Jane Austen’s famous novel Pride and Prejudice was first published on January 28th, 1812, 200 years ago today. While Austen’s work isn’t exactly an experiment in radical intersectional rebellion, she was a proto-feminist thinker who created independently-minded female characters, identified obstacles that kept other women from writing, and paved the way for female writers after her. If you’re a fan looking to celebrate with like-minded readers, or just gawk at all the fuss, you’ve got some options:
- Fight your way into a reconstruction of the Netherfield Ball hosted by the BBC. Or, more realistically, spend the day figuring out how to get BBC2 by the time a program based on the event airs in the spring.
- Explore the feminist literature on Austen. You can find some gems in the online issues of Persuasions, the Jane Austen Society of North America’s journal. For a more spirited debate on the merits of Austen’s attributed feminism, JSTOR also offers some of its online articles for free.
- Watch fans react with horror to Jezebel‘s suggestion that Austen books are “highbrow Twilight.” Really, don’t even bother with the article–just skip down to the comments.
- Tune into the Jane Austen Center’s “read-a-thon.” The Center is housed in Bath, but it is live-streaming the 12-hour reading.
- Find an event at your library. The New York Times particularly recommends Philly’s Free Library today, and some of the fun can be found on its website.
- Learn about the Austen community. The BBC has a great article on American Janeites/Austenites–maybe this is your calling!
- Cook a Jane Austen-inspired dinner. If you don’t happen to own “The Jane Austen Cookbook,” the Bath-based Center offers a number of recipes online.
- Watch all the movies. If you thought this sounded easy, keep in mind: seven are available on DVD.
- Re-read the book.