In Search of the Perfect Man: Jane Austen’s Heroes

Those of us with an affinity for Jane Austen’s novels—the sly wit, the razor-sharp social commentary, the forgiving empire-waist dresses—also have a soft spot for Austen’s leading men. But while these half-dozen gentlemen all share a strong sense of honor and an affinity for bright, independent-minded women, they aren’t interchangeable. So which Austen hero is right for you? Continue reading

Dating Profiles of the Literary Lovelorn

lady with lettersAttention, bluestockings: Raise your hand if you’ve ever fallen in love with a fictional character. Really? Us too. It’s not hard to do when you’re privy to the deepest thoughts and feelings of another human being’s soul…at least, as they’re printed on the pages of a book! But imagine a world in which your favorite literary characters hadn’t had much luck meeting a good man or woman with whom to share their lives. In this day and age, how would they go about finding a soulmate? Continue reading

28 Lessons We’ve Learned from Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice 1895 edition illustrated by Hugh ThomsonJanuary 28 marks the anniversary of Pride and Prejudice’s publication in 1813, a cultural milestone that almost never was thanks to a dismissive publisher who rejected Jane Austen’s manuscript First Impressions in 1797. Sixteen years later, Thomas Egerton bought the rights to Pride and Prejudice for just £110…and the rest, as they say, is literary history. So today, the twenty-eighth day of January, in honor of P&P’s birthday, Bas Bleu is sharing our list of twenty-eight life lessons we learned from Miss Austen, Lizzie Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and, yes, even Mr. Wickham. Continue reading

Q&A: Green 3

Cardinal scarfAt Bas Bleu, while books are our passion, the pages of our catalog also are sprinkled with reading accessories, paper products, and whatever other bookish gifts tickle our bluestockinged fancy. Recently, we’ve added several cozy items from Green 3, a Midwestern apparel and home goods company whose sustainable products are conceived, designed, and manufactured entirely in the United States. Their scarves, blankets, and tees have become fast favorites with Bas Bleu’s customers, so this week we sat down with Green 3 co-owner Jim Martin to learn more about this unique company. Continue reading

On Jane

Jane_Austen,_from_A_Memoir_of_Jane_Austen_(1870)

Portrait of Jane Austen, based on a sketch by her sister Cassandra, from A Memoir of Jane Austen by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh.

Jane Austen, the author of six of the wittiest, most enduring, socially astute novels of Western literature, was a quintessential bluestocking. It’s no wonder that Bas Bleu and its literary customers are among her biggest fans. And we’re not alone in our admiration. Jane Austen’s novels are among the most widely read and adapted books in print today, inspiring films, television shows, stage plays, book adaptations, even erotica. 2013 has been a particularly banner year for the author and her legion of fans, thanks to bicentennial celebrations of Pride and Prejudice’s publication. Continue reading

Mothers Dear and Mommies Dearest

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and to celebrate Bas Bleu’s editors compiled a list of some of fiction’s most memorable moms. Several are noble, others are downright notorious, yet all are legendary in their own right. Check out our picks below, then head to the comments section to tell us about your favorite literary mothers. (WARNING: plot spoilers ahead!) Continue reading