A Multimedia Exhibition Review, by Maureen E. Mulvihill
“The Austen show at The Morgan Library & Museum transports its visitors to an Austen paradiso – pure Janeite heaven. Down here on terra firma, we find the show a decided victory of librarian over cybrarian. The show’s impressive attendance – always a gauge of tastes and curatorial planning – affirms the continuing value of rare books and manuscripts in today’s fast culture of wireless downloads and instant communications. The Kindle will have its users, but the physical artefact of book and manuscript continues to summon respect. Those who viewed the Austen show in The Morgan’s new Englehard Gallery were struck by the beauty of the exhibition’s design and its cultural authority. Austen cultists were refreshed, passion renewed; novitiates were captured by Jane”.
”The variety of the editions was impressive; for example, the curators offered two different editions of the first of Austen’s six published novels, Sense and Sensibility. A Novel in Three Volumes. By a Lady (London, 1811). Visitors viewed the 1813 edition printed for Austen by Roworth and published by Egerton, with the tipped in title page of the 1811 first edition, as well as the decoratively-bound 1899 edition (London: George Allen), introduced by Joseph Jacobs and famously illustrated by Chris Hammond. The novel’s original 1811 title page is important as it shows Austen’s guarded approach to authorship and her high regard for privacy, especially as publishing women writers continued to be ridiculed by the English literary establishment as cheeky scribblers (yes, even as late as 1811). All of Austen’s novels were published anonymously. Yet Austen admitted to her sister Cassandra, in a letter of 16 January 1796, “I write only for fame”. Evidently, the writer whom we know as Jane Austen had some unresolved and complex issues about her public identity.”
For those who have not visited the exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum: A brilliant multimedia review by Maureen E. Mulvihill about the “literary success of New York City’s 2009–2010 winter season”, full of information about the life, the character and the works of one of the most famous women writers: Jane Austen.
Captured by Jane - A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy. Maureen E. Mulvihill’s review is published on the website of the The Jane Austen Centre. Pictures and documentary films about Jane Austen are shown in the internet by the Morgan Library & Museum.