From Masterpiece Theater’s “The Complete Jane Austen” Web page.
Masterpiece Theater brings the complete works of Jane Austen to television at a moment when interest in the author—both her works and her quiet, early-19th century life—may never have been greater. Since the 1940s, full-length film productions of Jane Austen’s novels have been turned out at a steady rate of three to seven per decade. Today, Austen “mania” is everywhere, from two new Hollywood features inspired by her life and work, to Jane’s image featured on the cover of Newsweek, to MySpace and YouTube. Her novels and books about her novels crowd the bestseller lists. Nearly two hundred years after the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen still has enormous appeal for contemporary readers and viewers. What accounts for the continuing popularity of Jane Austen? Why Jane, and why now?
To read the rest of the article, please visit: Why Jane? Why Now? (Link Opens a PDF)
I think it's pretty amazing that in the four years since this was first posted, not much as changed (except that MySpace is now replaced by Facebook). Jane still holds an enormous appeal to men and women of all age groups and backgrounds around the world. I think part of the appeal is that no matter what stage you are at in your life, you can find some bit of connection with a Jane Austen character.