Being Jane: A Close Analysis of the Modern Cultural Memory of the Person and Author Jane Austen
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When the author Jane Austen is mentioned, the stereotypical image of a quiet, domestic spinster automatically comes to mind. It is this same image that dominates the cultural memory the world has of Austen, whether it is actually a correct image or not. However, over the past decade or so, the issue of portraying not only Jane Austen, but also other authors, in different ways has become more popular, thanks to the growing interest in the topic of re-writing: re-telling a story from a different perspective, which can influence the process of cultural memory. Over the years, many authors have re-written Austen’s life story in numerous ways, portraying her as anything from a romantic, love-seeking young woman to a bloodthirsty vampire and an adventurous detective. These various images, in both novels and films, influence the cultural memory the world has of the author Jane Austen; a memory that is therefore constantly changing. In my research I want to look at this process of the continually differing representation of a classic author like Jane Austen in cultural memory: what different images are there, what causes the popularity of and demand for a specific portrayal, and what do these representations perhaps say about the specific historical period we currently find ourselves in?