(From Lisa Daniels, TODAY Correspondent)
Neutrality has always been a cornerstone of journalism. So let me confess: in my Jane Austen report on Sunday's Weekend Today, I was not neutral. WATCH VIDEO Truth be told, I am a Jane Austen die-hard fan. A junkie. In fact, junkie doesn't quite capture the extent of my obsession. What's the comparable term to a Trekkie? Maybe an Austen-ite. If that's the case, I am guilty.
What makes this story on Jane Austen so timely is this week's auction of "what is believed to be" the only painting of Jane Austen. Christie's believes the portrait could fetch a staggering one million dollars. But there is a catch. Some critics believe, the painting is *not* of Jane, but rather, of another young lady from a different time period. With no certain proof either way, the marketplace will have to determine: is it the real Jane or someone else?
But perhaps most intriguing about Jane Austen is the influence a young lady had on countless generations. Her books were written in another century. The language is old-fashioned. The concerns obsolete. Yet, Austen's books continue to soar in popularity. Her books have been mega-hits on the big screen: Pride and Prejudice (how many versions are there to the nearest hundred?), Sense and Sensibility, MansfieldPark, to name a few. We tackle that question as well. Why have her books struck a chord in the hearts of so many readers, even today?
I hope you enjoy our Jane Austen report as much as I enjoyed writing it. I leave you with one of my favorite sayings from Jane: "I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them." I laugh every time. Do enjoy our story Sunday morning on TODAY.