The Evolving World of Jane Austen Fans

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Pub Date 03 Jun 2019 | Archive Date 03 Jun 2019
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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The amount of fan-generated content about Jane Austen and her novels has long surpassed the author’s original canon. Adaptations like Clueless, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen’s Fight Club, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have given Austen fans priceless opportunities to enjoy the classic texts anew, and continue to bring new and younger fans into the fold. Now, through online culture, the amount and type of fan-created works has exponentially multiplied in recent years. Fans write stories, create art, make videos, and craft memes, all in homage to one of the most celebrated authors of all time.

This book explores online fan spaces in search of “Janeites” all over the world to discover what fans are making, how fans are sharing their work, and why it matters that so many women and nonbinary individuals find a haven not only in Jane Austen, but also in Jane Austen fandom. In relatable chapters based on firsthand experience, the authors explore how Austen fandom has and continues to build communities around women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. Whether Janeites are shrewdly picking up on the latent sexual tension between women in Emma or casting people of color in leading roles, Luetkenhaus and Weinstein argue that Austen fans are particularly adept at marrying fantasy and feminism.

The amount of fan-generated content about Jane Austen and her novels has long surpassed the author’s original canon. Adaptations like Clueless, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen’s Fight...

Advance Praise

"In showing the range and inventiveness of modern extensions of Austen’s timeless social commentaries, Luetkenhaus and Weinstein will delight old and new Austen fans."—Publishers Weekly

“Giving contemporary Austen-inspired fan culture its due, in a style that feels as if you’re having a conversation with smart friends over a glass of wine, the authors of Austentatious have given us a seriously fun, information-filled, and thought-provoking read. Whether you already know what today’s Austen ‘fanon’ is, or don’t yet know that you need to know, you’ll be grateful to Luetkenhaus and Weinstein for simultaneously illuminating it and entertaining you—which is, of course, in keeping with the mode of the great author herself.”—Devoney Looser, author, The Making of Jane Austen

“Written by two self-professed ‘Janeites’ for both scholars and fellow Austen fans, Austentatious offers an accessible overview of Jane Austen fandom from its beginnings in the nineteenth century to its digital and diverse iterations in the twenty-first century, reminding us that fandom, as we think we know it, began long before Star Trek or Sherlock Holmes.”—Katherine Larsen, coauthor, Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls (Iowa, 2013)

"In showing the range and inventiveness of modern extensions of Austen’s timeless social commentaries, Luetkenhaus and Weinstein will delight old and new Austen fans."—Publishers Weekly


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Featured Reviews

When I picked up Austentatious, I wasn't expecting to like it this much. I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan, but I am very interested in online fandoms. And I am SO HAPPY that Luetkenhaus and Weinstein explore how fan-made content is created, shared, and experienced! I absolutely adored seeing the validation of online fan communities by these two authors. So many people dedicate hours upon hours of their day just to share their passion for a specific work of art. And while everything operates in a "gift-based" economy, there is a need for recognition, and I think these authors have done just that. Fanfiction and representation are incredibly important. Whereas authors may not always diversify their cast of characters, fanfic writers reinvent characters to see themselves reflected in the worlds they love. Fanfiction writers get a lot of negative backlash for their creative liberties, as the authors of this book point out, but representation does matter! Luetkenhaus and Weinstein dedicate a whole chapter to this, which made my heart very warm. All in all, Austentatious is a brilliant book that stands out for its originality. Austen fans and members of online fandoms will surely enjoy this read.

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What a ride for fans of Jane Austen's literary works, aka Austenmaniacs or Janeites. Austentatious is not standard non-fiction that I am used to. It is a book has been written by scholars as well as fans of Austen but it smells a little academic both in terms of language and content. However, it does not mean that it's dull, on the contrary, it is quite captivating. Austen's fame has surpassed her life and reached the skies over the last century thanks to the internet and technological developments as it found its way across the world both as a printed work and in other forms of media. She has a vast internet fandom consisting of creative and imaginative people, who create alternate stories based on Austen's works. Thanks to this thrill and expectations, canon materials are turned into fanon as fans crave for more and adaptations are created to quench that thirst both by professionals and fans themselves. This book examines Austenmania through Austen's canonical literature as well as fanfiction, Austen-related fiction, alternate stories, and their reflections on TV. The authors investigate the microcosmos of Austen fandom and its effects on both literature and other media. It is also possible to find profound analyses of Austen's and Austen-related works with regard to feminism, society, relationships, romance, and erotica. If you love Austen's novels, if the taste still lingers on your tongue after you read them and want more and wish to keep the story going via fanfiction, other published works, art, films, etc., this the right book for you. As the authors say at the end: "Austen fans push boundaries and shatter ceilings" in order to keep the heritage of the revolutionary author alive.

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I liked it more than I thought I would considering that I'm not a die-hard Austen fan but more interested in how the community is formed. I'd buy and offer this book to anyone interested in Austen paraphernalia or in how does an authentic (online) community looks like.

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I really enjoyed Austentatious. Holly Luetkenhaus and Zoe Weinstein wrote a well researched and highly readable book about fandom. Jane Austen is an excellent lens to look at fandom through - there is a wealth of fan-created content to consider. The authors did a particularly good job of looking at the various types of gatekeeping in fan communities and in the academic world, as well. My favorite chapter was Chapter 2, "As If! Clueless and the Modern AU." I found myself nodding along and taking notes. I will recommend this book widely - it is incredibly appealing and easy to read.

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I really loved this much more than I thought I would. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and have read dozens of books on her world, life and works. This was something different it’s covers how authentic fan communities form and function. Lots of information and Austen anecdotes are included too. all in all this book is great fun and very interesting. I’d highly recommend it.

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I picked up this book not because I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, but because I have an interest in online fandoms and how they create their own niche subcultures. I've dipped my toes a few times in fandom a few times and I like the idea of it, but I never really could muster enough energy to get actively involved in one. This book was a legit eye-opener. I didn't know the Jane Austen fandom could be so intense and fascinating. They really love her work and they're incredibly passionate about it. The added bonus of all her work being in the public domain only meant that they can get more creative about their projects and really go big. I'm kind of aware of the multitude of Jane Austen spin-offs and tributes and essentially fanwork that's available commercially, but I didn't know there was a bigger online subculture of people who don't make their works commercially available, but instead free for everyone to consume. I think that fanfiction is a very fascinating topic and I'd love to see it explore in more academic contexts. It's a subculture that has spawned subcultures of its own and now forms part of our media diet. Fanfiction has grown exponentially and I loved how this work explores it in the context of the Jane Austen fandom.

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The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is an interesting and original look at the Jane Austen fandom. I've been a Janeite since I was 16 and it totally changed my way to see things and my future prospects. Even if I'm a huge fan of her, this book taught me new things about the fandom and I really appreciated that. What I really enjoyed was seeing how the fandom evolved during all these years and how all the people involved commemorate and enrich Austen's works.

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Loved this! I was an English major in college and have read everything Jane Austen has ever written (except the burned stuff..obviously) so I was looking forward to reading this book exploring fandom and how Jane Austen has continued to be a leading voice in literature. This is a great book for people who read Camp Austen last year. I LOVED the Clueless chapter and also, I'm a major Lydia Bennett stan, so I feel like this book was designed for me.

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