Monday 16 December 2013


Are you ready for a great celebration? Jane Austen's 238th birthday deserves a really grand event so here we are, ready to enjoy the fun for 24 hours!  A real marathon filled with lovely guests and brilliant posts. Last but not least, you'll have the chance to win several amazing Austen - related prizes in a giveaway contest that will be running until December 23rd and will be open internationally.

I've asked quite a few Janeite friends to contribute their answer to a simple question: What would our lives have been like without Jane Austen? 

I hope you also want to contribute your own answer in the comments or if you prefer, just wish dear Jane your personal "Happy Birthday!". The more posts you comment,  the more chances you'll have to win one of the wonderful gifts in the rafflecopter form below. 

Now it's my turn to answer my own question: What would my life have been like without Jane Austen? 

It would have been smaller, duller, darker, bitter, sadder. That is just to say the first 5 adjectives that come to my mind. 

An entire life without Jane's irony and without her charming, dashing heroes? I definitely can't imagine it. Since I read Pride and Prejudice first time at 14, I fell in love with Jane's World and started loving everything English.  Since then, my teenage crush has grown into a real passion and it has widened my own cultural horizons, especially since I started blogging about everything Austen. That was the beginning of a completely new life, made richer and much more interesting  by my virtual and real  encounters with lots of wonderful Janeites,  with whom I could share my fondness with joy.

Happy birthday, Jane! Thanks for making my life richer and more exciting.
Maria Grazia

I'll be posting contributions from many lovely, talented, brilliant Janeites in the next 24 hours! Stay tuned and take your chances, as many as you can, in the giveaway contest (see the rafflecopter form below this post and  all the upcoming posts).

Let me thank all the kind and generous friends of My Jane Austen Book Club who've accepted to take part in this event and also Cecilia Latella,  who designed the cute graphics.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mary Jane Hathaway said...

SOOO exciting!!

Mary Jane Hathaway!

Emily A. Bell said...

Happy Birthday Jane!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, Jane!!!!

rhonda said...

Happy Birthday Jane

Vesper said...

Happy Birthday - thank you for introducing me to Regency novels

Trish Finnegan said...

Happy Birthday Jane, Thank you for getting me into reading.

betsy hagan said...

Where would I be without Jane? Doomed to behave horribly like Mrs. Bennet, Caroline Bingley, Mrs. E, Aunt Norris, Miss Bates or Mrs. Jennings, I am afraid! Thank you Jane for calling out bad behavior so graciously! Happy Birthday!

Kirk said...

Happy Bday Jane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Ms. Austen! Thank you for giving me Mr. Darcy! My life has never been the same since.

Thank you Maria for this celebration and amazing giveaway!!

Cindy W. said...

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! She's influenced so many people, and I love her characters, especially Captain Wentworth and Mr. Darcy.

Joanne said...

Happy Birthday Miss Jane.
I don't want to think of a world where we didn't have you to inspire and entertain.

Sophia Rose said...

This is so neat. I love celebrating Jane Austen's Birthday and thinking about how much her books enriched my life.

Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Jane. Our lives would be so much poorer without you.

Janet Mullany said...

Anonymous above was me.

Elizabeth MacGregor-Kirkcaldy said...

Happy Birthday, Jane! Thank you for your beloved stories ~ they are treasured gifts, indeed~

Thanks for hosting~
Elizabeth MacGregor-Kirkcaldy

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Jane Austen! You will be ever and for ever celebrated for your literary genius. I hope that you up there in heaven enjoy our adoration and love for your legacy. We would have been less entertained, less intelligent had you not put pen to paper.

Anonymous said...

To me the most wonderful thing about Jane's stories is how much of herself she puts into them.
When I read her books I feel like I'm downloading her memories.

As a person she means a great deal to me. It's safe to say she's one of my biggest moral influences.

In the interest of not creating a giant tome that will only bore everyone but myself I'll just say what I
really loved about her and empathize with her. Some of these are faults and some of them virtues.

She was a very strong Christian. Not that she was a bible thumper; she kept her faith to herself.
But it was central to her life.

She could judge people very quickly, sometimes unkindly, and sometimes prematurely.
I think she got this from her mother.

She could feel very cynical about the institutions and people in her life.

She was always aware of her faults and tried to address them. This is her most endearing characteristic.

She had to deal with a great deal of unkindness directed at her. Her sister and her novels were her only
real outlets. And yes Jane, we hear you. :)

She idolized her sister Cassandra. She absolutely looked up to her. I think Elinor Dashwood, Jane Bennett,
and Jane Fairfax were based on her.

"Marianismo" is a major part of Jane's value system. She admired the woman who was the "quiet hero" - the
person who gave all with no expectation of reward, acting only out of a sense of duty and love.

She does not pull any punches when it comes to deciding on issues of right and wrong.
She was no moral relativist.

She was as quick to laugh at herself, if not more so, as she was to laugh at others.

She had virtues, she had faults. She was right about some things, she was wrong about others. In short she was a
beautiful, imperfect human being who I would think was wonderful even if she never wrote a single word. She was very lovable.

Spiritually, I tend to be pretty agnostic. But you wouldn't believe the number of times her admonitions popped into
my head at different times, or the number of times I really needed help and said "Jane please help me here" and it did.

One time I was really upset about something and a thought jumped into my head. "Think of the past only as
its remembrance gives you pleasure". The way it came it was very calming. I almost felt as if someone had put a hand on my right shoulder.
I felt so relieved and I in a way knew where it came from. I just said to myself "Thanks Jane". I turned around to walk out of the room and I
happened to see the time on the microwave. It said 12:16.

I know. It's eerie. But it's also wonderful. If I have an intercessor she is it and I'm so so so grateful. That's why this day
is so important to me.

Ashton Dennis

Lynda E. said...

For me, without Austen's Pride and Prejudice, I never would have dicovered my passion for all things Regency. Thanks for the great post and for the giveaway!

Sofia Guerra said...

Thank you Maria! Every year I love this day! The fact it comes right before Christmas makes it even more delicious!
My life really started at 12 when my mother gave me a copy of P&P for my birthday. I mean my loife was a kid's life and fun but oh that birthday year!
I became a young lady that summer and havent left Regency England since! It is always a part of my thinking as Jane has helped me to look at life with matter what others do, I approach life as if it was that time...
It has given me a life of grace and class and for that I am so grateful.
I have shared it with my adopted daughter at her twelfth birthday and now at nineteen she feels the same about darling Miss Austen.
The one thing I do know, she taught me much about observing people in relationships...all kinds of relationships...not just romantic...

My daughter comes home today from being away since August 11th training in the Nat Guard and she brought her Austen novels with her.
She took alot of ribbing from people as she was reading while they spent their free time doing whatever...
She says Jane got her through the toughest of boot camp and her individualized training.
On Thanksgiving Day when she had a place of honor across from the female commander of the base, the commander asked her her favorite thing to do. My daughter said, to cook and to read Austen.
The commander said to her, "You will go places my dear as you see Jane has not let me down..." Wow! so you see our dearest Jane has affected our lives in so many ways there isnt enough paper or computer space to list them all!
Mille grazie Maria!

Sofia Guerra

WarmisunquAusten said...

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!!!!
It is wonderful this event, Maria, because it is marvelous the opportunity of, we keep live in our memory to Jane Austen.
Jane Austen did that I want to know more about the century XVIII-XIX. Her books have been the best that it went through in my life.

junewilliams7 said...

I agree with Maria Grazia - definitely my life would be darker, bitter, sadder. It would also be lonelier without all my Jane Austen friends.

I do not want to think of a world without Jane Austen!

Ceri said...

I first read Jane Austen when I was about 14 too, and fell in love with her work. This led me on to reading other books set around that time such as those written by Georgette Heyer, and in the last couple of years I've started reading Austen-inspired books too. When I think of the hours of reading pleasure I've had due to her I can't be anything else but grateful.

Cass Grafton said...

Wishing dearest Jane the happiest of days! Thank you for hosting such a wonderful party and giveaway, Maria Grazia! I am so thankful for all my online Austen friends, none of whom I would have met without her wonderful books!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jane! Without you, I would have never fallen in love with the English language and have never earned my PhD that's for sure! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, Jane! And thank you, Maria Grazia, for the opportunity to join in the celebration. :)

Maria said...

Happy Birthday, dear Jane!! My life would have been surely sadder and I would not have experienced all the emotions that only Jane gives me every time I read her novels! Thank you for this chance, Maria Grazia!

Lynn Bischoff said...

Happy birthday to the modt eonderful writer, Miss Jane Austen.

TessQ said...

What a fun way to celebrate, Maria Grazia -

Happy Birthday to Jane Austen, who might never have imagined the reach and influence her writing gained!

The most important thing I'd have missed with Jane Austen is the number of friends -- some friendly acquaintances, some lifelong intimates -- that she has indirectly brought my way and for which I will forever be grateful!

Kelli H. said...

Happy Birthday dear Jane! Life hasn't been the same since I picked up that copy of Emma!!:) So excited to celebrate her birthday today!! Thanks for the giveaways!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jane! I love reading her novels. And most of all watching movies about her stories.

Jo's Daughter said...

Happy Birthday Jane!!!! Wish I could have told you in person how much your stories mean to me!

It's hard to explain why I'm so drawn to everything Austen, but it gives me a sense of comfort. I turn to it in times of need and when I desperately need a pick me up. When I want to laugh and relax, when I want to feel like I'm falling in love :) It's soothing and relaxing, familiair. Just wonderful. It is a BIG part of my life :D

So I don't know what I would do, but I think I would feel a bit lost without Jane and her Darcy! I care for them both so much :)

LilyaneS said...

Happy Birthday, dear Jane - I know you well, and I love the legacy you have left for all of us.

Kim V said...

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Lúthien84 said...

Happy Birthday to our dear author and friend. I have answered the question posted by Maria at my blog. Take a look here and do comment because I would love to know what you think.

Mai-Mai said...

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Vicki H said...

Happy birthday, JA!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday to my favorite author in the whole world! Happy Birthday Jane Austen!!

dstoutholcomb said...

Happy Birthday, Jane!

graceismine said...

Happiest of birthdays, Jane! :)

Babs Hightower said...

Happy Birthday Jane

ColleenL said...

Happy Birthday Jane and thanks for all the wonderful giveaway chances from everyone!

Kate said...

Super exciting giveaway

Anubha said...

Happy Birthday Jane :) <3