*Another* Austen Website?​

The Jane Austen Review is a nascent public humanities project coordinated by Madeline Scully (PLU ’19) and Dr. Adela Ramos with the goal of creating a digital home for non-academic and academic readers and writers, accessible to anyone interested in engaging with Jane Austen and her contemporaries. Our project is twofold. In Digital Austen, we collect Austen websites, digital humanities projects, recent approaches to Austen and her work, and teaching resources in an effort to organize them and make them accessible in a single digital space. Our review blog, The Phaeton, aims to join the vibrant conversation between Austen readers and writers by publishing reviews of the rich array of engagements with her work for a diverse audience.

This collaborative project between PLU alumna, current students, and faculty is open to participation from the general public. We aim to provide a forum where Austen fans, enthusiasts, and scholars can publish thoughtful reviews that make connections between Austen’s time and our own with a general public in mind. We review Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF), fiction and non-fiction inspired by Austen or her work, film adaptations, and welcome review-style essays on literary tourism and paraphernalia. We refer to these diverse materials as “engagements.” We turned to this term, on the one hand, because the array of responses to Austen is unclassifiable under a single category; on the other, because we are fascinated by how her work is constantly reclaimed by a variety of audiences that challenge traditional academic approaches. Crucially, though, we are inspired by the work that Bridget Draxler, Danielle Spratt, and their many collaborators, shared in the recently published Engaging the Age of Austen: Public Humanities in Practice. Like them, we believe that scholars do their best work when they foster the creation of critical public spaces where reading and writing offer a means to engage with the present through the past, to engage literature and history through community.

The resources housed under Digital Austen are classified into six categories: digital editions and scholarly projects, interactive sites, locations and exhibits, organizations, popular blogs, and new perspectives. It is our intention that the wide variety of resources will be of use to the general public, teachers and students in search of online sources.

The Phaeton houses our reviews. Once a month (maybe more!), we will be publishing a review on an engagement with Jane Austen. The title for this section draws from Austen’s novels, where phaetons move characters through time and space. We encourage our reviewers to ask questions of texts that do the same, thinking about the past in order to ask questions about the present. Reviewers do not have to be affiliated with PLU. Our only requirements are a genuine desire to engage with other Austen readers through digital writing and that reviewers are willing to explore connections between the past and the present. We approach the editorial process with a workshop spirit: we will offer up to five rounds of feedback and guide writers through the revision process because what excites us most is to share your ideas and excitement about Austen and her afterlives with others. See our criteria section for more details on what we require of reviewers and information on how to submit your review.

Why Jane Austen? We recognize that Jane Austen is a widely studied author who represents a privileged literary tradition. An integral goal of our project is to collect online resources that situate Austen’s work in relation to crucial issues of her time, such as slavery and imperialism, and that showcase how claims to Austen in our time are made from an array of social and political positions. We heartily welcome suggestions and contributions that further this goal.

We would like to thank Sarah Pesce and Naz Keynejad for generously offering their assistance and advice as we develop this project. We are grateful for their time and energy.

Contact us via DM on Twitter @janeatplu or by emailing  thephaetonreview@gmail.com

This project is possible thanks to a generous Mellon Foundation Grant for the Digital Humanities Lab at Pacific Lutheran University

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