Posted on

The Jane Austen Shopping Club – Our New Gold Membership

gold membership

gold membership

A look at Jane Austen’s letters readily confirms that she, like many of her modern fans, had a love affair with shopping! Her notes to her sister, Cassandra, are full of this bargain and that deal picked up on her travels. What would she think of entire shops full of merchandise dedicated exclusively to her?!

If this sounds like heaven to you, you’ll love the Jane Austen Gift Shop’s new Gold Membership!

Annual membership is just £25, and the benefits include:

  • 10% off all orders at all times (no minimum order value; excludes tickets, magazine subscriptions and handmade costume)
  • FREE metal Jane Austen pin badge worth £3
  • Priority access to selected new lines
  • Exclusive behind the scenes updates on forthcoming products
  • Tailored special offers and discounts

It’s a great way to save money while joining the growing community of Jane Austen fans and supporters of handmade, unique products. Of course, it also gives you an excuse to treat yourself and your friends more often!

Join HERE today!

Posted on

Jane Austen Online Biography

Jane austen biography

If you’ve ever longed for more information about Jane Austen’s life but haven’t time to visit the library, you are in luck! Many full length biographies of Austen’s life are available to read or download online with little or no cost. Reviews of these works can be found on JASA’s website.
A Memoir of Jane Austen by Her Nephew


The first Jane Austen Biography by James Edward Austen-Leigh (1798-1874, son of James Austen, Jane’s oldest brother) was written in 1870. Austen-Leigh had the benefit of not only knowing his famous Aunt, but also being privy to family memories and stories. Jane’s brother Henry had written a brief biographical forward in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, but this was the first complete book dedicated to her life. Though not completely unbiased, this work provides much of what we know of Jane’s life, including the infamous “squeaking door” vignette. La Brocca offers it here, for free download or online perusal.
Jane Austen: Her Homes and Her Friends

This biography by Constance Hill was first published in 1901. It’s 23 chapters are available to read online free of charge, courtesy of “In Celebration of Women Writers”, hosted by The University of Pennsylvania.
Jane Austen and her Times

First Published in 1905, this is one of the early biographies of Jane Austen. Many of the Austen biographies available online were written by women and this work, by Geraldine Edith Mitton is no exception. Cathy Dean has provided the complete text (19 chapters and two appendix pages) along with the original 21 illustrations on her Jane Austen E-texts page.

Jane Austen

Another complete biography of Jane Austen, available from Jane Austen E-Texts. This work, by “To Jane Austen” author W. O. Firkins was published in 1920 and is made up of three principle parts: Part I–The Novelist, Part II–The Realist, Part III–The Woman.

The Jane Austen Information Page: Jane Info

The ultimate Jane Austen Website, the Jane Austen Information Page, a part of the Republic of Pemberly and pet project of Henry Churchyard, this site contains a magnificent overview of Austen’s life, complete with known family portraits, family trees, location photos and more.

Jane Austen


An in-depth biography of Jane Austen by Elizabeth Jenkins, published in 1949, is available online from Questia. Its 22 chapters can be previewed in part for free and read in whole with the purchase of a membership. Membership also allows access to other Austenesque works on their site such as Jane Austen’s Letters
by Jane Austen, edited by Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Work, Her Family, and Her Critics, by R. Brimley Johnson, Jane Austen: Facts and Problems by R. W. Chapman, Jane Austen and Her Art by Mary Lascelles and many othe works. You can listen to a free sample of Jenkin’s book and the opportunity to download it in full, visit Audible.com.

The Jane Austen Biography

Ebookmall is offering not only a Jane Austen biography downloadable in many different formats, but also a plethora of other Austen works. A small fee applies to each purchase.
Biographical Excerpts

The New York Times and the Washington Post offer free chapters and reviews of both Jane Austen: A Life by David Nokes and Jane Austen: A Biography by Claire Tomalin. You can preview the books here by signing in for a complimentary account.
Listen, Download, Preview, Purchase


You can always find numerous Jane Austen related books on Amazon. Many of these books allow you to preview their chapters online and some, like Carol Shield’s Jane Austen, are available to purchase in audio format. This Pulitzer Prize winning biography, part of the Penguin Lives series, is small, but quite effective, touching on the known facts of Austen’s life without reading too much into her works.

Posted on

Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar – Book Review

Some of my earliest memories of Christmas involve the endless waiting for the big day and the delight we took in counting down the hours with an Advent calendar. Sometimes the tiny door would reveal a portion of the Nativity story, other years we would be greeted with a festive sentiment, and by far our favorite days were the ones greeted by a chocolate or treat. My children share my enthusiasm as well as a tradition of countdown calendars with their grandmother and I have three ready to go come December 1. Last year, however, I was given the most amazing Christmas countdown calendar of all. A treasured gift from a treasured friend.

Proceeds from Mr. Darcy's Christmas Calendar will go to benefit the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.
Proceeds from Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar will go to benefit the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.

When I first saw the cover of Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar, I thought it was a traditional advent calendar, with a gorgeous image of Jane Austen’s Chawton Cottage home dusted with snow and trimmed for Christmas. Each tiny window and door looked numbered and perforated and I thought, “What a wonderful idea!! Someone should have thought of this long ago!” I could only surmise whether the recipient would be treated to quotes or chocolate upon opening. Continue reading Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar – Book Review

Posted on

Jane Austen in the Digital Age: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

By Priyanka Chavda

Jane Austen’s influence has continued to grow since her publication in the 19th century, and one of the most loved novels, Pride and Prejudice has seen an array of adaptations from the 1995 BBC adaptation with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle to Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice. The attempt to re-connect with the author and her classic works, and open it to modern audience has taken a new direction.
ppdvdcovers
One such success was made by American video production company Pemberley Digital, who adapt classic works onto new media platforms. Utilising social media – Youtube, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest to name a few they open classic literature to a wider audience whilst telling an enriched and innovative story. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, introduces audiences to the well-loved characters from the novel but with a slight twist. Bernie Su and Hank Green, the creators have a wider scope, free from the costumes and Regency setting they are able to modernise Austen’s novel though the world of social media. Rejuvenating the novel whilst remaining faithful to the original the adaptation recaptures Austen and presents Pride and Prejudice in a whole new light.

The cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries connected with audiences through Twitter, Blogging and Youtube.
The cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries connected with audiences through Twitter, Blogging and Youtube.

Narrated by 24-year old graduate Elizabeth Bennett (played by Ashley Clements) from California, the series is a video diary on her life since completing college and moving back home, her overbearing mother, her relationship with sisters and Mr Darcy. Each 10 minute clip shows Elizabeth telling and re-enacting events such as her first meeting with the socially awkward and pretentious William Darcy to visiting her best friend Charlotte Lu (played by Julia Cho) in San Francisco.

The cast bring the characters to life and even though not all characters such as Mr and Mrs Bennet appear, they are still incorporated within the series through Elizabeth’s re-enactment of her parents and their traits. Lydia (played by Mary Kate Wilkes) almost steals the light from Elizabeth in several episodes with her loud personality whilst Jane (played by Laura Spencer) is quiet and gentle very much like in the novel. Each character even has their own Twitter page with in-character tweets through which they connect to audiences with as well as each other.

You can watch the entire series on Pemberley Digital's website.
You can watch the entire series on Pemberley Digital’s website.

The adaptation brings the novel to modern day audiences and uses it as a basis to create events which are relatable for younger audiences such as Elizabeth not wanting to join Mr Collins’s company instead opting to complete her studies and Mrs Bennet’s eagerness to get her daughters married is a reps one to the possible loss of their home. The series is successful in exploring the events of the novel in the modern day and is most definitely one of the best adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.

secret-diaries-secret-diaries-of-lizzie-bennet-by-bernie-su-and-kate-rorick-2014-x-200

With its success the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in 2013, and has gone on to produce two books, one of which solely focuses on Lydia Bennet telling the story from her perspective.

Priyanka is an English Literature graduate, aspiring to be a writer and work in the film industry.

After the success of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Pemberley Digital has given Austen’s Emma and Sanditon similar treatment.

Posted on

Marrying Mr. Darcy – A Review

Marrying Mr. Darcy

7880813_origMarrying Mr. Darcy: Winning in Marriage is Entirely a Matter of Chance!

A review by Meredith Esparza from Austenesque Reviews

Awhile back I met Erika Svanoe on Twitter and I saw that she was running a Kickstarter campaign for her new game, Marrying Mr. Darcy. As a Janeite who loves to play games (especially Jane Austen related games) I knew I had to support her campaign and obtain a copy of this new game for myself!

Several months later (because the Kickstarter was super successful!) I became the happy owner of this new and unique card game. I decided to coerce my family to play it with me! I thought it would be fun to share our experience playing the game with you all, so I wrote up a review!

Game Overview:
Marrying Mr. Darcy is a card game with elegantly designed cards, full of heroines, suitors, events, and character cards. The object of the game is to accumulate the most points. There are two stages of the game in which to collect points – The Courtship Stage and The Proposal Stage.

cards

 

During The Courtship Stage points are earned by collecting Character cards – there are 4 types of Character cards highlighting various attributes – Wit, Beauty, Reputation, and Friendliness. Event cards determine when each player receives, steals, or loses Character cards.

The Proposal Stage is very brief, it is when all the players attempt to match their heroine with 1 of the 6 possible suitors. Each suitor has different requirements (i.e. you must have 5 Wit points to be eligible for Mr. Darcy). Rolling the dice determines if a suitor proposes or not, leaving the possibility of winning the suitor you want totally up to chance. If you are unlucky with the die, you may end up an Old Maid!

gameplay
Game play in action– sense of humor, a must.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:
We played one game and it last a little over an hour.

The event cards were full of fun and entertaining tasks. As a Janeite I loved catching all the references and nods to scenes and gatherings that take place in Pride and Prejudice. All of us players, found the cards to be interesting, varied, and great inducements for laughter and merriment. (especially from the men!)

At the Proposal Stage, it was quite interesting to see who we each ended up with. I can’t believe that no one married Darcy!!!

There were one or two Event cards, that left us a little confused as to what we should do and the strategy of using Cunning Points and cards was a little overwhelming at first. In our game, it was perhaps unique that the Mr. Darcy proposal card came up in the first round. (Mr. Darcy becomes engaged in the first round…game over.) Since I wanted to experience real gameplay, I declined Mr. Darcy’s proposal (how shocking, I know!)

Additional game options can be had by ordering the expansion pack of cards.
Additional game options can be had by ordering the expansion pack of cards.

OUR VERDICTS:
The Hubby: 7/10 A fun game, but sometimes the amount of rules felt a little overwhelming. I really enjoyed the attractive graphics and overall card designs in Marrying Mr. Darcy.

The Gamer: 7/10 I like how each heroine had different strengths and how some of the event cards were specifically beneficial for them. That made the gameplay interesting.

The Mother: 7/10 It took awhile to understand, but once we got going it was easy to get the hang of it. I liked how there was more than one option of suitor for each heroine.

The Janeite: 9/10 I love how this game was still fun and playable even if you had no knowledge of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen! A perfect game for Janeites who want to share their love for Jane Austen with their significant others, family members, and friends (without them feeling tortured or bored!) The game is elegant and the artwork stunning. Literary-based games are the best!

 

get-attachment

Meredith Esparza is music studio director and private piano instructor living off the coast of North Carolina with her very own Mr. Bingley.  She is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen and an avid reader.  For more than five years her blog, Austenesque Reviews has been devoted to the reading and reviewing of numerous Jane Austen sequels, fan-fiction, and para-literature.  She loves being able to connect with readers and authors online through a shared love and admiration for Jane Austen.  Visit Meredith at her blog Austenesque Reviews, follow her on Twitter as @austenesque and on Facebook as Austenesque Reviews.

 

 

Posted on

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for the iPhone: Fun, but faulty…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a franchise in possession of a large fanbase must be in want of a video game adaptation. However hasty or flawed the execution of said game may be, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of media conglomerates that a video game is considered the rightful final step in a multimedia enterprise.

“My dear gamers,” said Freeverse to us one day, “have you heard that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is available for the iPhone at last?” We replied that we had not heard so, but, being great admirers of the zombie-slaying genre in general and Seth Grahame-Smith’s ingenious adaptation of the Jane Austen classic in particular, we resolved to examine said game with alacrity.

With a heavy heart, dearest readers, I must tell you that although the wry concept of the game is beyond reproach, its execution is wanting in many respects. Most grievous of all, I have been unable to carry the game to its proper conclusion; not because I did not wish to do so, for the game is in most regards diverting and congenial, but rather owing to a game-halting fault for which I was unable to find resolution.

Read on to discover not only the merits of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for the iPhone (US$2.99), but also the inauspicious traits it possesses which, to my sorrow, render it unworthy of either praise or recommendation unless resolved with haste.

(I’ll abandon my mimicry of Jane Austen’s voice for the rest of this review so those of you who aren’t English majors can follow along with greater ease.)If you haven’t heard already, in 2009 Seth Grahame-Smith wrote an adaptation of Jane Austen’s English Lit 101 mainstay, Pride and Prejudice. Austen’s 1813 novel has seen a surge of interest in recent decades, with a celebrated TV adaptation on the BBC in the mid-90s and a 2005 film version… and those are just the most well-known recent adaptations. Mark Twain did not share the respect modern scholars have for Austen’s novel; in 1898 he wrote of Austen, “Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

Perhaps in the spirit of that quote, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies does very nearly that. It takes Austen’s classic, using about 85% of the original text, and inserts all the conventions of a zombie apocalypse. Early 19th century England has been overrun with “dreadfuls” or “stricken” (polite society’s terms for the teeming undead), with fascinating consequences. Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters, “proper” girls useful only for their marriage prospects in Austen’s original, are now all deadly martial artists trained to dispatch the zombie hordes with kung fu moves and katana strikes straight out of a pulp martial arts classic. It’s like mixing Night of the Living Dead with Kill Bill, only set in early 19th century England. The results are hilarious, particularly because the original spirit of Austen’s novel remains almost entirely intact even in a world full of zombies and ninjas.

Yes, Ninjas

 

All of that may sound like an unlikely premise for a video game, but the iPhone version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies manages to capture the novel’s atmosphere quite well. Cut scenes introduce each “chapter” (level) of the game with well-done graphics and dialog drawn directly from the novel. Fortunately, if you want to skip straight to the action, you can do so by hitting a “fast-forward” icon in the upper left of the screen. I thank Freeverse for this merciful feature, because some stages in the game, particularly the introductory chapter, can be quite difficult and may require multiple playthroughs before you can move on.

Cutscene artwork, while not animated is very well done.

 

The gameplay itself is highly reminiscent of classic beat ’em up side scrollers like Final Fight or Double Dragon. Depending on your personal tastes, that’s either the game’s greatest strength or its biggest weakness. Although the combat is entertaining at first, it can get very repetitive; you’re essentially doing the same thing every level, moving from left to right as you slice and dice your way through hundreds of zombies, ninjas, and zombie ninjas. It’s fun in small doses, but it can get a bit brain numbing (braaaainnnsss) after twenty minutes or so.

The animation is 2-D, well-executed, and runs with almost no slowdown on an iPhone 3G. As you might guess from the premise, the level of gore is almost silly in its excess. As you wade through the hordes with your katana, blood will gush and body parts will fly across the screen like confetti. This probably isn’t a game you want your seven-year-old to play.

This is one of the milder examples of gor in this game.


The game’s controls had a lot of thought put into them, but the execution is a bit lackluster. I found the directional control stick on the bottom left of the screen very finicky; it often steered me right into the middle of a crowd of zombies when I was trying to flank them instead. As for the “special moves” the game encourages you to execute, they’re often difficult to pull off on the iPhone’s small screen. You’re supposed to be able to swipe in eight directions to execute Elizabeth Bennet’s repertoire of kung fu techniques, but the game (or the iPhone’s touchscreen) often has a hard time distinguishing between different moves. As you play, you may find the most powerful enemy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesis the control scheme itself.Some of the game’s smaller touches do show Freeverse put a lot of attention into the game, however. The zombie that greets you at the game’s title page fades to black when you tap “Begin,” with its glowing red eyes briefly visible in the ensuing darkness. Your health meter is a major artery stemming from the top of a beating heart, and that heart beats ever more frantically as your life depletes. Once you defeat a wave of zombies, a disembodied hand with bones protruding from its wrists will point you in the right direction. The game’s harpsichord-heavy soundtrack is both pleasant and appropriate to the period of the game’s setting. Small details like this go a long way toward enhancing the humorous/horrific atmosphere of the game.

cutscene models have many different poses and expressions.

During chapters you collect money from both your enemies and demolished bits of scenery, and in between chapters you’re able to use that money to upgrade your life, technique meter, and the power of your special moves. The game is very generous in the amount of money it gives out, so you’ll likely find that you can max out all of your stats in only a single playthrough. The game’s replay value comes primarily from the post-level ratings you can get (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) and from Plus+ gaming network integration, complete with achievements and leaderboards.

Teatime at the dojo


Playing all the way through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should theoretically take about three or four hours for the first playthrough. I say “theoretically” because I wasn’t able to progress beyond Chapter 10 (out of 12). Trying to launch the chapter immediately causes the game to crash on my iPhone 3G, and as of this writing I haven’t found an acceptable resolution to the issue. I sent the following to Freeverse support (with some points bolded for emphasis):

“I’m currently testing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for a weekend review on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW.com). I’ve reached Chapter 10 (Pemberley), but I’m unable to progress beyond that; the game immediately crashes upon tapping the chapter’s “page” to start it. I’ve tried restarting my iPhone to see if that helps, but it didn’t resolve the issue. I’d rather not have to delete and reinstall the game, thus having to start it over from the beginning, so I hope you have another solution.

“I’m running the game on a 16 GB iPhone 3G with the latest firmware. Thanks for any feedback you may have.”

The response I got back from Freeverse was discouraging. It reads as though they didn’t even read the content of my message:

“Please try rebooting your iPhone by holding the Hold button on the top of the iPhone. This should fix your issue as it appears to come from memory being taken by other applications. If this doesn’t help, please try removing the application and resyncing through iTunes. It is also recommended that you restore if your continue to experience difficulties.”

If Pride and Prejudice and Zombies‘ only flaws were somewhat repetitive gameplay and mildly frustrating controls, I’d still be able to recommend the game because of its amusing premise and surprisingly lush graphics. However, having encountered both a game-halting bug and a form-letter response from Freeverse tech support, I’m unable to give this game my full endorsement for now. I’d be happy to pay more than the $2.99 they’re asking for if I could play all the way through the game, but until or unless the bugs are ironed out, I’d recommend holding off on buying Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for the iPhone and reading the book instead.

Buy the monster mash up books at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk

 


Chris is a part-time writer and a full-time student enrolled in the Master’s programme at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

This review was written for Tuaw.com: The Unofficial Apple Website and is used with permission.

Posted on

Chat with Jane Austen Fans Around the World

e who’s ever searched for Jane Austen on the internet has, at some point, come across the The Republic of Pemberley. As the oldest and largest Austen Forum, they are known far and wide for the variety of topics they cover and the number of posters they attract. But what if you are looking for a different type of discussion, information or simply a place to meet like minded people? Whether you have a question about the Regency and Georgian England or simply wish to discuss some small piece of Austenia, there are a wealth of other boards out there, happy to receive visitors.

Austenblog, the newest board on the scene is a compendium of news about Jane Austen in popular culture. This site has links to upcoming film and book information and hot off the press news and photos. It is updated daily and the editors welcome comments and questions.

Mollands, an extension of Tilneys and Trapdoors, offers yet another choice for the Janeite who wishes, if not tea, at least conversation. The nine continuous topics are not all Austen related, but include “The Chawton Round Table” (conversations about Jane), “Inkstaind Wretches” (for posting fan fiction, poetry and other scribblings), “The Stacks” (to talk about books, books, and more books) and range from sports to movies to space simply to sound off. Truly not only good company, but the best.

The International Movie Database offers message boards for each film, so if you have comments, scoops, questions or just want to see what’s being said, you can head over there for what’s sure to be stimulating conversation. Just type in the title of the movie you want to discuss and scroll to the bottom of that page to read the posts.

Jane Austen Fan Fiction is rampant on the internet. If that’s what you are looking for (a place to read, a place to post, a place to recommend) try a Google search of “Jane Austen Fan Fiction” the results are too many to list here.

Have fun enjoying Austen on the internet with new friends from around the world.


Laura Boyle runs Austentation: Regency Accessories, creators of custom made Regency Hats, Bonnets and Accessories. Click the link above to visit her site.

Posted on

Digital Jane: Jane Austen E-books online

In Jane Austen’s day, books were sold in a rather humble state. The pages were removed from the printing press, folded, sewn, and bound in plain paper-covered cardboard, the folds uncut. The owner could then take this embryonic volume and have it bound to suit his own taste and pocketbook: anything from a modest cloth covering to handsome tooled leather and gilt edges. Mr. Darcy had more to do to maintain the family library at Pemberley than simply place an order with a bookseller.

Modern readers also have variety in our volumes. We are all familiar with hardback books, as well as the larger trade paperback and smaller mass-market paperback books. Now we have yet another selection: electronic books, or e-books, books in electronic format that can be viewed on a computer screen or a handheld device.

The most popular format for e-books is Adobe Acrobat, which have the document extension .pdf (which stands for Portable Document Format). The software to read such documents, called Adobe Acrobat Reader, can be downloaded for free at the Adobe site. The software is popular because it is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, or Unix-based operating systems. There is even a version for the Palm operating system, allowing many users to read .pdf documents on their handheld devices.

Microsoft Reader is a proprietary e-book format and the reader is also free to download. You must register for the Microsoft Passport to activate the reader. Microsoft Reader is only available for computers that run Windows 98 or the newer Windows operating systems. There is also a version available for the Pocket PC. Many of the large, well-known book publishing companies are choosing Microsoft Reader format for publishing their e-books. A strong encryption system prevents piracy, and the system was created specifically for reading e-books, not adapted to it as was Adobe Acrobat. The documents produced for the format can be made very attractive and easy to read on computer screens.

For those of us who read on the go, portability is paramount. The Franklin eBookman is a handheld device about the same size as a personal digital assistant (PDA), available in several models. The eBookman also performs some of the functions of a PDA, and can play MP3 music files as well, including audiobooks from Audible.com.

The Gemstar eBook uses a proprietary format that is only readable by their devices, which are quite expensive, though the technology is top-notch. They offer a reader that is the same size as a hardback book, which is probably the easiest to read among the handheld devices, though it costs almost as much as a full computer. A browse through their bookstore indicates that many of the featured e-books are quite expensive to download; indeed, they cost almost as much as a hardback book. Jane Austen’s novels are all available at about the same price as a mass-market paperback.

If you have a PDA using the Palm Operating System, you can download a free reader, creatively called the Palm Reader, from the Palm website (it comes installed on most new Palm PDA models). It is also available in versions for Windows, Macintosh, and Pocket PC, which means your e-books are not limited to a single hardware platform. All of Jane Austen’s books are available from Palm Digital Media. Adobe Reader offers a device for the Palm OS as well.

Mobipocket, a cross-platform format that can be used for several handheld devices, offers a download called Mobi pocket Publisher that allows users to take ASCII plain text or HTML documents and convert them into Mobipocket format, which can be used on Palm OS devices, Franklin eBookman, Pocket PC, and several other handheld devices.

So what does all this have to do with Janeites? Aren’t we an old-fashioned lot, who prefer our books produced the way Gutenberg made them, rather than in bits and bytes? For the most part, that is true; however, the advent of the electronic books increases the availability for otherwise hard-to-find Jane Austen-related books, and makes them more portable as well.

All of Jane Austen’s books are readily available in various e-book formats. The University of Virginia Electronic Text Center offers all six novels for free, in Microsoft Reader and Aportis for the Palm OS formats. They can also be purchased inexpensively from eBookMall in two parts: Volume I and Volume II in just about any format you could desire, listed in an easy to read comparison chart.

Plain text versions of the novels are available for download at Project Gutenberg. They certainly aren’t the prettiest versions, but can be used on every computer, and are completely free. If you have the time and knowledge, you can mark up the documents for conversion to Adobe Reader or Mobipocket format.

Elibron offers several of Jane Austen’s books in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf extension) for Windows, Palm, and Pocket PC. Most of the downloads are free. A download of Go ldwin Smith’s Life of Jane Austen, an 1890 biography of Jane, is available for download for $1.95, and in a more expensive paperback edition as well.

The first biography of Jane Austen, A Memoir of Jane Austen, written by her nephew James Edward Austen Leigh, has been transcribed and is available both as an e-text (readable on the web) and as a download, either in plain text or HTML, which can be converted to several e-book formats. The webmaster has kindly allowed free download of this book, which laid the foundation for much future Jane Austen-related scholarship.

The only other Jane Austen biography we could find in e-book format was unfortunately the John Halperin bio, which we cannot recommend.

We found several pastiches of Jane Austen’s novels in e-book format. Pemberley Shades by D.A. Bonavia-Hunt, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice that has delighted Jane Austen’s fans for decades, can be downloaded for free in Adobe Acrobat format (be sure to download the file with the extension .pdf). One of the newest sequels to Pride and Prejudice, Excessively Diverted by Juliette Shapiro, is available in e-book format as well, conveniently delivered to your e-mail inbox, a plus for those surfing the net on a slower dialup connection. The book is also available in paperback format from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk or direct from the publisher.

A story on Fictionwise called “Cause and Consequence” by Mary Soon Lee is available in Microsoft Reader format. It is not a novel, but a short story, a time-travel version of the Austen family legend regarding Jane’s Mysterious Suitor by the Sea.

With the crash of the dot-com boom, many pundits have pronounced the e-book dead, but the continued existence and growth of both software and hardware choices–as well as increasing availability of titles–belies the common wisdom. As more public domain titles become available, Jane Austen scholars may make them freely available in electronic format for the enjoyment of all. Never let it be said that Jane Austen fans are slow to embrace technology. Jane’s work and her spirit are alive and well, and her work preserved forever in digital form.

Some more useful links about electronic books:
Amazon E-Book FAQ

Aportis cross-platform software download, Palm OS or Windows OS handhelds.

Margaret C. Sullivan is the webmistress of Tilneys and Trap-doors and likes to imagine that if Jane were writing today, she would compose on a cunning little notebook computer that could be whisked away when she was interrupted by visitors.