Jane Austen is probably more popular today than at any time since she lived and died in the early 1800′s. She wrote only six novels, the best known being Pride and Prejudice, yet her influence is worldwide and profound.
What can explain Austen’s enduring appeal? How does an almost penniless spinster from the English Regency Era engender such devotion among modern audiences? As Lionel Trilling once said, responses to Austen’s work are nearly as interesting and important as the work itself. Modern day fans love her “cool elegance” and “casual intimacy”. She documents the relationships of the landed gentry with ultrasensitive social and moral antennae. Her ability to point out all manner of vanity, snobbery, and self-deception exposes the vulnerability of her characters and makes them immensely understandable and seemingly contemporary. Her smart and strong-willed heroines like Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse are easy for 21st century women to relate to. And consistent with the tone of today’s popular culture, Jane sounds downright snarky at times. “Pictures of perfection as you know, make me sick & wicked.”
As the original social networker, we believe that games inspired by Austen are ideal for Facebook and other modern platforms that promote discovery and sharing. At Legacy, we’re humbled by the opportunity to create these games, made possible through a wonderful partnership with the BBC Worldwide. We feel an obligation to Janeites the world over, to reflect the dazzling satire and density of Jane Austen, while at the same time hopefully introducing new audiences to her playful pleasures. Please let us know how you think we are doing.