Today marks the 236th birthday of my most beloved favorite authoress, the incomperable Jane Austen. I really don't want to know what my life would have been like had I never come across Jane's writing. Dull, I imagine. Without her witty repartee and her delightfully engaging characters, literature as a whole might look very different today. Many, many of the greatest authors of our time and indeed of every generation following Ms. Austen's publications, have credited her with inspiring them. The literary world owes much to Ms. Jane Austen. As do I.
I am celebrating her natal day by drinking tea. Drinking tea is obviously a daily activity at my home, so you might think it's not much of a celelbration. But I'm using my china. So it's a big deal.
I'm also indulging in a springerle cookie. Not exactly need-to-fit-in-my-cocktail-dress-tonight material, but it is what it is. Jane's birthday, after all, is no small trifle.
This is the worn, battered, yellowing book wherein I first discovered Ms. Austen. I can't recall quite what piqued my interest, it might have been the cinema release of Sense & Sensibility (which I recall going to see with my family and our next door neighbors, right around the holidays, the year I was 14 years of age). Whatever it was, I saw this copy of The Novels of Jane Austen on my mother's book shelf, and I helped myself.
Pride and Prejudice was the first novel I read, and after that I got my hands on every single thing that Jane left to her adoring public. I own copies of her novels in several foreign languages. I can't read the one in Taiwanese, but it makes me happy to know that people read Jane in Taiwan, too. My collection of Jane Austen biographies is extensive. I have books dedicated to each of the recent film adaptations, to Jane Austen's England, to Jane Austen Walking Tours, to Jane Austen Fashion, to Jane Austen Cooking and Teatime... this love affair has been going on for sixteen years now, and I doubt it will ever end. I love Jane.
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