Wednesday, September 26, 2012


by Kate McLachlan

Hey, have you heard the news? Jane Austen has a Facebook page!
                As soon as I found out, I immediately ‘Liked’ her because I love her and it makes me feel closer to her now that we’re “Friends.” Can one ever get close enough to Jane? Real intimacy has been difficult, though, because, well, she’s been dead for nearly 200 years. Besides that, nearly all her private letters were destroyed after her death, and nobody even really knows what she looked like. Out of her very large family, she’s the only one who never had a portrait done, except for one brother who was apparently ‘developmentally delayed’, to use a modern term. Rumor has it Jane may have been (gulp) ugly, and the family didn’t want to waste good money on a portrait to memorialize that.
                In any case, Jane probably preferred the anonymity. She was a very private lady. But that’s all right, because now she has a Facebook page!
You know what else? When I found out Jane had a Facebook page, I checked to see if one of my other long-dead favorite authors might have one too, and she did. Georgette Heyer, the icon of Regency romances, who refused to give interviews and once famously said, “My private life concerns no one but myself and my family,” now has a Facebook page. Guess what, Georgette? Your private life concerns all of us now.