But I love her anyway.
Earlier this month, agent extraordinaire Joanna Volpe and I took the fabulous FinePrint interns to the Morgan Museum where we checked out the Jane Austen exhibit: A Woman's Wit, Jane Austen's Life and Legacy.
From the Morgan Museum:
This exhibition explores the life, work, and legacy of Jane Austen (1775–1817), regarded as one of the greatest English novelists. Offering a close-up portrait of the iconic British author, whose popularity has surged over the last two decades with numerous motion picture and television adaptations of her work, the show provides tangible intimacy with Austen through the presentation of more than 100 works, including her manuscripts, personal letters, and related materials, many of which the Morgan has not exhibited in over a quarter century.
A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy also includes first and early illustrated editions of Austen's novels as well as drawings and prints depicting people, places, and events of biographical significance. A highlight of the exhibition is a specially commissioned film by the noted Italian director Francesco Carrozzini, featuring interviews with artists and scholars such as Siri Hustvedt, Fran Lebowitz, Sandy Lerner, Colm Tóibín, Harriet Walter, and Cornel West.
The exhibition is organized into three sections: Austen's life and personal letters, her works, her legacy, and concludes with the documentary-style film.
The real event began though downstairs in JP Morgan's personal library (My dream library!) where Jane Seymour did a fantastic dramatic reading of the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. (I just hadn't realized how incredible dramatic readings could be until I managed to see - in person - someone do it so right.)
Oh yes, this is the dream library!
And this was all in celebration of the release of Beth Pattillo's new novel Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart.
Claire Prescott is a sensible woman who believes in facts and figures, not fairy tales. But when she agrees to present a paper to a summer symposium at Oxford on her ailing sister’s behalf, Claire finds herself thrown into an adventure with a gaggle of Jane Austen-loving women all on the lookout for their Mr. Darcy.
Claire isn’t looking for Mr. Anyone. She’s been dating Neil, a nice — if a bit negligent — sports fanatic. But when a tall, dark and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire suddenly discover her inner romantic heroine? Her chance meeting with a mysterious woman who claims to have an early version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — in which Lizzie ends up with someone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy — leads to an astounding discovery about the venerated author’s own struggle to find the right hero for Lizzie Bennett.
Neil’s unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire’s journey to finding her own romantic lead. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is the story of a woman who finds that love isn’t logical and that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected of places.
Her first book Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of my life. (Okay not really, but I swear I feel like the cover of the book was stolen from my diary.) It is truthfully one of my favorite modern Jane Austen-esque works of fiction.
Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father said she should — a respectable marriage, a teaching job, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good, as her favorite author might say, until the day Emma finds her husband with another woman. Suddenly, all her romantic notions a la Austen are exposed for the foolish dreams they are.
Denied tenure in the wake of the scandal, Emma packs what few worldly possessions she has left and heads to England to find the missing letters of Jane Austen. A reclusive widow claims to have the author’s correspondence, but she allows Emma to see the letters only if she promises never to tell anyone about them. Emma reluctantly agrees and sets off across Austen’s England — from Steventon to Bath to Lyme Regis — to complete a series of tasks that bring her closer and closer to the secret Jane Austen hoped to bury. And the reappearance of Emma’s old friend Adam doesn’t make her quest any easier.
As Emma uncovers the legendary author’s innermost thoughts, she begins to understand the reasons for her idol’s secrecy and Austen’s own struggles as a woman of faith. Laced with excerpts from the missing letters, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of a woman betrayed who discovers the true meaning of loyalty.