Monday, 17 November 2008

Anatomy of a Janeite - the results are in!

In June I blogged about the Jane Austen Survey being conducted by Jeanne Kiefer. The results are in! Here is the opening of Kiefer's summary:

What is a Janeite? If someone had asked me that a year ago, I would have blithely reeled off a description of the “typical” Austen enthusiast. After all, as a life-long admirer of the author, I’d rubbed elbows with hundreds of fellow fans at countless Jane-oriented gatherings. But were my assumptions accurate? I had some doubts. As a professional researcher, I knew that anecdotal encounters do not constitute valid data.

In 2008 a prime opportunity arose for taking a more systematic look at this interesting community of Austen readers. The theme for the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) annual meeting was to be “The Legacy of Jane Austen.” Believing that Jane’s greatest legacy is her devoted readership, I decided to find out as much as possible about this group.

Click here to read the summary of the survey: Jane Austen Survey 2008

The survery results really surprised me - particularly that a large majority of participants did not major in English Lit (I guess that was a stereotype I expected) and the higher education achieved by percentage of participants (really exciting) and the percentage of liberal v. conservative participants. It's really worth a read!

Pic: Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen from: Indie London's Becoming Jane Gallery

4 comments:

Rachel said...

Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for this post Michelle.
I think that the:
"Overall, the top 10 career fields were: Education, Business administration (manager/HR/secretary, etc.), Business services/worker/retail, Library/archivist, Finance, Science/engineering, Writing/publishing, Medical, Arts, Law and IT." analysis is astonishing- what a range!!

I didnt think that the multitude of liberal, feminist attitudes was particularly shocking on the other hand!

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Sorry about that deleted comment. It was full of 'fascinating this and that' which kind of hit off Rs.

Awesome, isn't it! You're so right - the feminist attitudes were no suprise!

Despite Jane's famous words, I was surprised at the low turn-out for Emma as favourite heroine. Although I must admit I voted her as my #2.

Mariana said...

This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing the results, I’ve almost forgot about this survey.

I’m glad to see there are other Janeites preferring the biographies: top choices Tomalin’s “Jane Austen, A Life” and Spence’s “Becoming Jane Austen”

...and sorry Michelle, for my votes helped Persuasion/ Anne Elliot to steal Emma’s second place :)

I like very much the last paragraph: "There is only one thing that connects everyone in this group – we all have a special place in our heart for Jane. And in my view, that is the most important part of the anatomy of a Janeite"