For the Love of Jane Austen

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During Jane Austen’s lifetime at the turn of the nineteenth
century, the English author received little attention or acclaim for her
novels. But today, people of all ages
continue to read her six novels, including Pride
and Prejudice
and Sense and
, and watch the movies based on her works. Now, two women in Vermont
have helped start a regional chapter of the Jane Austen Society. We hear from co-regional coordinators Kelly
McDonald and Deb Barnum, about their love of all things Austen.(Listen)


Also, we talk with VPR reporter John Dillon about the recent
round of state government job cuts, and the political fallout of giving bonuses
to some state workers. (Listen)


And, the playground game of kickball has attracted a few
hundred grown-ups in the Burlington
area. We visit an official kickball league. (Listen)

Emails from listeners-

Email from Sarah-

I love Jane Austen because of her ability to make fun of herself, and
therefore the way she prompts me to make fun of myself and my world. The first time I read Austen (Sense and Sensibility) I found myself
laughing out loud, and my favorite character remains the restrained,
practical Elinor Dashwood and the ways in which she contrasts with her
sister Marianne. Restraint is so undervalued today!

Sylvia from Plattsburgh-

Is it possible that many of us love Jane Austen’s novels because they depict a world where the "rules" or social convenitons of human relationships were far clearer than they are today? In Austen’s world, a lady was something very
specific, and her counterpart was the gentlemen… is there not something refreshing about the social world depicted by Jane Austen? Is the love of her works a search for a simpler, more elegant
time? Is this about nostalgia?

Melanie in Essex Junction-

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Predjudice. I think one of
the reasons it has lasted is that it still speaks to us today. Who isn’t
embarrassed by their family from time to time like Elizabeth is? Who has never had a cruah on a scoundrel like Wickham? Who hasn’t said absolutely the wrong thing at a crucial moment as when Darcy proposes? Jane Austen reminds me that people haven’t reaaly changed all that much.


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