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Jane in January and You – How has Jane Influenced You? — 40 Comments

  1. I became a Jane Austen fan after reading Pride and Predudice for the first time in my 20s. Then I saw the 6 part series with Colin Firth💝 I was hooked. I was given a complete collection of Jane Austen and it cover to cover. I went to the library and found my first jaff, The Bar Sinister. Omg I found the movies and watched them all and more as they came out. I was then invited to my first JASNA meeting! There is an organization of people who love Jane Austen !?!. 6 years later I am the regional coordinator of our NY Capital Region JASNA. I have been to one AGM in DC so far…

  2. I got into Jane Austen after the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, which was closely followed by seeing the 1995 version of Persuasion. Between both of those I was hooked and have never looked back.

  3. About 8 years ago my husband read Pride and Prejudice. He told me I would like the story as it was historical fiction which I loved but I balked. It had nothing to do with the size of the book. (I read all three of the books in The Three Musketeers straight through without sleeping.) He finally convinced me to sit down and watch the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice and that was it. I read P&P as well as Jane Austen’s other major works and was introduced to JAFF and have not looked back.

    • I’ve usually watched the adaptation first. I still love the books better, but I do think watching the movies helped me understand much of the language when I wasn’t accustomed to it. Thanks, Deborah!

  4. I first read P&P as a young teenager in the early sixties. I read the other books but P&P is by far my favourite. Then I watched the 1995 version on tv and loved it. I bought a copy and also it I watch it every time it’s on. Then the 2005 film and another purchase. I thought that was it until I saw Sharon Lathan’s Two Become One in my book club. I loved it and searched on Amazon and WOW! I’ve never looked back and read (and ‘re read) as many as I can. I also really enjoy interacting with so many great authors and bloggers and especially getting recommendations which I rely on now there seem to be a number of people jumping on the bandwagon, using the names Darcy and Elizabeth but obviously not knowing or caring about the actual story or their characters. So thank you for all your hard work, careful research and wonderful books.

    • I like coming up with new stories, but even with drastically different storylines, I still like using as much as I can of canon. They’re such great characters, but we also have amazing fans. It’s great getting to know everyone and making friends all over the world! Thanks, Glynis!

  5. One of the side benefits of reading Austen and getting hooked into JAFF is meeting so many wonderful caring and enthusiastic cyber friends who share your passion. Love it! Jen Red

  6. I first read Jane Austen in the 1970’s – golly that long ago. I still go back and read Jane Austen and watch the DVD’s every now and again. Now I am getting hooked on JAFF and love it and never get tired of hearing how Elizabeth and Darcy get together. There always seems to be tension as to whether they will overcome all obstacles. How has all this influenced me – well my Kindle book reader has loads of Jane Austen on it so each holiday I can enjoy Jane Austen and JAFF to the full. Also in the 1970’s I joined a folk dance club and a Sunday Playford dance club so I could dance like Jane Austen. It was great fun and I met my own Mr Knightley, got married and are still together and still dancing when we can.

  7. I watched the 1995 version on PBS in early 2009. Got the book, a copy of the movie, the rest of the books, then discovered JAFF and these sites. I am now 100 books behind in my TBR pile. So much to read, so little time.

  8. My first contact with Jane Austen was in my teens: I found a second volume of Pride and Prejudice among my grandfather’s books, a paperback edition of the 60’s and I was draw for the title and the resume on the back, but it was the 2º volume …! I could not find the first. I put it aside and every time I went on vacations to my grandparents’ house I search for it. Never found it, but years later I bought my on Pride & Prejudice. I adore it, and it really did not make sense, usually I read thrillers, horror, serial killers… So I read Sense and sensibility. And Persuasion (my truly favourite)
    And then one evening I saw Colin Firth playing Mr Darcy, and was lost forever.
    I read all the JA books, and even bought “Letters from Pemberley” from amazon, witch prove to be too expensive due to transport costs between countries.
    But now in the age of internet and smartphones I can have Lizzie and Darcy always with me, and I know there are more like me and don’t feel so weird

    • It’s awesome to find people who love Jane as much as we do! Love that you found her and it’s something so different. Just shows how much she can appeal to everyone. Thanks, Carla!

  9. I first discovered JA when I watched the 1940 version of P&P. I was into watching classic movies at the time and P&P became one of my favorite ones. From there I fell in love with the books. It never occurred to me to read any of the variations though until about 3-4 years ago. I had gotten into reading FanFiction and decided why not try a P&P one. I loved it and soon discovered this amazing community that I had no idea existed.

  10. I don’t really have any life-altering story to tell. I’ve always loved to read, and after “discovering” Jane Austen through the P&P 1995 miniseries, I found that I dearly loved reading her stories and the variations written by fellow JA admirers. I’m happy to be able to feed my JA addiction by being accepted into some lovely JA-related groups online. 🙂

    • It doesn’t have to be life-altering. Without JA, you wouldn’t have those lovely groups 🙂 I think she’s definitely had some impact on people’s lives even if it’s simply giving them something to read that they love. Thanks, Pam!

  11. Have been reading Jane Austen since I was 13
    and given P&P as my first “literary classic” and I’ve been completely hooked ever since! My undergraduate English major, my love of beautiful
    prose, countless trips to England, and so many dear friends are all because of Jane. How much richer she has made my life!

  12. I first read P&P at 12 because I wanted to see the 2005 movie so much but I wouldn’t let myself go see it without first reading the book because I wanted to understand what was going on. I will admit it that Keira Knightley being in it played a part in why I really wanted to see it because I loved Pirates of the Caribbean in which she plays Elizabeth Swan but in the end that doesnt matter because I ended up loving the book and the movie. It wasn’t until high school that I would read Emma and Persuasion. One of my most cherished books is a gorgeous 5 in 1 book of her works that I was given for Christmas by an Aunt in High School. It has S&S, P&P, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. The only thing that would make it better would be if it also had Persuasion in it.

  13. In high school, I faked a book report on Pride and Prejudice as I was ears-deep in a psychology project and didn’t have time to read that month. I read the first chapter, the last chapter, and the back of the school library’s cheap Bantam paperback (with pages already yellowing), and managed to piece together a passable book report, the only time I ever faked anything academic in my life. (I promise!!)

    I didn’t read any Austen in my undergrad literature major, but I ran head-first into Austen in a grad school seminar entitled “Gender and Satire” (which I took as a bit of a break from Middle English and the medieval British works that were the focus of my Master of Arts in English). We drew an author’s name from a bowl for our final essay, and I pulled Jane Austen. So I read three novels, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park, and I finally GOT IT. In fact, I was forced to leave the university reading room–where silence was and still is brutally enforced–because I was laughing out loud while reading Sense and Sensibility for the first time. I didn’t actually do well on the paper (which focused on the concept of civility in Jane Austen) because my very feminist professor thought I wasn’t “militant” enough in tone; I was “too gracious”…which is rather ironic for an essay on civility. :/

    I read the rest of the novels, and hated Emma–-goodness, she drove me batty!!–-enjoyed Northanger‘s thinly-veiled attacks on Gothic novels, and left Persuasion for a delicious last…and it’s now in my top three. (I actually waited three years before I allowed myself to read it–the joy/pain of reading the last book by Jane Austen for the first time was too delicious to rush!)

    Then I discovered the movies: first the six-part P&P (wonderful!!!), then S&S with Emma Thompson. (I loved Hugh Laurie–and later noted how many of the actors appeared in the Harry Potter films!!) Although Mansfield Park is perhaps my favorite Austen novel, I have not been happy with any of the film versions; no film has captured Fanny’s character well. I also enjoyed the many newer film versions of Austen’s works that came out around 2007-2008, especially Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.

    But I love the books the best. (Except Emma. In that case, Clueless most definitely wins.)

    I first came across JAFF on FanFiction.net and quickly discovered that some of these authors had published their books. My favorite JAFF writer there was TuesdayMorning423…who turned out to be Maria Grace! Then I discovered that I could order JAFF books through my little rural library, and that’s where I first discovered Abigail Reynolds’ books, even if they had to be sent down from Northern California to my wee, mountainous corner of San Diego County.

    And I have hopes of perhaps writing some of my own JAFF…when I finish homeschooling (which is technically today as the semester closes and our youngest (and last of four) graduates from high school!) and get a few things organized.

    And homeschooling reminds me of a quick incident: As a homeschooler, I made sure that my kids read P&P and watched film adaptations of most of the other novels. Of course, my daughter loved them, but my three boys weren’t quite as devoted (major understatement). Right after graduating from high school,our middle son was in the backseat of our car discussing being homeschooled with a friend, and I overheard him groaning, “My mother INFLICTED Austen upon us.” As if….;)

    So that draw of an author’s name in that one grad school seminar definitely changed my life!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne the Medievalist 🙂

  14. You know, Mansfield Park is one of the few that I haven’t read. I do want to one day, but I’ve put it off mostly because the adaptations just haven’t endeared me to it. I’ll have to give it a go when I have some time 🙂 Thanks, Susanne!

  15. It wasn’t reading Jane Austen’s own works that influenced any major life changes for me, as I was only 11 when I first read P&P after seeing the 1940 film version in late 1966/early1967, so I can’t really remember a time without “knowing” her. It means I’ve racked up half a century as a Janeite – scary thought! OK, so a lot of the sublety of her writing escaped me at such a young age, but as I grew up and also read the rest of her works, I grew to appreciate that too.

    It was discovering the wonderful online JAFF community almost exactly four years ago that caused the changes. I stumbled upon this website literally days after it launched and one thing led to another. A chance response to a comment on FB three years ago led to my first ever beta assignment and I’ve now got over a couple of dozen books for half a dozen authors “under my belt” so to speak. Etymology, language use and its changes over the past couple of hundred years have become a real fascination for me. It’d be lovely to be able to give up the day job and devote more time to that sort of thing but sadly, we need to be able to eat and pay the bills so it’s not going to happen anytime soon!

  16. I was home sick about 9 years ago and found a dog-eared copy of Northanger Abbey. I knew that some of my friends adored Jane Austen, so I decided to try it. Well, the snarky asides as an author in the story hooked me. What biting wit! I voraciously read all the books and then felt ripped off that there were only six. I found Pamela Aiden’s trilogy and Linda Berdoll’s first two in the public library before I discovered there was such a thing as fanfiction. Now I find there’s a hole in my life if I’m not reading something about Elizabeth and Darcy.

    JAFF now takes up a huge portion of my time in reading, writing, and betaing, but just as important are the friends I’ve made here. They’ve helped me through the very deep lows in my continuous struggle with depression, and are some of the closest friends I’ve had in my entire life, including one Leslie Diamond.

    I have signed copies of all the L.L. Diamond books. The only thing missing is meeting the author herself. (Leslie, I mean. Not Jane. That would be beyond my wildest dreams!) So I don’t need to be in the draw. Leslie, not only are you a good friend, but your books are among my top faves in JAFF, and as you know, I’m a hard marker.

    • You made me cry, Suzan! You are definitely one of the amazing friends I’ve gained in JAFF and your help betaing is priceless. Thanks so much for your lovely words and I look forward to one day finally meeting you face to face as well! 🙂

  17. I hate to admit this… Austen’s work wasn’t required when I was in high school. I was much older when I decided to fill in the gaps of my literary foundation and began a quest of reading the classics… starting with Austen. I never made it beyond her books and re-read them every year. I couldn’t help it. I then moved on to watching the movies and I try to collect as many versions as I can. I joined GoodReads after I retired and began reading JAFF and reviewing books. I’ve never turned back. I guess Dostoevsky will just have to wait… I’m having too much fun in Austen. Thank you for all that you do in the JAFF community. You have brought sanity when things tend toward chaos and you fill those gaps by giving us our Austen fix with angst, romance and an abiding love for the characters, the genre and Austen’s work. Thank you for the generous give-a-way.

  18. Jane wasn’t required reading in high school or college. I first came to know her through the PBS/Masterpiece adaptations, then I read them all, and I was hooked. My first professionally published story was JAFF–based on P&P.

  19. I was introduced to Pride and Prejudice when she gave me an abridged copy to read. I wasn’t really hook to the story, remembering that it was a good romance story. The next year or so my class studied Wuthering Heights and thought it was better than P&P. How wrong was I when my friend lend me her hardcover edition of P&P, Mansfield Park and one other Jane Austen novel (couldn’t remember the other title though as I read only P&P). It was my first time reading the full version of this timeless romance story that made me print out the whole book and bound it together to create my own book. That was before I have my own store bought paperback edition. Since then I have a few copies of P&P and own all the Jane Austen annotated editions by Harvard University Press. And that is not counting the many JAFF books that I have.

    It was because of her that I ventured to create my blog to review all the Austenesque books that I have read. That in turn led me to connect with like-minded JAFF enthusiasts and authors all across the world as my friends are not into it. I don’t think other authors (save for maybe a few) would have the same impact as Jane Austen has on me and achieve global reach and success like she does.

  20. I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for my literature Exam in 1959 enjoyed it then tried to find the 1943 movie with my namesake Greer Garson found it years later Two years ago on Amazon found the Novellas and was able to read and enjoy Bewitched Body and Soul and later found the JAfF Community Austen Variations DarcyandLizzie.com Austen Authors etc THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING YOUR EXCERPTS

  21. Read P&P as a high school senior as part of assigned reading along with Scarlet Letter and Great Gatsby. Fell in love with Elizabeth and Darcy. First read JAFF in 2014. After a long day at work and with family, it is so relaxing to read about D and E while sipping a cup of tea. Thank you dear authors for your generosity in sharing your stories. I have read it all but always prefer strong, independent Elizabeth as Darcy’s first and only love. Surprisingly, I love Jane and the Colonel together.

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