'Among the Janeites': 6 stories from the realm of intense Jane Austen fandom

Deborah Yaffe wondered why Jane Austen inspires such intense fandom. Here's some of what she found.

6. Difficult costumes

Yaffe bought her own Regency-era dress to wear to the next JASNA conference, and she was excited the day it arrived in the mail. However, the stress of trying to put on the corset made her testy, Yaffe wrote. Her daughter attempted to tie it but was unable to, so Yaffe went into her room later to apologize for snapping at her. "I'm sorry I don't know how to lace a corset!" her daughter exclaimed when Yaffe entered. "I'm only eleven and I live in the twenty-first century!"

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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