I wish I could say I’ve been an Austen fan forever, that I started at 12 and never looked back, but I’m sort of embarrassed to admit I’m part of the 1995 BBC adaptation wave. I can image how those who were Janeites before felt: that mix of pride and resented ownership that happens when all of a sudden that obscure band you’ve been a fan of for years is suddenly TOP 1 and everyone’s favorite.
I didn’t read Austen in school and only picked up Sense and Sensibility when I was about 17. It was such an awful translation that I completely forgot about it 2 minutes after turning the last page. It had no impact what so ever.
I don’t know if P&P 1995 ran in Portugal before, but I only saw it in 2002 (o the wasted time!) and like half of the world, immediately got hooked. After watching it several times I got the book in English (by that time I had done the ERASMUS programme in Glasgow so was comfortable reading it in the original) and surprise, surprise: it was even better than the series! Then I got the rest of her novels, juvenilia and letters. Then I entered into biographies and afterwards found the fun world of sequels, prequels and inspirations.
So that’s why I have a dedicate Austen shelf, which for the moment shares its space with our assortment of travel-books.
I felt quite isolated in my obsession until I decided to see what the internet could offer. You can never feel alone online, can you? There I discovered the wonderful world of The Republic of Pemberley, which became my online home for many years, and the world-wide Janeite community.
As people around me got used to my wacky obsession with a long-dead lady author, they started to indulge me by giving me JA-related gifts - nice or very old editions of her books, mugs, postcards, etc. Those who travelled started getting me editions of Pride and Prejudice in different languages and I got into it myself. These lovely friends usually bring back great stories of them trying to hunt down Jane Austen in e.g. Seoul or Bucharest.
At the moment, I have Pride & Prejudice in 25 languages: Danish, Greek, Czech, Italian, Turkish, Romanian, Korean, German, Norwegian, Japanese, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), English, Chinese, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Russian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Farsi, Spanish and Swedish.
Am I crazy or am I crazy?
I never buy these books online, I either get them on location, through friends or (as it happened with the Farsi edition) through fellow Bookcrossers. I might try Bookmooch soon and see what I can find there.
If you can get me an edition in a language I still don’t have, I’d be more than happy to trade it for a book in your wishlist!
Do you also have dedicated shelves for anything (authors, themes)?
(click the photos to enhance – sorry, some are not as high-quality as I hoped for, I’ll replace them with better ones later)
(the little bottle you see below is a sample of the Waters of Bath)