10 Jane Austen oddities in popular culture

Austen Zombies

For a grey Friday: in honour of the fall movie release of Austenland (appropriately enough based on a book) about a fictional Jane Austen theme-park experience, I decided to round up the strangest iterations of Jane Austen in popular culture I could find. (Also, if Austenland doesn’t do it for you, and you want to get a non-fictional idea of what being sent back to the Regency Era might be like, there’s always the British reality show Regency House Party. It is *awesome*.)

1. Video games
A whole site dedicated to “video games inspired by the world of Jane Austen.” I have yet to try “Regency Dress-up.”

2. Hip hop
No one is quite sure why the Jane Austen hip hop movie failed. However, the announcement that it would be penned by the screenwriter of Menace II Society led to some great suggested titles, including Emma II Society and Emminemma.

3. Science Fiction & Fantasy
You may have seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, or Jane Bites Back. Or maybe you’ve heard of the Jane Austen with magic novels. But did you know Elton John has plans to produce Pride and Predator? According to Variety, “it veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.” This is, apparently, real (as opposed to Jane Austen’s Fight Club, which was only ever an incredibly wonderful spoof, or the more low-budget Real Housewives of Jane Austen).

4. Smartphone Aps
Apparently the “the Austen community rallied around the Kickstarter Campaign in February to help build a smartphone application devoted to tech-savvy Jane fans.” Now you can download it for free.  Or you can download and read Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine. Or be old-fashioned, and buy a regular subscription.

HenAndChick Finger puppets Etsy
Pride and Prejudice finger puppets by HenAnd Chick (Etsy)

5. Etsy
Enter Jane Austen into Etsy’s system. Almost 5000 items ship to Canada, everything from an iphone case, to Austen-themed party kits, to Austen murder mystery party game instructions, to license plates. Also, lots of gowns, bonnets, mugs, t-shirts, fridge magnets, and jewelry.

6. Manly Austen Gear
Someone else assembled this list. Skateboards, “Let’s BBQ Wickham” aprons, and more. (The shirt below is from Brookish on Etsy.)

I am Mr Darcy

7. Murder Mysteries
There are untold Austen sequels, revisions, and riffs, and more than one murder mystery. Stephanie Barron has penned a whole series featuring Austen as sleuth; Carrie Bebris’s mysteries feature the Darcys.

8. Bollywood
Given the sheer volume of Austen-inspired movies, it should be no surprise that Bollywood isn’t exempt. What makes Bollywood fun is that there are musical numbers both like and unlike anything that ever happened at Pemberley.

9. Facebook
I don’t even have to look. I’m pretty sure all of Jane Austen’s novels and characters have their own Facebook pages. There are also Jane Austen games, a “Which Jane Austen Lady Are You” app, and more.

10. Twitter
There are a surprising number of Austen-themed Twitter accounts. Lydia Bennet definitely has her moments: “@TheGWickham you wont answe your phone I don’t know what else to do just call me okay pleas egeorge”

You can follow up on more through the popularly unreliable Wikipedia site, but it is hardly complete. Feel free to cite others in the comments section. While you are thinking you might take this quiz and find out which Jane Austen heroine you are.

Any great ones I’m missing?


8 responses to “10 Jane Austen oddities in popular culture

  1. I’m pretty sure that someone has written an Austen like novel entirely in tweets. 140 characters at a time. Thanks Jennifer. You’re a great blogger.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! It helps to have an amazing founder to follow. Though in this case, that “I am Mr Darcy” t-shirt does most of the work. And the flowers, of course.

  2. You won’t want to overlook the Jane Austen font. Very useful for penning your own missive to Mr. Darcy: http://www.dafont.com/jane-austen.font

  3. That font is *fantastic*. And I suspect all over mugs, t-shirts, and tote-bags on Etsy.

  4. Susan Ferriers and Maria Edgeworth are bound to have their day, as well. Castle Rackrent snow globes, anyone?

  5. Pingback: Will The Real Jane Austen Please Stand Up? | Dirty Laundry

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  7. There are web series on YouTube for Austen’s work as well! The Lizzie Bennet Diaries won an Emmy (http://www.youtube.com/user/LizzieBennet) and Emma Approved is still ongoing (http://www.youtube.com/user/PemberleyDigital). They’re modern day takes on the novels but they are still pretty faithful adaptations.

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