Jane Austen Sells, and Other News


On the Shelf

Rare Austen portrait up for auction

  • A portrait of Jane Austen—you know, the portrait, based on her sister’s sketch—has sold at auction for £135,000, which is actually somewhat below the estimate.
  • “I started to write books in 1982 because I thought I was everywoman,” (all evidence to the contrary) Martha Stewart says at Art Basel.
  • “Colin Wilson, the writer, who has died at eighty-two, suspected he was a genius; and there were some who agreed with him when in 1956, aged twenty-four, he published The Outsider, a somewhat portentous overview of existentialism and alienation.” Because no one does an obit like the Brits. 
  • John Waters on Christmas shopping: “I always give books. And I always ask for books. I think you should reward people sexually for getting you books. Don’t send a thank-you note, repay them with sexual activity. If the book is rare or by your favorite author or one you didn’t know about, reward them with the most perverted sex act you can think of. Otherwise, you can just make out.”