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What’s in a Janeite?

Rudyard Kipling

“Well, as pore Macklin said, it’s a very select Society, an’ you’ve got to be a Janeite in your ‘eart, or you won’t have any success.”

A few months back, I was involved in an online discussion that veered into the social mores of the early nineteenth century. I posted some information, citing Lord Nelson’s letters and other contemporary accounts, and mentioned that I was a Janeite to explain my interest in the period. A gentleman who answered my post scolded me for calling myself a Janeite. According to him, Janeites were only interested in such meaningless esoterica as tea parties and gowns and the middle names of characters; an obviously thoughtful, well-informed person such as myself should not lower herself to claim the title.

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