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Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,163 ratings  ·  240 reviews
For anyone who has ever loved a Jane Austen novel, a warm and witty look at the passionate, thriving world of Austen fandom

They walk among us in their bonnets and Empire-waist gowns, clutching their souvenir tote bags and battered paperbacks: the Janeites, Jane Austen's legion of devoted fans. Who are these obsessed admirers, whose passion has transformed Austen from class
ebook, 256 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are Trekkies and Potterheads and Twifans, but nothing in the pop culture universe can compare to the passion, dedication and eccentricity of a Janeite. I know this because I am one.

For the benefit of the un-indoctrinated, a Janeite is a fan of English author Jane Austen (1775-1817) who wrote six novels before her untimely death at age 41. Many have read Pride and Prejudice for a school assignment and then moved on. Others, like myself and former journalist Deborah Yaffe, were so enchanted
Dov Zeller
A couple years ago, when I was in an MFA program at Umass, I was taking a walk with A, a fellow transmasculine person in the program, and talking about my love of Jane Austen. A said she'd never read Austen, grumbling that she'd always seen Austen as a "women's writer" or even worse, a writer for "girls."

I was dumbstruck. It had never occurred to me that reading Jane Austen was in any way un-guy-ish or a threat to one's intellectual masculinity. Of course, everyone expresses their gender differ
Gary  the Bookworm
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Janeites and Janeites-to-be
Recommended to Gary by: Kris
Jane lies in Winchester, blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made.
And while the stones of Winchester--or Milson Street--remain,
Glory, Love, and Honour unto England's Jane!

Rudyard Kipling

I've been an admirer of Jane Austen since my sophomore year in college when I read Pride and Prejudice. Over the years, I've read and re-read all the novels, usually turning to them in times of stress when I crave structure and predictability. I've watched the movie and TV ad
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having been a Jane Austen fan for a very long time, I was thrilled to receive a copy of this work of nonfiction about the fandom surrounding the beloved author.

Among the Janeites is a work of journalism, and as such Yaffe has written an entertaining and fun book. She uses a handful of stories about various Austen-lovers, including herself, to show the depth and variance of the love surrounding the author immediately associated with England's Regency era. She doesn't become pedantic by explainin
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Janeites: Somewhere between fun and travesty

“Among the Janeites” is in the fun category of reading and oddly enough it also seems to be in the controversial category as well. Is the love for Jane Austen a literary endeavor or a social one? Or both? That’s seems to spark debate. Yaffe first read Austen as a girl and went to her first Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) function when she was 17 in the 1980’s. Since then JASNA has changed mostly due to the popularity of movies and because
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I would re-read it and I recommend it for anyone with an interest in Jane Austen and what Jane Austen has become in our current popular culture.

I am a lifelong reader of Austen, belong to JASNA and am currently the co-coordinator of my local regional JASNA chapter. I have attended an AGM and I will be attending the next one in September. I have read the novels several times, I have a couple of different print versions of each, I have them all in audiobook form, and I have copi
Paul Waibel
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I must confess at the outset that I have never read one of Jane Austin’s novels. Neither have I seen one of the movies based on any of her novels. Perhaps I am missing something, but with only limited time, I choose to stay with those genres I know I like.

However, long ago I discovered the importance of knowing something about Jane Austin and her novels. I enjoy conversations with intelligent women, and I know that there is no better way to a lady’s mind than through Jane Austin. That lovely lad
Margaret Sullivan
I'm a Janeite, and this book made me happy, because it is at the same time the most thorough and most respectful review of the modern fandom I've seen. We needed an insider to do it right, and Deborah Yaffe did a terrific job. I couldn't put it down.

I've posted a longer review on AustenBlog. TL;DR: Read this book, even if you're not a Janeite.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-challenge
I must begin with full-disclosure: while not a professed Janeite, I have read the entire Jane Austen canon, in order, seen most of the movie adaptations (I even own the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice, the awkwardly titled "Bride and Prejudice"), and like many a woman set the bar of marriage as the first boyfriend who can successfully sit through the five hour Colin Firth version of P&P without raising a complaint or a making a snide remark. I remain unmarried... ;)

Perhaps the most comp
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
"Are you a janite, or are you normal?"

Some people like Star Trek, others Star Wars. Me? I like Jane Austen. I am a Janeite.

This book is about Yaffe's exploration of the current fandom of Jane Austen because let's face it - if you slap Jane or Darcy's name or picture on something it has an immediate marketing power that other things lack. Sometimes this is awesome (frankly I love my Jane Austen action figure) and sometimes it's not (Jane porn where Lady Catherine brings Mr Collins to an orgasmic
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, travel, england
I initially assumed that "Among the Janeites" would be something of an ethnography: an examination of the demographics of Jane Austen fandom, with some entertaining stories thrown in.

Author Deborah Yaffe's description is much more accurate; it's a journalistic investigation. Yaffe interviews a cross-section of big-name fans, from former Cisco Systems president Sandy Lerner (who bought Jane Austen's former home, Chawton House) to Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer, a speech therapist who posits the not-at
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wasn't impressed with this book, which is a shame because I desperately wanted to like this book.

I loved when Yaffe described and told the stories of her fellow Janeites, but I really couldn't stand her narration. I don't know if it's because I'm annoyed by the "I'm an elite Jane Austen fan because of these reasons" or I just don't like the way she writes her narratives. Sometimes, you just don't clash well with a author.

I applaud her efforts to write this book, but I have to admit I was dis
Rebecca Huston
This was a delight to read, with plenty of gentle humour, some moments of sheer laughter, and a serious look at the world and varieties of people who love Jane Austen and her work. There's costuming, the movies, fan fiction, a roller derby queen, the woman who bought Chawton House, tours a la Jane Austen, and plenty more. I had a great time with this one and can happily recommend it. Yes, I fully intend to reread this one in the future. Five stars overall.

For the longer review, please go here:
My August Rewind (up late, but better late than pregnant... Err, never. Better late than never.
The Fairest of Them All | Carolyn Turgeon [review]
Mansfield Park | Jane Austen (obvs)
Among the Janeites | Deborah Yaffe [review]
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. | Adelle Waldman [review]
Austentatious | Alyssa Goodnight [review]
Nov 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book, but partway through I've decided to give up on it. Three stars as it's quite well written; I'd recommend it to those who are interested in Jane Austen, but as someone with only a passing interest and looking for more general reading this one just didn't work. ...more
I would actually give this a 3.5.
Eustacia Tan
Jun 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
It may not come as a surprise to you that I bought this book for the title (and also, the cover is cute). While I may not be a hardcore Janeite, I am a fan of Jane Austen and I find books about her so interesting.

Among the Janeites is an exploration of the Jane Austen fandom. It uses a quasi-memoir style, where the author mixes in her experience as a Janeite with more information about the fandom, tying all the chapters together with the tale of how she commissioned a regency dress for a JASNA (
Connie D
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jane-austen
4.5 stars. Yes, I absolutely love Jane Austen and have read all her books multiple times....but I do not belong to any of the groups described in this book. Deborah Yaffe writes an extremely readable book about official Jane groups, Jane bloggers, Jane Austen rewriters, Austen tour groups, Austen fashion designers, and Yaffe's experiences with all of them. If you like Austen, this will be particularly interesting, but if you don't, this will help you understand the Austen phenomena too. ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Suddenly I find myself wanting to order a tailor-made Regency gown, re-read every Jane Austen novel and spend a week on the fan sites and blogs about her.

I want to go to JASNA! (Please imagine me crying this out in this manner)
More accurately (just didn't have the same ring to it) I want to go to the Jane Austen Society of North America's next Annual General Meeting, which is more of a blast than it sounds, if Deborah Yaffe's description is in any way a
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this slim volume, Deborah Yaffe muses on what Jane Austen means to the many Janeites, herself included. The book begins with Deborah Yaffe's own personal journey to writing this book, from her childhood spent sneaking classic novels onto the playground at recess and a visit to Chawton as a teen to the tarot card that told her to write this book. She also discusses her first foray into period costuming in preparation for the JASNA AGM in 2011. The final chapter in the first section tells of Sa ...more
An enjoyable and easy-to-read romp through the various manifestations of Jane Austen fandom. Maybe closer to 3.5 stars?

I have always struggled with my attraction to the communities that build around cultural experiences and my sense that investing so much into a single show or author is absurd and faintly ridiculous. Or, maybe I'm just a chicken? In any case, I've tried to attend various fan-based cons over the years, but on the rare occasion I've made it to one (was that a Star Trek Convention
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For those who delight in all things Jane Austen, or those who are fascinated by obsessive subcultures, this book is a treasure chest of fun. Gather a group of Janeites and you'll find yourself in a varied assembly. From obsessive Colin Firth fans to staid scholars, from solitary readers to passionate online discussion group participants, from those who hold conservative values to those who love bawdy P&P sequels, Janeite-ism is a large tent kind of phenomenon and Deborah Yaffe explores it all, t ...more
Karen (Living Unabridged)
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: austen
I have never joined JASNA. I only toured Bath on a trip four years ago and have never gone to England on a Jane Austen related tour. I have never worn a Regency costume, much less danced at a ball or assembly. I'm not active on the Republic of Pemberley message board and I only check Austen Blog and Austenprose on occasion instead of every day. I haven't written Jane Austen fan-fic, well, OK, I haven't published any Jane Austen fan-fic. Yet.

Despite those things, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. T
Mary Pagones
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun and delightful little tour through the subculture of Jane Austen superfans. More illuminating for its profiling of the the modern day Janeites than actual Austen. I never knew that one of the founders of Cisco was a passionate Janeite, and a particular fan of the 1980 BBC version. Pride & Prejudice is one my favorite novels of all time but this book did make it clear to me that I'm not really a Janeite--I don't idealize the era Jane lived in as a purer time, and while I love Lizzie and Dar ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice overview of the current depth and breadth of the fan-dom that is comprised of "Jane-ites".

Like Yaffe, I probably fall somewhere in the middle of the Jane-ites: not over-scholarly, but not overtly enthusiastic either (though, when I make it back to the UK someday, Chawton et al. is on the list of places to visit along with Gads Hill and Haworth).

And I'm still thinking she thinks that one dude is a loon (dudes, I think he's a loon - Jane Fairfax got knocked up by Emma's brother-in-law befor
Books I'm Not Reading
Think you're too crazy about Jane Austen? Think again! Yaffe takes us into a bizarre world of Jane Austen when the really "normal" person we meet owns 30 Regency ballgowns. I did enjoy learning about the history of the Jane Austen Society of North America and the tensions between people who love the books and take them very seriously and the people who seem to have fallen in love with the movies, or maybe mostly Colin Firth, and THEN became Jane Austen fans. An interesting look into a diverse su ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this! I love reading about the Jane Austen fandom. I also love reading about all the ways people interact with books, and so this was perfect for me. Jane Austen novels are the best. And her fans can be...interesting. I am a fan like Yaffe- someone who loves Austen and the various ways her work has been adapted, but wary of the commercialization and obsession. This book blended academia, fandom, literary criticism, and pop culture really well. I’d recommend it for any Janeite or ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this, and I wish I had borrowed it from the library earlier! Austenites can take an infinite number of forms, and all have their own peculiarities. Yaffe looks at both academic and pop studies of Austen, and all of the people who love her works. Very well written, and easy to read!
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really good. Made me find new Jane Austen fan fiction. Helped me know more about Sandy Lerner and all she has done to help bring Jane Austen and other women writers to more people. How she saved Chawton House by buying and renovating it.
Gave me too many new books, new websites, new information to devour as a fellow Janeites. Took a long time to read since checking people, books, websites out. LOVED IT. Heard author speak at Jane Austen event in Kentucky in 2020.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-austen
a fun look at the history of Jane Austen fandom

I agree with the author's discovery that most Janeites love connection with other Janeites but also feel an exclusive kinship with Jane, as if they are the only one who gets her.
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Deborah Yaffe, the author of Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, has been a passionate Jane Austen fan since first reading Pride and Prejudice at age ten. She joined the Jane Austen Society of North America at sixteen; owns an impressive collection of Austen-themed coffee mugs, bookmarks, tote bags and DVDs; and spends way too much time hanging around the Republi ...more

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