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Calling All Janeites

Mar
17

Morgan is working on a research paper for one of her classes at WVU. As part of her research, she asked if she could post on my blog to pose some questions to those of you who may have an interest in her subject, Jane Austen. Morgan is an avid fan of Jane Austen’s work. If you have any knowledge or opinions, please help! You can respond to her in the comments or send your comments to her email address below.


From Morgan:

As many of you may know, I entered college in the fall. This semester I have English 102 and the class has been themed around fandoms. We were supposed to pick one “fandom” and research it for the semester and I chose the Jane Austen Fandom, the Janeites. The overarching theme I’ve chosen to follow is how class influenced the characters in the novels and how we as readers personally responded to that. Due to my mother’s blog I have direct access to possible readers of Jane Austen and I am taking advantage of that opportunity for primary research, an idea my teacher loved. What I am asking of you is that I would like for you to tell me how Jane Austen’s novels have made you reflect on your role in society and how it has personally impacted you. I would also like for you to think about how your experience with class in today’s society is mirrored in Jane Austen’s England.

You can either respond in the comments here or you can respond privately to my email: mlmcminn@mix.wvu.edu.

Since I know it’s been a painful amount of time since you last gazed at my glorious face I have included a picture of me with my books I’m going to use for research.
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Thank you!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on March 17, 2015  

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  1. 3-17
    12:17
    pm

    Hi Morgan,
    Unfortunately I haven’t read enough Austen to help you out. Just wanted to say “hi”. Love your “studious” picture and love hearing from and about you now and then. Good luck with your project.

  2. 3-17
    6:55
    pm

    I’m a huge Jane Austen fan & have been since high school. I’ve read all the books(some many times), seen all the movies(ditto) & have read a lot of spin offs.

    Here are my answers.
    1 -How have Jane Austen’s novels made me reflect on society?
    They haven’t really except for the fact that I do love history & I do think about society then when I read them. I love reading her novels more than modern writers who try to copy her style. She lived in that society so her writings show it so much better. I read them for fun & I don’t connect it at all with my role in society today like for instance, my religion does – that has much more to do with my role to me than a fiction written a long time ago. Though I will admit to occasionally wishing I could be a Jane Austen girl who just drinks tea, reads & enjoys a flower garden cared for by someone else.

    2. How has it personally impacted me? I believe what we read does affect us so Jane Austen surely has improved my reading & vocabulary skills, & made me want more good, clean, fun stories, ect. I enjoy things like my garden, good conversations, ect more because I’ve read her but I don’t think the novels have made any big changes in me.

    3. How is class in the Austen books mirrored in today’s society. For the most part in the US it isn’t mirrored in our society. To try to compare the injustices of that time to this in America is unrealistic to say the least. In other parts of the world, yes there are more distinct classes with many of the same type of rituals.

    Now my question – none of these questions have much to do with English 102. They seem more fitted for a sociology class? I am sure though that in most universities today this will get you a great grade if you follow the status quo with your answers! I hope you’ll share a little on the blog about your results & a brief description of how you covered it.

  3. 3-18
    12:39
    pm

    I was all excited when I read the title, and thought it was a Mammy Jane call! That, I could help with. Jane Austen, not so much. Sorry Morgan!

  4. 3-18
    1:41
    pm

    We still have classes, they’re just defined differently in the U.S. in these times. Now they’re defined by race, poverty, etc.

  5. 3-18
    2:03
    pm

    Hi Morgan! I am excited that you chose Jane Austen as your topic. As a librarian, reader, and Southerner I am very familiar with Ms. Austen’s works. I will be happy to respond to your questions.

    1 -How have Jane Austen’s novels made me reflect on my role in society?
    As a librarian, I believe her novels are still very relevant. The setting may have changed, but the emotions and circumstances of her characters are timeless. If this were not true then she would not still be on every AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) high school reading list, as well as many college English Lit required reading lists. And movie and television writers and producers would not use her novels as inspiration and investment projects. Many novels published today use the same plots as in her books (see https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/modern-jane-austen). I can recommend her novels to patrons not only as excellent literature, but as material that may inspire their own writing, or satisfy a need a student may have to answer questions about relationships, or as a window into history.

    2. How has it personally impacted me?
    As a reader I find her novels entertaining and satisfying. When I was a young woman I could relate to her stories and have seen myself reflected in her characters and their situations. I enjoy well written literature in historical and romantic settings without blatant sexual descriptions, but I also like contemporary situations. I feel like Jane Austen’s novels fit into all of the above.

    3. How is class in the Austen books mirrored in today’s society?
    Since I am from the “Deep South” (Alabama) and grew up in a certain segment of society I can relate to the settings of Ms. Austen’s book. There is still an element of such (social expectations and mores) down here. Girls in upper middle class families are still taught how to be a reflection of their family names, how to debut, how to marry the “right” man and into the “right” family. And in the South “upper class” girls in every town understand about using charm and humor to control a social situation (think about “Scarlett O’Hara”). It hasn’t changed all that much from our English and French heritage.

    Hope this helps. If you need more please feel free to email me at Auburn Public Library: eengle@auburnalabama.org. Everyone calls me “Ms. Eve” there. (((hugs)))

  6. 3-19
    4:48
    pm

    Hi Morgan,

    I am a reader of your Mom’s blog and have been for more than a few years. First, let me tell you my name is Jane and I love my name! I have heard (books on tape) all of Jane Austen’s books or have them on DVD’s. I love Jane Austen!

    My role in society is one of being a military wife. While Jane Austen never married, she wrote of some of the military in her books. My role as a wife of a military officer makes me think Jane A. would have fit into that role nicely. Jane A’s family in her books were a little above the common family in that they could afford a cook or house keeper. While I have never employed a cook or person to clean my house, I feel right at home with Jane’s families in her books. I don’t like the class system but even now, we in America tend to “judge” a person’s rank on how much a family’s income is.

    I, like Jane A.’s characters, would gladly help anyone who needs a helping hand. But I’m like Jane A., in not rushing to be the first to do that. Jane A’s regard for family is strong and so is mine. I also love her need to better herself by those around her. While I am a passionate needle worker, Jane was a passionate writer. I love that because she enabled all of us to understand the circumstances of the day.

    I hope this has helped you. I don’t often share my ideas with just anyone, but I love your Mom’s blog and her “truth” about life.

    Sincerely, Jane H. Hill

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