Praying with Jane Blog Tour: My Changed Relationship with Jane

The Praying with Jane Blog Tour kicks off TODAY!! We have a wonderful line up of bloggers who love Jane Austen and Regency fiction! We start off on Jane Austen’s World blog today with my interview with Vic Sanborn in the article, “My Changed Relationship with Jane”:

Inquiring readers,

It is my privilege to kick off the blog tour of Rachel Dodge’s book, Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen on Jane Austen’s World blog. (See calendar of the tour below.) Jane wrote masterfully insightful, funny, witty, as well as unflattering and acerbic observations of family members, acquaintances, and village characters in her private letters and novels, but, as Ms. Dodge describes in her book, she was also a religious, wise, talented, and complex woman who was hard to pigeon hole. Rachel’s book discusses Jane’s faith and rich inner life. Below, find my discussion with Ms. Dodge, who gave much thought to answering my questions.

Q: How did writing and researching Praying with Jane change your insights about Jane as a person and a writer?

I definitely feel like I understand Jane better as a result of writing and researching Praying with Jane. I spent days, weeks, and months pouring over her letters and novels; examining and researching her prayers; and reading through the Austen family papers and memoirs. Each day when I put my research materials away, I was tired but happy because I felt as if I had spent the day with Jane! Her words were in my mind constantly. I listened to the cadence of her prayers, reflecting on her words and the meaning behind them. I studied her life and her faith, learning from her family’s home life and spiritual traditions. I even incorporated some of her habits into my own life, such as writing down my own prayers each morning in my journal.

I put Praying with Jane together in a subtle, chronological order, which gave me the sense that I was watching her life unfold as I wrote. I saw her through her father’s eyes in his letter when she was born. I pictured walking up the lane to church, kneeling for prayers, reciting prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, and gathering with the family to read in the evening. I saw the changes that occurred in her life, from the Steventon years of a full house brimming with children to the Chawton years when it was just the ladies at home. I viewed her from the perspective of her nieces and nephews in their letters and memoirs, , with whom she was “the general favourite . . . her ways with them being so playful, and her long circumstantial stories so delightful” (Austen-Leigh). I read Cassandra’s letters about Jane’s final days here on Earth as though I was sitting beside her bed. I included an epilogue in the book called “A Lasting Legacy” because I wanted to honor the profound impact her life and writing has had on me and countless others.

Q: How did your research change your personal feelings towards Jane?

In my academic work, I’ve always referred to Jane Austen by her last name, but after working on the manuscript for this book for several months, she soon became Jane to me. She was no longer a famous author; she was a person. [Continue reading the interview here…]

Blog Tour Dates:

October 31 – Praying with Jane, My changed Relationship with JaneJane Austen’s World, Vic Sanborn

November 1 – So Little Time, So Much to Read!, Candy Morton

November 2 – Laura’s Reviews, Laura Gerold

November 3 – Burton Reviews, Marie Burton

November 4 – Sofia Rose’s Place, Sophia Rose

November 5 – Jane Austen in Vermont, Deborah Barnum

November 6 – Calico Critic, Laura Hartness

November 7 – A Bookish Way of Life, Nadia Anguiano

November 8 – Diary of an Eccentric, Anna Horner

November 9 – Becoming, Nichole Parks

November 10 – My Jane Austen Book Club, Maria Grazia

November 11 – My Love for Jane Austen, Sylvia Chan

November 12 – Laughing with Lizzie, Sophie Andrews

November 13 – Faith, Science, Joy … and Jane Austen, Brenda Cox

We hope you’ll follow along each day with these creative bloggers and share your favorites with your friends! Some will be hosting book giveaways, so you can even enter for a chance to win a book for yourself or someone special.

Need a copy of the book? You can order Praying with Jane here.

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