Rejecting Jane

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The 'Rejecting Jane' cover of Issue No.28 of Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

"Rejecting Jane" is the title of a 2007 article by British author David Lassman.[1][2] The article, which was published in Issue 28 of Jane Austen's Regency World magazine,[3] is a critique of the publishing industry through their inadvertent rejection of Jane Austen.[4][5]

The idea[edit]

Using the pseudonym 'Alison Laydee' - a play on Austen's original nom de plume "A Lady"[5] - Lassman sent out the opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion to several major publishers and literary agents, with different titles but only minor changes to the text, such as character names and locations. The resultant article chronicles the fact that all but one of the publishers and agents failed to recognise her works, including Penguin Books and J. K. Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury, with the vast majority rejecting out of hand this apparent attempt by one of the world’s greatest known authors to gain a publishing deal. This despite the fact that one of the most famous opening lines in English literature, Pride and Prejudice’s "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" was left intact.[5]


On its publication the article created worldwide media coverage,[1][5][6][7][8][9] which saw its author appear on radio and television programmes across the globe, including American news programmes and TV talk shows such as Good Morning America.[7]

Lassman's success[edit]

In June 2013, Lassman became a published author himself, having co-written the first in a series of books revolving around a character named Jack Swann, The Regency Detective.[10] The book was published by The Mystery Press, the crime fiction imprint of The History Press


  1. ^ a b "Crazy for Jane film premiere at Austen festival in Bath" Retrieved 1 April 2009
  2. ^ 'How literary hoax turned into a global story for Austen fans’. Western Daily Press. 12 September 2008
  3. ^ Jane Austen's Regency World magazine. Issue 28 July/August 2007, pgs 6-10
  4. ^ Morris, Stephen. "The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers' pride and prejudice." The Guardian. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d De Bruxelles, Simon. "How A Laydee showed that First Impressions really are misleading." The Times. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  6. ^ Morris, Stephen."The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers' pride and prejudice." The Guardian, 19 July 2007. p3. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  7. ^ a b Jane Austen in Modern Day. ABC News. July 20, 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  8. ^ "Publishers fail to spot plagiarized Jane Austen" Reuters. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009
  9. ^ "No Censure for Stolen Words" New York Times. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  10. ^ "Jane Austen hoaxer writes his own book - and this one's been accepted" Western Daily Press retrieved 28 June 2013