“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” -Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Nearly ten years ago, on July 2, 2012, I published the first-ever sign-up post for Roof Beam Reader’s annual event, Austen in August. I’m thrilled to be here today to announce that, because of expressed interest on social media, we are back again for Year Ten! Celebrate good times, come on!
Welcome to the sign-up post for AUSTEN IN AUGUST, an annual reading event celebrating one of literature’s greatest writers! This event was inspired by a Twitter conversation that took place ten years ago between three founders of The Classics Club. I cannot believe it’s been a whole decade!
Call for Guest Posts & Giveaways: I am currently looking for people who would like to host/sponsor a giveaway or provide a guest post. If you’re interested in doing either (or both) of these, please fill out this form. One of the reasons this event is so great every year is because of the awesome content provided by our participants and partners – I know this year will be no different! Please submit your volunteer request by July 15th so that I have plenty of time for scheduling. I’ll be responding as your requests come in and will need all posts/giveaway information before July 31st.
So, why is Jane Austen so interesting? Pemberely explains: “Jane Austen is very resistant to being classified as part of a literary “school”, or being placed in any customarily-defined literary period — partly because none of the obvious available terms, “18th-century, “Romantic”, or “Victorian”, would appropriately describe her. Almost all of the major figures who were literarily active in the period 1800-1837, and who are currently deemed worthy of remembering (i.e. are “canonized”), fall into one of a few categories — either they launched their literary careers before 1800 (Burney, Edgeworth); or they were part of the Romantic movement (or were more or less strongly influenced by romanticism, or wrote in self-conscious reaction to romanticism); or they did most of their writing and publishing after 1837 (e.g. Dickens). Jane Austen is the conspicuous exception who does not fit into any of these categories.”
To read as many of Jane Austen’s works (finished or unfinished) as you want or are able to, during the month of August. Biographies, audiobooks, spin-offs, and re-reads also count. I will post throughout the month on different subjects, as well as with my own thoughts on the Austen content I read. We will be offering giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event. If you are going to participate, you can read any of Jane Austen’s novels, a biography about her, or any contemporary re-imaginings (such as Austenland or The Jane Austen Book Club, for example). All posts will help you qualify for prizes, which I’ll explain in a later post!
If you want to sign-up to join us as a reader during the Austen in August, simply leave a comment stating such! Maybe include some of the books you hope to read. There’s likely to be a read-along for one of Austen’s novels happening, too, so look for more information on that! I plan to read Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly or Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden by Janet Todd. I’ve long argued that Austen was more politically aware than people allow; Kelly’s book has received some harsh criticism for suggesting as much. I’m looking forward to reading her arguments to see where we agree or disagree about Austen. I know, for example, we probably agree about the importance of Mansfield Park.
Sign-ups are open throughout the month of July. If you sign-up after July 31st, you can still participate, but may not be eligible for some of the early giveaway prizes. To Share/Discuss on Twitter and Facebook, Use Hashatag #AustenInAugustRBR. Please also post the button somewhere on your blog (maybe in an announcement post or on your blog’s side-bar) so that we can spread the word, gather excitement, and encourage participation. The more of us reading Austen together, the better!