In time for holiday giving, Life in the Country should find a pleasant reception. Pairing the prose and letters of Jane Austen (in quotation format) with the fine artistic narrative of her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, Life in the Country provides visuals and words that both entertain and entrance. Accompanying essays provide nice overviews of Jane Austen; silhouettes in general and Austen-Leigh’s work within the genre; and a concise discourse on Austen-Leigh by his great-granddaughter Joan Austen-Leigh. Serious scholars will be able to delve deeper into various topics thanks to the short bibliography. (Though heavily centered on Austen scholarship, the list does include such as Sue McKechnie’s British Silhouette Artists, a must-have reference for those interested in this art form.)
We all know that Jane Austen’s first attempt at getting published [her book was First impressions, later to become Pride & Prejudice), was a humbling experience ~ an outright rejection from the publisher her father had approached; her second book, Susan (Northanger Abbey), sat on a publisher’s shelf for 10 years before she bought it back, and it was not actually published until after her death. So Austen was familiar with rejection…but she went on revising and writing and we are all the better because she persisted.
Today I see a blog post from the Guardian.co.uk on the “Fine Art of Literary Rejection Letters”by Jean Hannah Edelstein on her own history as an editor writing more than 1000 rejection letters and her discovery of a book to be published by Bill Shapiro (author of Other People’s Love Letters) titled Other People’s Rejection Letters [click here for the author’s request for letters, and here for his letter outlining the book]. See Edelstein’s article for some excellent and humorous comments from rejectees, and this blog link to Literary Rejections on Display where you will find all manner of the polite and impolite “no thank you.”