Published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice opens with one of the greatest lines in all of literature: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” The writer of these immortal words was Jane Austen. In 2017, lovers of Jane’s works, known as Janeites thanks to Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Janeites, are remembering the 200th anniversary of her passing.
Around the world, Jane Austen Societies, schools, libraries, literary groups, museums and other organizations are remembering Jane and her contribution to literature on the 200th anniversary of her death. The British Government is even releasing her likeness on their money this year! So we need to do something in Indiana to remember Jane Austen too!
My request is simple. I am asking that libraries throughout Indiana recognize Jane Austen during the week of July 17-23, 2017. The date of her death is July 18, 1817. Their recognition could simply be a display of her novels, movies, or books about the Regency period of England for the week. Or maybe a book discussion, film festival or a remembrance book patrons could write in saying what their favorite Austen book is or favorite character!!
We are approaching the Governor’s office to recognize Jane Austen in Indiana that week. I discussed this with Governor Holcomb on January 27th, and he seemed very interested. As he said, “Who doesn’t love Jane Austen!” There will be a Facebook Page created-“Jane Austen’s 200th in Indiana” that groups can post pictures, program notices and such to promote the 200th anniversary. Also, press releases and other media coverage will most likely come about closer to the July 18th date.
And if this week is bad for some due to summer reading programs and the like, we are looking at celebrating Jane’s legacy throughout 2017. So if that week doesn’t work, please pick another! We just want Hoosiers to remember Jane. Her legacy started just as our state started so we have more in common than you might think.
If you have questions about how to participate, please use our Contact Us page.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Mary Miller, Indiana Regional Coordinator for the Jane Austen Society of North America