Charles Dickens had his day and now Jane Austen with the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice.
Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813 and has never been out of print since 1832 when its copyright was sold to another publisher. Poor Jane Austen had signed away the rights for a paltry sum and never profited from one of her most successful stories.
Celebrations for followers (Janeites) and those who may have only seen the movie(s) are being held on both sides of the ocean, and one close to my old hometown. Goucher College in Maryland owns the American archive of Jane Austen’s works that include first editions, letters, documents, pictures and drawings – even a lock of hair. If you are in the area, stop by for some tea or champagne.
Goucher professor and Austen scholar Juliette Wells has a new book about Jane Austen – Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination.
Although British Dame Frances Trollope did not have much good to say about her travels in America in the nineteenth century, and her adventures might be a caution to anyone thinking about relocating to Cincinnati – she did praise one of my favorite places…
“…Maryland (1830) was delightful…Strawberries of the richest flavor sprung beneath our feet; and when these past away, every grove, every lane, every field looked like a cherry orchard, offering an inexhaustible profusion of fruit to all who would take the trouble to gather it…It was the flowers, and the flowering shrubs that, beyond all else, rendered this region the most beautiful I had ever seen. No description can give an idea of the variety, the profusion, the luxuriance of them…I have gathered a branch less than a foot long, and counted twelve full bunches of flowers on it…The dogwood is another of the splendid white blossoms…”
I get lost – a lot. I can take the wrong turn out of the elevator to my hotel room – repeatedly. If my instincts tell me to make a right at a crossroads, it probably should be a left. But I really don’t mind; in fact, I like getting lost.
Reading Matt Gross’s New York Times article, Lost in Ireland, reminded me of
the pleasures of being lost – driving along the countryside, surprises at every turn.
Some of my best adventures have been while lost: exploring the woods around Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, and wondering if I’d make it back for dinner at the main cabin – I did; crossing over the river several times in Paris, looking for the Eiffel Tower to guide me home – it did.
You might think it impossible to get lost on an island, but it isn’t for me. I can add Florida’s beautiful Amelia Island, Ireland, and Oahu to my list of lost islands – where I’ve found something I wasn’t looking for.
Of course, getting lost sometimes precipitates being late – and that can be annoying to those waiting. Nevertheless, those times when I have been so lost that I missed the meeting entirely – those were probably the best meetings I ever found.