Today, thanks to Laurel Ann @ Austenprose 's post on facebook, I've read this very interesting article by Lev Raphael from The Huffington Post. These are the most relevant ideas:
"Given Austen's ubiquity, and the fact that anything with her name on it will sell, you might think she's always been a sensation. But you'd be wrong, as Jodi Picoult was when she recently said the New York Times needed to review popular authors because"historically the books that have persevered in our culture and in our memories and our hearts were not the literary fiction of the day, but the popular fiction of the day. Think about Jane Austen. Think about Charles Dickens. Think about Shakespeare. They were popular authors. They were writing for the masses".Not at all. Austen's fame and popularity grew long after her death, but during her life she was only moderately successful, and novels weren't even the most popular genre in her era.
Back then, novels were less widely read than poetry by celebrity authors like Sir Walter Scott and Byron. The day it was published in 1814, Byron's The Corsair sold 10,000 copies. Also published in 1814, Emma took six months to sell out its printing of 1250 copies.And when Scott turned to historical fiction in 1814 with Waverly, he became an instant success in this genre, thanks to his poetry. He sold far better than Austen ever did in her lifetime. Given his status as 800-pound gorilla on the literary scene, it's not surprising Austen made fun of their different levels of success in a letter to her niece Anna:
"Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. - It is not fair. - He has Fame & Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people's mouths. - I do not like him, & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it - but fear I must..."So who did read Austen? She was a special favorite of the fashionable set who enjoyed guessing at her identity because her first four books were published anonymously. Aristocrats ranging from the future wife of Byron all the way to the dissolute Prince Regent and his beloved daughter Charlotte admired her work. The royal librarian even gave Austen a tour of the Prince's ornate London residence, telling her that his master kept copies of her books in all his homes.
When she died in 1817, Austen was more than fifty years away from the idolatry and burgeoning sales of her first great boom (the second came in the 1990s, thanks in part to Colin Firth's Darcy". (Lev Raphael)
2. MATTHEW MACFADYEN AS ATHOS
Ah. If only it were as simple today as it was in Jane Austen's time...
4. AUSTEN AUTHORS SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH
This new Austen dedicated blog has been launched with great enthusiasm and the response has been greatly enthusiastic as well! Since September 6th, lots of interesting blogposts and comments. You'll find contributions from many familiar names & faces there: Susan Adriani , Marsha Altman, Marilyn Brant, Skylar Burris , Jack Caldwell, Victoria Connelly , J. Marie Croft, Carolyn Eberhart , Monica Fairview , Regina Jeffers , Cindy Jones , Sharon Lathan, Kara Louise , Kathryn Nelson , Jane Odiwe , C. Allyn Pierson, Abigail Reynolds , Heather Lynn Rigaud , Lynn Shepherd , Mary Lydon Simonsen.
Have you had a look yet? Don't miss it! HERE
5. TALKING JANE AUSTEN