Dr Marina Cano recently joined the English section at the School of Culture & Communication, University of Limerick from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
Once upon a time I took a plane to Scotland. The plan was to stay for one year, but I ended up staying for eight years. During this time, I completed an MLitt in Women, Writing and Gender and a PhD in English at the University of St Andrews. Then, I taught English Literature at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of St Andrews, where I also worked in curriculum development—i.e. I dealt with and advised about new modules and programmes of study.
Eight years after that original plane trip, I took another plane, bound to Ireland this time; and I am now really excited about teaching English at UL, especially as I get to teach my great passion: Jane Austen. Since time immemorial, my research (and my world) has revolved around Jane Austen—probably since I read Pride and Prejudice aged 16. This long-standing relationship is now about to materialise into my first book Jane Austen and Performance (forthcoming, Palgrave January 2017). Working on this project has been really exciting, because I got my hands on a lot of archival, little-known materials: from suffragette novels and pageants that appropriate Austen to school and amateur theatricals based on her novels. I also studied Austen-related performances in Scotland and America, and got to open boxes and scrapbooks full of old photographs, playbills, postcards and periodical clippings at the Scottish Theatre Archive, Glasgow.
I also got to talk to people who are as crazy about Austen as I am: these were the over 300 people who answered my survey on Austen and fan fiction in 2015. They very generously explained to me why they read Jane Austen—especially when they quarrel with their partners, when they cannot stand their co-workers or simply when they want to start off their day on the right foot.
More generally, my work belongs in the area of women’s literature and the long nineteenth century. I have also written about Elizabeth Gaskell, periodical literature and gender theory. And because I am a transnational product myself, I believe in establishing connections between writers, especially women writers, in and out of the British tradition. In this sense, I am a member of the European-funded project “Travelling Texts 1790-1914: Transnational Reception of Women’s Writing at the Fringes of Europe,” which looks at what nineteenth-century women across Europe were reading and writing—who was reading what and where?
And speaking of establishing connections, the Irish Jane Austen project still awaits me, as does my recently discovered Limerick author, Kate O’Brien…
For more information about my book Jane Austen and Performance, please click here