Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It’s Jane Austen’s Birthday, But You Get the Presents

Authors of past centuries may continue to be read, revered, studied and debated long after their deaths, but I don’t think there’s one who has such a passionate popular following as a genteel but wickedly humorous spinster from a quiet corner of Great Britain who wrote only six completed novels and a handful of lesser and unfinished works.

Yes, you all know who I’m talking about. ☺

Can't you just picture them all huddled over their phones?
This coming Saturday (that's December 16) will be the inimitable Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday. Well into her third century, she continues to delight readers with her characters’ matrimonial adventures and misadventures...and inspires the question, “How would things have been different for the Bennett sisters if they’d had a good dating app?" The BBC thinks they might have an answer...
On a slightly more serious note, research into The Divine Jane’s work and life continue—not only on the content of her work, but how she put it together. There’s a saying among writers that writing is revising, and it’s very true: the books you see on bookstore shelves have been written, re-written, revised, polished, edited, and possibly re-written and revised and polished again. For us spoiled writers of the 21st century, our trusty computers make it a relatively easy process (well, except for getting the actual words right!) But for authors in the benighted pre-computer era, revising their work was a chore: what did you do when, say, you decided that a paragraph had to be inserted into an existing manuscript page?  Well, if you were Jane (and others on her era, I presume), you wrote it down on a separate piece of paper and pinned it to the original manuscript in the spot where it was to be inserted. Between crossing out words and sentences and writing in new ones and pinning in longer additions, it’s easy to understand why an important part of preparing a manuscript was sitting down with a large stack of paper and copying the whole thing—making a “fair copy”—before sending it off to the publisher.

I’ll bet Jane would have loved Post-it notes...

No comments: