by Judi, Adult Services
139 years after her birth, the works of Jane Austen remain popular, both in print and on film. Born to a clergyman on December 16, 1775, Austen was familiar with the habits of the gentry and aristocracy, and wrote satires for the entertainment of her family. She self-published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in 1811, and followed that novel with others—Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Her works had been published anonymously, and their authorship was announced by her brother Henry only after her death in 1817. He also arranged for the publication of two more of her works in 1818—Northanger Abby and Persuasion. Austen’s wit and social commentary have caused her novels endure, making her one of the most widely read British authors.
The TALK program at Manhattan Public Library will be discussing one of Austen’s most popular works—Emma—on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00pm. Join fellow Austen-lovers in discussing this comedy of manners as Emma Woodhouse, a young, beautiful, privileged woman decides to become a matchmaker. But she learns the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan. The discussion will be led by Thomas Prasch, professor and chair of the History department at Washburn University and has been leading KHC TALK discussions since 1999. Pick up a copy of “Emma” at the Information Desk and join us for the discussion!
Another indication of the continuing popularity of Austen’s works are the many novels that have been written in recent years about characters from her books:
- Author Stephanie Barron has created “Jane Austen Mysteries”, a series in which Austen puts her sleuthing skills to the test to solve various mysteries. The first book in this series is “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor.”
- Another crime-solving series that features both Elizabeth and Darcy are the “Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries”, beginning with “Pride and Prescience, or A Truth Universally Acknowledged” by Carrie Bebris.
- “The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: a Modern-day Novel of Jane Austen” by Beth Pattillo is based on “lost writings” of Jane Austen and loosely follows the plot of “Sense and Sensibility”.
- Sharon Lathan has created a series based on the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy. The first title in her Darcy Family Saga series is “Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One”, which follows their relationship after their wedding.
- In her series “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman”, Pamela Aidan retells the story of “Pride and Prejudice” as seen through the eyes of Darcy. The first in this trio of books is “An Assembly Such as This”.
- If you are enthralled with zombie and vampire novels, look no further than “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” or “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre”.
If you are a lover of all things Austen, Manhattan Public Library has numerous items that will interest you—from the fiction already mentioned to non-fiction titles from designing a garden to crochet to tea time recipes all in the style of Austen. To learn about the times in which she lived, try “Jane Austen’s World” or “Jane Austen’s Country Life”. Or you can immerse yourself in one of the many film adaptations of her books. Manhattan Public Library has what you need to celebrate all things Austen!