Ja­nee austenn

Keep­ing Alive i n pak­istan n As 2017 marks the bi­cen­ten­nial death An­niver­sary of the nov­el­ist, A group of women in the coun­try Are try­ing to res­ur­rect her legacy in the most charm­ing way

WKND - - Society Celebrating Janeitism - By Anamika chat­ter­jee

he clock strikes 4pm at a stately home in Islamabad. In the din­ing hall, fine cut­lery and bis­cuits are be­ing neatly ar­ranged on a ta­ble. En­ter El­iz­a­beth Ben­nett, Ge­or­giana Darcy, Mar­i­anne Dash­wood, Lady Susan Ver­non, Emma Wood­house and Jane Ben­nett in colour­ful gowns. Sit­ting right in the mid­dle, Lady Caro­line Bin­g­ley wel­comes the guests to her tea party. Pleas­antries are ex­changed, self­ies are clicked and, for a mo­ment, it seems Jane Austen’s girls have fi­nally made peace with each other… if not in fic­tion, then at the an­nual tea party of the Jane Austen So­ci­ety of Pak­istan ( JASP).

Two hun­dred years have passed since Austen taught us the fine art of schmooz­ing, Re­gency- style. Keep­ing her leg­end — or Janeitism as many schol­ars call it — alive, the Jane Austen So­ci­ety of Pak­istan or­gan­ises an­nual tea par­ties where the mem­bers, dressed as iconic char­ac­ters from her books, gather to dis­cuss her nov­els, play games and at­tempt to find an­swers to the all- im­por­tant ques­tion: why is Mr Darcy so per­fect?

2017 marks the bi­cen­ten­nial death an­niver­sary of the Pride and Prej­u­dice au­thor. Over the years, Jane Austen has be­gun to com­mand a fol­low­ing in some un­likely quar­ters. For in­stance, dis­cov­er­ing a grow­ing ‘ cult of Janeites’ in Amer­ica, a 2013 BBC story noted that “it might be seen as in­con­gru­ous that Austen’s fan­dom is so ex­ten­sive in the US, a na­tion founded on the re­jec­tion of aris­toc­racy and old world man­ners and tra­di­tions”. Had the BBC waited another year, it would have come across yet another un­con­ven­tional hub of Janeites. Formed in 2014, the Jane Austen So­ci­ety of Islamabad started as a Facebook fan club, the brain­child of writer Laaleen Sukhera. Hav­ing read Austen ever since she was a pre­co­cious 12- yearold, Laaleen was fas­ci­nated by ev­ery­thing ‘ Austen- es­que’. Pur­su­ing her pas­sion, she even pre­pared her univer­sity the­sis on Austen’s screen adap­ta­tions. And then came a chance meet­ing with the ac­tor who has owned Fitzwilliam Darcy in pop­u­lar imag­i­na­tion with his por­trayal of the char­ac­ter in the 1995 television se­ries Pride and Prej­u­dice — Colin Firth. “I met him

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.