Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jane Austen Gets a Makeover

Every now and then there are whispers that the book industry is getting as shallow and superficial as so many others. But it’s usually only, as I said, a whisper. Just a hint. Then, yesterday, a slap in the face that brings it all home: this is no whisper, no hint. This is a bad reality show, just waiting to happen.

The problem, according to Helen Trayler, managing director of Wordsworth Editions, is that Jane Austen, author of such beloved works as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Mansfield Park, “was not much of a looker.” She was, in fact, so little of a looker that Trayler and her crew are in the midst of giving ol’ Jane a makeover for a new edition of a memoir by Austen’s nephew.

“I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover,” Trayler said. “Sadly people do. If you look more attractive, you just stand out more.”

The BBC piece is here.


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