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Jane Austen News – Issue 22

The Jane Austen News - Romantic Novels

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

History Lessons Via Romantic Novels   
premade_historical_romance_Writing for the History News Network, Robert W. Thurston, Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, has proposed the idea that, rather than teachers and textbooks, a lot of the historical information many people learn nowadays comes from romance novels.

Sales of romance novels climbed to $1.08 billion in 2013 and continues to grow. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) found in a 2014 survey that 64 percent of readers went through at least one book a week. It’s not only women that are reading more historical romances either. Women comprise 78% of readers, but the men’s share has risen to the remaining 22%, up from just 7% in a 2002 survey.

Historical romances give us vital information on the everyday lives, customs, manners and important events of the eras in which they are set. Jane Austen for example teaches us that society was focused on marriage; that money today is not worth what it was back then (£10,000 a year? Peanuts today); and a whole host of other things. Romance novels, Thurston says, are undeserving of their frivolous reputation.

The vast and growing popularity of romances should not be cause for alarm; no one can stand at the ocean’s shore and make the tide retreat. Rather, the academy would do well to consider the influence of these books (more…)

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Jane Austen News – 13

Lizzie Bennet and Lydia Bennet from the online hit series.

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

A Mystery and A First Edition of Persuasion      

austen3An English teacher named Eleanor Capasso from Ayer-Shirley Regional High School in Massachusetts recently received a rather mysterious package. Opening the parcel Capasso found that the English department of the school had been sent what appears to be a first edition of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. It was a little tattered (as you can see) but that did nothing to lessen her excitement. She hurriedly got on the trail to find out more about it.

Capasso said the book was sent to the school by Alice B. Bantle. Bantle explained in the letter which accompanied the book that she had found it in a box of auction house “junk” in her mother’s garage. Bantle had read the inscription on the inside of the book, and seeing that the original owner was a woman named Lillian M. Flood who had won the book as a prize in May 1900 at Ayer High School, Bantle sent the book to the school in the hope that it could be reunited with the it’s rightful owners.

The owners are yet to be found, but Capasso is currently in the process of trying to trace the Flood family via the town’s record office.


Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today  
mr-darcy-cover(more…)

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Jane Austen News – 12

A house to rival Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

Reworked Pride and Prejudice Set To Top Summer Book Charts      
17-jane-austen.w245.h368In recent years, as part of a project that has paired six writers with Austen’s six novels and asked them to reimagine them for the twenty-first century, we’ve seen Alexander McCall Smith bring out Emma, Joanna Trollope write a new Sense and Sensibility, and Val McDermid setting Northanger Abbey at the Edinburgh Fringe. This summer it’s the turn of Curtis Sittenfeld who has taken what is arguably Austen’s best loved novel, Pride and Prejudice, and brought it a couple of hundred years forward in time; planting the Bennet clan in Cincinnati.

The new Pride and Prejudice book is called Eligible, and in it Lydia and Kitty are gym-obsessed, Mrs Bennet is a shopaholic and Elizabeth is a journalist. And the big issue in Eligible? There’s still a burning need to get married, but the other big problem is that of 40 year-old Lizzy and Jane’s ticking biological clocks and their desire for babies.

Whatever the various opinions may be of the new version of Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, one thing that most people can agree on is this: as everyone gets hold of their copy to see what the fuss is about, Eligible looks set to top the summer book charts.


The Illustrated Biography of Jane Austen  

Jane-Austen-ball(more…)

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Jane Austen News – 10

Pride and Prejudice bookmark

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

The Love and Friendship Trailer is Here!     
sevignybeckinsale2-xlargeWhit Stillman’s Jane Austen film adaptation, Love and Friendship, starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, is set to open the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 21st.

Great news! Even better, we can now finally see a trailer for the upcoming film, which is set to be released in the UK on the 27th of May, and you can find the latest official trailer here. We can hardly wait!


Staying In the Estate That Inspired Pride and Prejudice 
goodnestone-park-front-view-and-formal-gardens_0Rumor has it that Austen started writing Pride and Prejudice after a rejuvenating stay at Goodnestone Park; an English manor in Kent—and that a double wedding held at the mansion inspired the double weddings of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and of her sister Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley.

Now the estate will be available to stay in for the first time this coming July, and it gives guests the chance to step back into 18th-century England. It has 12-bedrooms, formal dining rooms, cozy drawing rooms, and, of course, a vast classic library!

It’s not cheap, but it is stunning! You can have a look at a few of the photos of the estate (more…)

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Mrs Bennet’s Round Robin, by Viv Cavallo

P&P-Mrs_Bennet_et_Philips

To all our dear neighbours in Hertfordshire...

What a wonderful year the Bennet family has enjoyed with three of my girls successfully married!

My darling Lydia, youngest of my five daughters is blissfully happy with her ‘dear Wickham’ as she calls him.  Just think of it – only sixteen years old, yet she was the first of my daughters to find a husband!   And such a man; he’s a dashing figure, always so courteous, so charming with a smile and compliment at the ready.  I remember when I admired a redcoat myself; indeed I still do at heart.  Lydia is such a lucky girl.

The next delightful news came when Jane, my eldest, was married to Mr Bingley.  I always said her beauty would be her fortune.  So when I heard that Netherfield Park was to be taken by a young gentleman of large property, I knew it would be an ideal opportunity for one of my girls.  I can reveal that it was a lucky idea of mine that brought Jane and dear Charles together!

When Bingley’s sisters invited her over for tea I insisted that she went on horseback rather than take the carriage, for I thought it likely to rain.  Then a bad cold kept her at Netherfield for some days, just as I had planned, and that was when they fell in love!   Mr Bingley (more…)

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Jane Austen Waxwork

Jane Austen Waxwork

We had a great time unveiling our new Jane Austen waxwork to the assembled media folk on Wednesday 9th of July.

L to R. Andrea Galer, Mark Richards, David Baldock, Jane Austen and Melissa Dring
L to R. Andrea Galer, Mark Richards, David Baldock, Jane Austen and Melissa Dring

Reaction was overwhelmingly positive when the curtains were parted. The waxwork is now on public display. Developed from a forensic portrait of the author by Melissa Dring, the waxwork has been over 2 years in the making. Members of the team behind her creation, especially brought together for the project, were in attendance at the event, – the internationally-renowned sculptor, an FBI-trained forensic artist and a Bafta and Emmy award-winning costume designer. (See their biographies below) The novels of Jane Austen are known throughout the world, her heroes and heroines have been brought to life in many adaptations, and the industry which has built up around her name is significant. So whilst people happily associate Jane Austen’s characters with the actors who portray them, perhaps most famously Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, there remains a real desire to possess a likeness of the writer herself.

Uncovering the Real Jane Austen (taster) from Grace Productions on Vimeo.

The only verifiable image of Jane Austen is a (more…)

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Adrian Lukis Interview

Adrian Lukis

Elle Interviews Adrian Lukis

On a lovely sunny day, we were making the new Jane Austen Centre film with Adrian when during a break we took the opportunity to grab a few minutes to interview the ex Mr. Wickham.
You will see for yourself that Adrian is such a charming gentleman.

“I love playing cads. They’re more interesting and so many of them seem to have a special kind of power and aura about them.”
Adrian Lukis ought to know. With his dark good looks and easy charm, he has often been cast in the role of attractive rogue or upper-class bounder. “He has charm in spades,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph in a 2000 review of Lukis’s performance of Beach Wedding at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.

 

Mr Wickham

Adrian Lukis, born in 28th March 1957 in Birmingham, is an actor who has appeared regularly in British television drama since the late 1980s. He trained at Drama Studio London. His most recent notable appearances have been as Sergeant Douglas ‘Doug’ Wright in the Police drama series The Bill, and as Marc Thompson in the BBC legal drama Judge John Deed.

He was a regular, playing Dr David Shearer, in Peak Practice between 1997-99. He also played Mr. George Wickham in the BBC’s 1995 adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Adrian had appeared in the ITV1 one-off drama Back Home and in the BBC rural drama series Down to Earth.
He had previously appeared in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (as Bennett in The Creeping Man), Maigret, Miss Marple and Prime Suspect. Adrian Lukis played Simon Avery in Silent Witness Series 15 Episode 2, Death Has No Dominion.

He is currently appearing as Carter in Bull at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Lukis is descended from the Channel Islands archaeologist Frederick Lukis.

Continue reading Adrian Lukis Interview

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Why I love Jane Austen, by Eva O’Flynn

me

Criticise her all you will, it’s nothing to me; Jane Austen is my dearest friend.  Warning: I write this post sipping tea from my ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ mug, staring proudly at my new merch (can’t do it justice; see picture.)

Goodies just arrived from the Jane Austen Centre giftshop...
Goodies just arrived from the Jane Austen Centre giftshop…

The woman is perfection. She is a witty, dry, perceptive, insanely intelligent goddess.

As a 17 year old myself, I can only marvel at her epistolary novel ‘Lady Susan‘, which she wrote at my age.

Austen and I first met in 2005, when I was 8 and she 230. This was the year of the infamous portrayal of Elizabeth by Keira Knightley. Forgive me Reader, for I have sinned; that film holds a special place in my heart. It’s extravagant, Hollywood and inaccurate, but it was the first time I met the characters; I remember my young grin as the footman announced ‘a Mrs Bennett, Miss Bennett, Miss Bennett and a- Miss Bennett.’ (Innaccurate, of course but amusing nevertheless.) I’m not stubborn enough that my view of each character remains loyal to the film’s portrayal, but I do believe that the film captures their essence pretty well.

Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen in 2005's Pride and Prejudice.
Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice.

Later, in 2008 when ‘Sense and Sensibilty‘ arrived on the BBC, I fell in love with her plots all over again. I moved straight on to read ‘Pride and Prejudice‘. Admittedly, as an 11 year old still in primary school, much of the novel’s genius was lost on me. Nevertheless, I rooted for Darcy and Elizabeth, bickered with Lydia as if she were my own sister and detested Wickham (not to be confused with Willoughby!) with a burning passion. The confusion between names is something which continues to trouble me to this day: the more Austen you read, the more confusing it gets. Musgrove, for example, a name which features in both ‘The Watsons‘ and ‘Persuasion‘, for very different characters, had my opinions somewhat confused.

Continue reading Why I love Jane Austen, by Eva O’Flynn