Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Camp Austen

Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen SuperfanCamp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. The author started out in full-snark mode attending a Jane Austen summer camp hosted by his university only to discover that the Janeites in attendance, while a bit silly, were touchingly human as well. While the gossiping glee never fully abated, why should it? "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?" Impersonating Mr. Darcy and other Austen heroes for the purposes of ballroom dancing and theatrical performances, the author never fully renounced his outsider status. But he did learn a thing or two about himself, including the fact that Regency man-garb (constricting, tailored clothing, cutaway jackets, and tights) make you look like a rock star. They also instantly improve your posture!

As an admirer of Jane Austen, albeit one with a lapsed JASNA membership, I thought this was an accurate description of the kind of events that draw the faithful: equal parts gossip session, scholarly presentation, Regency Comic-Con, and excuse to drink tea and smother scones with clotted cream.

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