There are certain things that I have always kept private about myself, that I only share with close friends and family. For my whole life, I have always been spiritual and would say that I have a sixth sense. This trait runs in the family, so it was no surprise to them when I told my mother at the age of five that I remembered my other families, houses, and clothes. Essentially, I was telling my mother that I remembered my past lives. I know some people out there don’t believe in reincarnation, but the truth is the truth. Energy can not be created or destroyed, and when we die, our energy, our soul, is transfered to another body. Unfortunately, to this day, I can not remember every detail of a life or all of the lives that I have ever had, but some are very vivid. It is my most vivid life and the one I am most proud of that I call attention to now. Yes, I am the reincarnation of Jane Austen.
Why am I sharing these private facts about myself to you now, you wonder? Well, this announcement is in triumphant concurrence with another major proclamation. I am now legally allowed and advised to share with you that my lawsuit against seven major publishing houses has finally been processed and brought to court. I will be charging Random House, Quirk Books, Penguin, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Hachette Book Group, and Simon & Schuster with copyright infringement, unlawful use of characters, plots, and settings in publications of so-called “original literature,” and wrongful seizure of personal property.
First, let me explain what the charges mean, one by one.
The charge of copyright infringement refers to the publication and sale of my novels, writings, and letters without my permission. I like to refer to my different incarnations as “rounds” in this eternal life cycle, as opposed to “lives,” and from here on, I will speak of my round as Jane Austen in the third person. Since my round as Jane, and her death in 1817, manuscripts of my novels, both complete and unfinished, as well as personal papers have been published without credit to myself or to my estate. This is understandable, since for all intents and purposes I was deceased. So, of course, I needed to explain all of this to the unknowing swindlers at the publishing houses. In meetings two years ago with the publishers named above, I requested respectfully and cordially to be given the copyright to six of my novels and ten pieces of unfinished works and personal papers as well as to be reimbursed the royalties owed to Jane and me for the publication of said works since Jane’s death. I specifically asked for royalties to Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, since these books were published after Jane’s death in July of 1817 and we therefore have not yet seen a red cent garnered from the fruit of Jane’s labors! Hachette Book Group at least heard me out, but declined to hand over any legal rights to the copyrights. Random House representatives backed away out of the room and locked their office doors until I left, Quirk Books had a secretary escort me to the elevator, Penguin personnel just laughed, Simon & Schuster called me a hippie-dippie fool, Sourcebooks said they had “no comment,” and HarperCollins just called security. So, with the support of my family, I began to pursue legal action.
Second, I am charging the publishers with unlawful use of characters, plots, and settings in publications of so-called “original literature.” By this charge, I refer to the use of characters like Mr. Darcy, Emma, the Bennet sisters, et cetera, plots of my six novels, and settings such as Pemberley, Longbourn, and Northanger Abbey. These are all unique creations conceived and penned by Jane and as such should not be used in other works of fiction without permission of and compensation for the original creator, Miss. Jane Austen.
Novels published within the past few decades such as Elinor and Marianne by Emma Tennant, Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange, and the most abhorrent, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith have capitalized on Jane’s ideas. These authors, among many others, are reaping the benefits of Jane’s creativity and passing off these novels that they have taken liberties with as being “in the spirit” of Jane’s authorship and style. I beg to differ. First of all, Mr Darcy would never dream of keeping a diary, a womanly pursuit. Second, I find it presumptuous of these authors to assume that they can either improve upon Jane’s original masterpieces or believe that they can situate themselves in her frame of mind to make fantastical and wild stories up about how characters would continue their lives.
Furthermore, I intend to sue for the rights to all of said characters, plots, and settings, as well as the copyright to my novels and unfinished manuscripts, so that I might have the sole authority in altering, amending, and creating sequels and connected books to those works already published and or discovered amongst Jane’s papers. Personally, the Zombie business is disturbing, and the sequel books are plain rubbish. Authors take warning from Jane and me; do not assume you know how we would think. I already plan to have Elizabeth Darcy begin an affair with her sister’s husband, Mr. Wickham, after finding out that Darcy’s arrogance, title, and money were simple compensation for his lack of skills in the bedroom, and for Mary Bennet to run off with Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter because, yes, the two have been secret lovers since meeting at Charlotte and William Collins’s vicarage.
Finally, under the charge of wrongful seizure of personal property, I will be suing said publishers for publishing a series of personal and private letters of Jane’s between various acquaintances, the bulk being to her sister Cassandra, as well as unfinished manuscripts of works such as The Watsons and Sanditon. How would you like it is someone published your diary? Your private letters (or in today’s context, e-mails)? Read your unfinished and yet-to-be perfected or spell-checked stories? Now you know how we feel.
In addition, these seizures of Jane’s property and subsequent publishing of private writings has given people the idea that they know me, or to be precise, Jane. This has lead to a plethora of literary defamation in novels such as the Jane Austen Mystery Series by Stephanie Barron, in which I supposedly traipsed around, solving murders from London to Bath. I’ve never been able to stomach the sight of blood and personally, how could Jane even have had time to chase villains around London while trying to finish masterpieces such as Emma and Pride and Prejudice? Obviously people are getting the wrong idea about Jane’s character and use of her free time because they feel that they are acquainted with her from her letters and writings.
Jane and I have worked hard to get where we are today, both professionally and spiritually. Not all rounds of my life cycle have been glamorous. In Rome, I was a merchant’s wife who ended up as a human Roman candle in 64 AD after Nero went a little berserk on the Christian community. In the Renaissance, I was an illiterate Italian kitchen maid who was thrown out of the house and forced into prostitution for stealing cheese from the larder. Jane Austen by far was my greatest round, and I hope in this one, I can live up to her. So, like I said, I’ve worked hard to get here, and I refuse to let Jane and her memory, hard work, and rewards be libeled, abused, and withheld.
I would love it if I had all of your support.
Leave a comment below to sign a virtual petition in support of my case!
If all goes well in the States, I will be able to move on with my charges against film producers and screenwriters as well as publishers in the UK.
Jane and I really appreciate your support!