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I chose to create my multigenre research project on Jane Austen because I find it fascinating that an author who was popular in her own time has managed to remain popular for over 200 years, despite all the changes in society and culture.On a more personal note, Jane Austen is my literary comfort food.In a survey, professionals such as doctors, psychologist and laymen predicted that a small proportion of a population (1-3%) would harm others if ordered to do so.
What is it about her novels that inspires such a devoted following?When I read her novels, I know that I will meet interesting characters, I will laugh and perhaps even cry, and I will close the book after reading a happy ending.Before I began researching this topic, I knew a great deal about Jane Austen because I have been a fan of her novels for about thirteen years and I read several Jane Austen publications, mostly personal blogs created by other fans.I also learned how Austen's novels influenced the development of the novel as a serious form of literature. I am used to thinking of her work as classic literature, always a part of some agreed-upon literary canon.To learn that Austen's work has only lately been well regarded or deemed worthy of serious literary investigation was a revelation.Multigenre research projects also allow for hyperlinking and embedding information, creating a complex web of information and intertextual resources. This site as a model for student multigenre research projects.If you explore the links in the sidebar to the left, you can learn more about Jane Austen, whom I like to call Aunt Jane, and I hope the project will also inspire you as you create your own projects.For example, her work was not taken seriously by literary critics until over 100 years after her death, and in her own day, her novels were viewed as little more than entertaining fluff by the literary establishment.I was most interested to discover that even as late as 1993, literary critics were dismissive of Austen's influence on contemporary writers.I think Austen would be surprised by her success, and because she wrote so often to her sister, Cassandra, I researched some letters written to her sister and composed a letter in which Jane describes how she felt upon seeing into the future and discovering her popularity in the 21st century.My third artifact is a collage of images displaying Austen's influence in contemporary culture, including images from film and fan-created objects.