This weekend, seven hundred members of the Jane Austen Society of North America congregated in Brooklyn for its inaugural meeting, a discussion of sex, money, and power. Anna Quindlen delivered the keynote. Cornel West addressed suffering. And, of course, bonnets were worn. “This is a place where people can let their Jane Austen freak flag fly,” said one attendee. [New York Times]
A certain degree of condescension (and not the good Lady Catherine to Mr. Collins kind) towards the Austen fans described this Times article is beginning to be somewhat palpable.
To those who sneer I say give it a rest, literati—Jane fandom is no different than the internet fanboys who freak out about everything David Foster Wallace ever doodled. Actually it is different: it’s more organized, and more fun.
That being said, a lot of the Tumblr comments I see are more along the lines of “why didn’t I go to this?” Yes. JASNA needs to do more to reach out to the youth, although the NY chapter are trying hard. They had a free lecture and a pub crawl this year.
My writeup of the conference is forthcoming this week. In the meantime: