Jane Austen, whose lineage can be traced to King Henry II of England, redefined courtship rules and turned medieval legends inside out by celebrating bonds between sisters, mirroring knightly friendships. Austen’s novels continue to enthuse new generations of readers, writers and scholars, while her juvenilia and correspondence echo contemporary women who enjoy self-publishing fan fiction, blogging, posting, and tweeting personal anecdotes about life. In the spirit of fan fiction, the Quills! literary game series was made in her honour, which includes Austen among her characters, as she too enjoyed playing games, which were used in her writings to reveal aspects of human nature.
Jane Austen, 1873, Unknown; The Rice Portrait, 1788-90; Jane Austen, Cassandra Austen; from Wikimedia Commons.
For 2-4 players, suggested ages 13+
Cooperative, social, playful and dramatically fun!
Imagine a time when people collected butterflies, wrote with feather quill pens by candlelight and wore lace trimmed muslin fashions. Gather Hannah’s windblown notes and pages from Regency Era books written by Jane Austen to help complete a manuscript in her honour.
Help replenish Hannah’s inkwell, rescue quotes and fact checking questions while gathering all of the missing book pages to become a ‘Feather in Hannah’s Cap,’ ‘Editor of Hannah’s Next Book,’ or ‘Plume Laureate’ of the game. When Butterfly Story Cards are dramatically shared aloud, a unique narrative between the writers begins to emerge that inspires the imagination of the players. The pressed butterflies symbolize the transformation of the heroines and us as players in the game.
The Quills! Regency Edition game set features Butterfly Story Cards for seven heroines to exchange amidst a lace trimmed desk blotter play mat. Additional game elements include rules of play, ribbon roses and inkwell feathers with a drawstring muslin bag.
Each bespoke game is made to order, uniquely crafted by hand and signed as a playable work of art. No special assembly required.
What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking . . . Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write.
A Room of One’s Own
Queen Elizabeth I, Nicholas Hilliard, n.d., Anonymous; Jane Austen, 1873, Unknown; Queen Victoria of England, 1845, Alexander Melville; from Wikimedia Commons. All other photos by Janine Fron ©2018.
Jane Austen, the most celebrated British writer after William Shakespeare, began to enjoy her own wave of success that continued its cresting beyond the later part of Queen Victoria’s reign, when her nephew J.E. Austen-Leigh published A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869). Austen trailblazed a pathway for the future of women writers, whose work could not exist without her significant contributions. Some of Austen’s notable fans include: George IV, Queen Victoria, Lord Alfred Tennyson, E.M. Forster, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf, Thornton Wilder, and Ernest Hemingway.
Without those forerunners, Jane Austen and the Brontës and George Eliot could no more have written than Shakespeare could have written without Marlowe, or Marlowe without Chaucer, or Chaucer without those forgotten poets who paved the ways and tamed the natural savagery of the tongue. For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.
A Room of One’s Own
“The beautiful and the sublime” . . . during the 17th-18th century, pleasure walks became quite popular among the leisure class and encompassed rugged landscapes mixed with classical architectural ruins that created an imagined, framed living picture in the observer’s midst. Jane Austen memorably featured pleasure walks, tours and picnics in her novels, including Pride & Prejudice and Emma, with notable mention of the picturesque in Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park.