Thank you so much for welcoming me to My Jane Austen Book Club today, Maria Grazia, and for kicking off the blog tour! I am honored and delighted to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about what inspired my recently published book, Jane Austen Speaks: About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits.
My name is Maria-Emilia de Medeiros, and I began my lifelong love for Jane Austen when I was twelve years old. An entire new world opened up before me when first I laid eyes upon the first pages of Emma. In the many years since that day, I have eagerly learned everything I could about Miss Austen and her world. Lately, I have been inspired to write about it.
How many times have you ever heard a Jane Austen fan wonder aloud, “What would Jane Austen think about this?” Perhaps you have had such thoughts yourself. This book was born out of my own frequent musings about what the illustrious English novelist, born in the late eighteenth century into a proper Anglican clergyman’s family, would think about all manner of phenomena in the modern day world. If someone could “channel” Jane Austen’s spirit, what would she think? What would she notice? Most importantly, what would she have to say about it? Would Miss Austen approve of internet dating, for example? (Perhaps she would…for Mr. Collins!)
This book is my own lighthearted attempt to allow Miss Austen to voice what might have been her “own” opinions on modern day matters, based on a knowledge of her life, work, society, and the prevailing social morés inherent in Western culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is not at all academic in nature—bits of imagination and whimsy have been liberally sprinkled among the facts. It is my dearest hope that readers will detect the often humorous and mildly satirical tone in Jane Austen’s words and be entertained by her thoughts on all sorts of topics, ranging from modern day fashion to computers. I believe that any true Janeite would agree with me that although Jane Austen may no longer be living on earth today, her spirit is alive, well, and most definitely with us.
It was a particular challenge for me to incorporate a balance between Miss Austen’s sharp, dry wit and her wisdom as I was writing this book. At times, it felt like quite a daunting task, for as everyone knows, these are huge shoes to fill. I can only hope that I did her proud, even in a very small way.
In addition to Miss Austen’s wide-ranging reflections upon her life, novels, and the modern world, a section of the book is devoted to teatime and other social visits featuring a number of heavenly “guests” as well as recipes for your use and enjoyment. You can plan your very own Jane Austen dinner party, too! I hope you will also enjoy the many illustrations which accompany the text.
Please enjoy this brief excerpt from Jane Austen Speaks entitled “Tattoos: Hideous Disfigurement or High Fashion?”
While it is certainly the truth that I have been shocked most excessively by many fads and fashions during my observations of earthly Society over the past couple of centuries, nothing is more scandalous to me than the modern fashion regarding tattoos. In contemporary Society, people from all walks of life sport tattoos in the most garish colours all over their bodies. Not only have I seen them on the limbs, but on the head, neck, and even the countenance. Both gentlemen AND ladies have tattoos, and they are most proud of them! In my estimation, tattoos are best left to rough seafaring men from Portsmouth or Liverpool, or perhaps the tribal folk indigenous to Papua New Guinea.
The very idea that some ladies are simply covered with tattoos makes me feel rather faint, I must confess. What a hideous sight in a fine gown, especially a wedding gown! Tattoos look like foul stains upon the bride’s arms, neck, and back juxtaposed against the delicate white lace, silk taffeta, and satin fabrics. One would think that the bride would make some sort of effort to cover the offending tattoos with long sleeves, or else apply some sort of cosmetic to make the skin appear its normal flesh colour, would not one?
Lord, how I laughed and laughed when first I beheld young ladies bearing tattoos all over their bodies with quotes from my own novels, or perhaps the silhouette of my countenance, or some other image derived from one of my works. I laughed until the horror set in, Dear Readers. Besides the multitude of quotes, I have seen tattoos of my portrait, Mr. Darcy’s top hat, a great estate labeled as Pemberley, a likeness of Mr. Colin Firth, and many more images carved into the flesh on ladies’ rib cages, wrists, collarbones, backs, ankles, and other spots that I simply cannot, in good taste, mention. (I wonder how Mr. Firth bears the knowledge that there exist young ladies, wholly unbeknownst to him, who are walking about somewhere on the planet with his likeness carved into their bodies? Indeed, it certainly makes me shudder to think that people with whom I am not even acquainted bear my likeness somewhere upon their persons.) Should I be flattered or scandalised? While I am sure these ladies are having their flesh permanently incised to shew their admiration for me and my novels, how sorry I am that they have chosen to mutilate their God-given bodies for such a purpose.
Dear Readers, it is my fondest wish that you will enjoy Jane Austen Speaks About Life, the Modern World, & Heavenly Pursuits as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please enter your comments below in order to be entered for the international eBook giveaway! I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you once again most sincerely to the most gracious Maria Grazia for welcoming me here today and for kicking off the blog tour for Jane Austen Speaks! I am extremely humbled and grateful to be your guest.
Maria-Emilia de Medeiros
About the author
Maria Emilia de Medeiros is a teacher, writer, artist, and lifelong Janeite. She read her first Jane Austen novel at the tender age of twelve and has never looked back. In addition to reading, playing the pianoforte, and embroidery, she is fond of dogs, long country walks, and drawing. Jane Austen Speaks is her first published book about Jane Austen.
About the book
In JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS, author Maria Emilia de Medeiros “channels” the great Jane Austen from her heavenly home and allows her the opportunity to speak her mind about the modern world nearly two centuries after her passing. Readers will gain a healthy dose of wise counsel and witty advice for leading a sensible, well-mannered twenty-first century life. Jane Austen’s heavenly exploits (not to mention her recipes) will both entertain and delight you. At times serious, drily humorous, or even a bit naughty, JANE AUSTEN SPEAKS is a necessary addition to every Janeite’s library. Dear Readers, if you have ever asked yourself, “What would Jane Austen think?” you have indeed come to the right place.
Contact Information: Barton Cottage Press