Am I Becoming a Jane Austen Stan?

Let's go back to a simpler time—the start of the fall 2018 semester. There was no pandemic and no storms in sight, and I was a sophomore, walking into a class I enrolled in out of the blue—Jane Austen. Most of you are probably familiar with Jane Austen, whether you were assigned to read Pride and Prejudice in eighth grade or you've seen any of the countless film and mini-series adaptations. Before the class, I was familiar with Jane Austen, but I wasn't a fan by any means. I'd seen some modern adaptations—Clueless, anyone?—but had never finished reading any of her novels, and I had never sought out anything by her. To be honest, I didn't quite understand why Jane Austen was so well-loved.

Fast-forward to the present day, and I see why Jane Austen has touched so many. Even though her novels are set during the regency era (1811-1820), her heroines are still representative of women today. While they are definitely archetypes (the popular girl, the shy girl and even the prideful girl), I've been able to see a little bit of myself in each of her characters. And, while the courtship rituals in Austen's novels are now outdated, who doesn't love a good ball scene?

After a semester spent reading almost every Jane Austen novel and novella and watching countless adaptations, I stopped reading and watching Jane Austen, cold turkey. But, over a year later, I've slowly but surely fallen into the Jane Austen fandom. Now, I'm a newbie—I've only completed two of her novels, and I'm more familiar with the adaptations than anything else. But I do know one thing: there's a whole world of Jane Austen out there—movies, mini-series, novel spin-offs, web series, blogs, conventions... the list goes on!

If you're feeling a bit antsy during this quarantine, try to find your place in the abundance of Austenian entertainment. The stakes are low, the emotion is high and the enjoyment is top-notch. I highly recommend watching anything and everything inspired by Emma, my favorite of Austen's six published novels. Plus, you can never go wrong with a re-watch of Clueless, and the new 2020 film adaptation, starring Anya-Taylor Joy, is to die for. 

I might be a newbie in this Jane Austen world—I am far from calling myself a Janeite (the fandom name)—but who's to say where I'll stand in five years? Jane Austen might have written her last novel more than 200 years ago, but she's embedded in our popular culture for a reason. I suggest you take a look with all this unprecedented free time!