgotten and have more stories written about them and would put this in the same bubble as King Arthur and Robin Hood. As for what Jane might think, I believe she’d be quite surprised at how popular her books are and flattered that Darcy & Lizzy are so loved when can’t get enough of them . Please do not enter me in the give away as I already have the kindle version of On the Road to Ramsgate.

  3. I really do not know what Jane Austen would think about us!! She has created a story and great characters and we made them immortal. Maybe, she would be amused to read the novels that has been created with her characters and, maybe , she would like some variations more than others.
    One thing is sure: we will NEVER be tired of her or her characters!!!

  4. I have a JaneAusten doll sitting proudly on my desk along with my Darcy Facebook mouse pad. And so many items at home! What fun! Thank you for the giveaway.

  5. I have the bandages and just about anything with Jane Austen on it or connected to it. I even have copies of books that she read. She would probably think me silly. But I am a true fan.

  6. I would like to think that Jane Austen would personally enjoy the recognition that people love and appreciate her works even more than 200 years later than in her day. Being an Austenesque lover myself, I don’t think it’s just a passing fancy because the words she wrote are so true and can be applicable in any century and anywhere in the world where humans will continue to make the same mistakes.

    Thanks for the giveaway, Melanie.

  7. First read Pride and Prejudice at school as part of the school exams, and I read the rest a few years later and I still read them, It is only in the last couple of years that I discovered all these variations, long may they last and I think they will

  8. Jane Austen is my hero. She has done so much for women of all classes. I never read any Jane Austen books in school,even though I have a masters in English. She has always been pleasure-reading for me, which in some ways doesn’t do her justice and in other ways does her all the justice in the world. People just don’t realize the depth of her writing.

    • Being dyslexic, I found reading when I was young difficult. I am self taught on dealing with it, and am now a readaholic. Jane Austen’s books were easy for me to read, unlike some others from the time frame. The language and style were pleasantly well done for my mind.

  9. Somehow I don’t think JAFF is a passing fancy. It’s been alive and well for almost 20 years now and I think it will continue. What is amazing is how different generations have their own different visions of Austen characters, both guided by and reflected in the adaptations. David Rintoul and Lawrence Olivier portrayed such different Darcys to Colin Firth’s or Matthew Macfadyen’s, and goodness knows what Mr Darcy will do at the time of interstellar travel, but somehow I think there will still be Jane Austen adaptations even then. Beam us up, Mr Spok 😉

    • Not only the difference in the portrayal of the characters, but the differences in the way the scripts were done, the emotions which were explored by the actors/actresses. It is neat to see the opinions of those of us who are …matured…and the young ones who are joining the field. Seeing the technology the ones like Elizabeth Anne West and Sophie Andrews, they will continue expanding the JAFF world for the next generations.

  10. I love to ponder on what Jane would think, not just about us writers and readers but about all the film adaptations too! Who would she say was truest to her vision of Darcy – Laurence Olivier, David Rintoul, Colin Firth, or Matthew MacFayden? Which Elizabeth Bennet best matches the image she had in her mind as she wrote? I would dearly love just a few minutes of conversation with Jane, to settle lingering questions I have on just such matters as these!

    • It would be interesting to see which actors portrayed the characters as she would have believed them to be. Which Darcy would be her favorite, which Knighlty, and such.

  11. I have read P&P many times over the years but it was only last year when I found the 1st follow on by Sharon Lathan from my book club and checked on Amazon that I realised just how many variations there are. I am loving them and would love to be able to thank Jane for starting it all with her wonderful writing. As it is I would just like to thank the wonderful authors who are continuing the good work.

    • Her characters are realistic and we can relate to them. How many of us have known a Wickham or a Willoughby? How many of us hope for someone to love us as Darcy does Elizabeth? I think that is why the characters are so loved. And with all the programs available and the internet, we get to expand.

  12. The impact of Jane Austen truly is phenomenal. I’m giving a talk on this very subject in a couple days, and I never tire of noting how extraordinary her influence.

    What would she think of all this? I honestly can’t imagine how anyone would react to such wild celebrity. I am sure she would be shocked, but once that waned she would undoubtedly be pleased.

  13. I fell in love with Jane’s brilliance when I was still really young but Sharon Lathan is responsible for my addiction to JAFF. I am very thankful for all the websites and blogs because it allows me to spend a little bit of time each day with kindred spirits in the virtual universe because I have no one in my literal universe that understands the concept. I agree with chatty, I think she would find us all (and all of the associated products!) excessively diverting and possibly worth writing a new book. That is after she got over her shock at my short hair and slacks. LOL

    • I love how the internet and bogs, forums, and the likes has changed my life, allowing me to explore feelings and talents I never thought of years ago. It allows even those who are timid to connect with others of us addicts.

  14. I have to think that Jane would be shocked with how an entire industry has risen around her books! I cannot imagine what she might write to her sister about us. 🙂

  15. I, too, came to the party late. And I resisted the variations for a while and re-read P&P for a year before branching out into the sequels.

    I think Jane’s characters will continue to be a world favorite. There is something quite safe and enduring about the story and the characters. I’m sure we see ourselves in at least one (if not many!) of them.

    btw, I really enjoy your stories, thank you for sharing them!

    • Thank you. I know I have known a Wickham and a Mr Collins in my life. That is what I love about her characters, they are “people” who are realistic.

  16. Melanie, I too am grateful for the modern age of JAFF. With access to the web and social media I have met so many kindred spirits from places all over the world and love the virtual tours that I am able to take via the blog posts. With our JAFF sisters we can travel back in time or stay right here in the 21st always looking for that connection back to JA. Of the JAFF goodies, I would have to say that one of my favorites is my I Love Mr. Darcy Bag. Thanks for sharing. ~Jen Red~

    • I have the license plate cover that say Darcy Is Driving Me Wild. With my Darcy, it is fitting. It is funny, to be totally honest, I am an introvert. Being able to connect with all of you who share my love of JAFF has helped me come out of my shell more and more. I love it.

  17. Melanie, like you I came to the party late and have enjoyed it ever since. And I would think that Jane would find us all very diverting. Probably write something very funny about us to Cassandra!

    • My dear Cassandra, you should see the man they casted to play Mr Darcy…Yummy! Can’t wait to see him come out of the pond soaking wet.
      The thoughts which were forbidden in the 1800’s that we openly discuss today, the Austen sisters could have all sorts of fun.

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