by Deborah Yaffe

Reviewer Rating:


Jane Austen is one of the few authors who can effortlessly straddle high culture and pop culture, and who has inspired an entire industry of books, films, academia, and action figures. Deborah Yaffe writes about this phenomenon in her book Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom. Yaffe explores the many facets of Austenmania, from people who appear in Regency attire, to people who make thousands of dollars selling Austen fan-fiction, to the Austen purists, to psychological professionals who administer Austen in a therapeutic context. But Yaffe herself, as one of the titular Janeites, has nothing but acceptance for everyone letting their freak flag fly. There's an underlying narrative of Yaffe wearing a different Janeite hat: her attempt to attend the Jane Austen Society of North America's Annual General Meeting ball in full Austenian regalia. Her tone is journalistic and pulls you into the lives of the people she explores. She handles the subject with a care but also with a grain of salt. If you love Jane Austen or if you wonder what all the fuss is about, this is a great portrait of the scope and the depth of Austenmania.

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