Some months ago I re-discovered Jane Austen. I had read five-and-a-half of her novels (I simply could not get through Mansfield Park) and watched Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, and was looking for the 1967 version. I did a search on amazon, and although they did not have a copy of this out-of-print video, all was not lost; amongst their “suggested items” were several books seemingly about Pride & Prejudice. I had discovered a new genre: Jane Austen fan fiction.
Of course I had heard of fan fiction, and even read a bit. Most of it, however, held little interest — mostly amateurish stuff written by teenagers (or so it seemed given the vocabulary and style of writing). Lots of lurid and pseudo-erotic fantasy stuff too. Just not my cup of tea.
But these were different — these were real books with interesting story lines by actual writers and authors. One of the books, Four Days in April by Maria Grace, was offered free of charge. As I had recently downloaded the kindle reading app for my PC, I “purchased” this book and downloaded it. After reading it, I was hooked. (Four Days in April is still one of my all-time favourite JAFF stories, and as of this writing it is still offered free of charge.)
This led me to seek out the author on Facebook and connect with her, which led me to several JAFF (or Austenesque as some prefer) Facebook groups, and other authors, and to various Austen-inspired individual and group blogs and websites. Before I knew it, I had joined three Facebook groups and followed no fewer than a dozen blogs, and was entering contests to win copies of various authors’ books — as well as loading my kindle up with JAFF titles. To say that it was becoming an obsession would be an understatement.
I participate in all these entities, reading and writing comments and opinions, as well as posting reviews on amazon. I love most of these stories — variations or sequels to the original Jane stories, rearranging and inventing new situations for our favourite literary characters. Most of the stories involve the beloved characters of Pride & Prejudice, and I admit that my favourite thing about them, and the main reason I read them, is that each one presents a new opportunity to fall in love with Mr Darcy.
Recently I’ve even been trying my hand at writing a variation of my own — no small accomplishment for someone whose past writings have been mostly in the realm of computer training manuals. But more about this another time.
With so many excellent blogs on this topic already in existence you might wonder why I’d bother creating yet another Jane-ish blog. I’m not really sure — after all, I have trouble keeping up with my other non-Jane-ish blog (not to mention the laundry and stuff like that). But I felt compelled, and I do enjoy writing, and sometimes I don’t like to intrude on others’ blogs. So here we are, and welcome to Every Savage Can Dance!
Please bear with me as I get my bearings — WordPress seems to have undergone some changes since the last time I logged in. Most importantly, I’d like this to be as much a conversation as a lecture — you are welcome to have your share in the conversation!