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Jane Austen News – Issue 39

The Jane Austen News learns of great letter writing friendsShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  A Story of Friendship and Letters Our centre guide, Lizzy Bennet, recently had three delightful ladies in one of her tour groups and they shared a wonderful story with her about their friendship, and it was such a beautiful example of friendship that we just had to share it. The ladies, two American ladies and one British lady, told Lizzy that they are all part of an embroidery group who became pen pals over 20 years ago. They have kept up their friendship, mostly through letter writing, ever since. In their letters they would write about their families, their passions, about embroidery and, of course, about Jane Austen. They’re using the time they’re now spending together in the UK also hand-stitching a doll and a patchwork quilt to go with it; a project from the crafts book Good Day Miss Austen. We’re hoping that once they’ve finished their project they’ll send us some pictures, but we also wanted to share with you their experience of keeping up connections through letter writing – it was a story we felt was very much in the spirit of Jane Austen. An Update On The Updated £10     Due in Summer 2017 (lips are remaining firmly shut when it comes to details on the exact release date) the new £10 will be made of a polymer rather than paper, and will have Jane’s lovely face on it. But here are some other things which (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 38

The Jane Austen News gets stuck into Pride and PrejudiceShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  Stanford Says Reading Austen = Awesome Brain Exercise  Now this is the kind of exercise the Jane Austen News could really become addicted to. Researchers at Stanford University say that reading Jane Austen could be the perfect brain exercise. Researchers at Stanford tested literary candidates at the university by hooking them up to an MRI machine and letting them get stuck into a Jane Austen novel. The preliminary results came back and the researchers found that there was a dramatic increase of blood flow to regions of the brain associated with paying close attention to a task. Researcher Natalie Philips explained why this is so good; “paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.” She suggested that this style of reading creates distinct patterns in the brain that are “far more complex than just work and play.” And why is Jane Austen such a good author to read? Because there’s so much to analyse in its value, historical significance and hidden meanings. It’s mental multi-tasking! It’s official then, Stanford has said so, for the sake of our health we need to read Jane Austen! An Evening With Jane at Gloucester Cathedral     If you live or can get to Gloucester this may well be of interest. On Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm Gloucester Cathedral’s Chapter House will host a very special evening of readings from the works of Jane Austen, bringing alive some of her most-loved and most-reviled (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 29

The Jane Austen News explores Will & Jane exhibitionShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   Austen and Shakespeare – Pop Culture Throughout Time The new exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity includes some of the more goofy material objects that have been made to celebrate Shakespeare or Austen in recent years. Some are more corporate than others – empty shoe boxes with Jane’s name on them, sticking plasters, etc etc, but all show what an amazing influence the two writers still have on the world. What really caught the eye of the Jane Austen News though, were the antique pieces of memorabilia; some of them over 100 years old. Some antique memorabilia included in the exhibition are; a series of 18th-century porcelains showing famous actors as Richard III, a signboard for the Shakespeare’s Head tavern from the late-17th or early-18th century, and antique bellows carved with Shakespeare’s face. We are by no means lacking items celebrating Austen and Shakespeare today, and not all of them are received with open arms; some may be considered tacky or overly commercial. So it’s interesting to see what passed for commemorative merchandise in the past, and to consider what of today’s memorabilia may end up in a similar Austen/Shakespeare exhibition a couple of hundred years in the future. Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is on show at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street S.E., Washington until the 6th of November 2016. JASNA (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 25

The Jane Austen News and ShakespeareShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?    Jane Austen Brings Shakespeare to Cuba    On Sunday (10th July)  in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire in the UK, a local actress performed her one-woman show, “Yours Ever, Jane”, in which Jane Austen tells her sister Cassandra all about her latest novel, Pride and Prejudice. The actress, Sarah Finch, performed for free but asked her audience for donations, and donations towards a very good cause. She is planning on traveling to Cuba in this coming September, where she will be helping the Government open a new Shakespeare centre in Havana. Sarah said: “Although Cuba has been cut off from the rest of the world until quite recently, they have a passion for Shakespeare. Shakespeare is universal.” Sarah will be one of several actors who will performing some of the Bard’s most famous scenes, and also teaching aspiring Cuban thespians. The Jane Austen News is sure Jane would approve! A Near Miss For Lady Susan American writer-director Whit Stallman has said that he discovered Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, the basis of his film Love & Friendship, completely by accident! In a recent interview he admitted that he only stumbled across it while re-reading Northanger Abbey. “It was included in an edition of that book, which was probably one of the last Austen stories I read.” He first tried to read Northanger Abbey as a teenager, but happily didn’t get on with it at the time. If he had he may never have found Lady Susan when he (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 22

The Jane Austen News - Romantic NovelsShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week? History Lessons Via Romantic Novels    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 on the public mind and to see in courses, scholarly work, and public discussions what steps might (more…)
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Jane Austen News – 13

Lizzie Bennet and Lydia Bennet from the online hit series.Share this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week? A Mystery and A First Edition of Persuasion       An 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   At Jane Austen News we were delighted to discover that Mr Darcy is inspiring some of the men of today to be a little more romantic. (more…)
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Jane Austen News – 12

A house to rival Pemberley in Pride and PrejudiceShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Reworked Pride and Prejudice Set To Top Summer Book Charts       In 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   More book news – another new release that has caught the eye of the Jane Austen News is that of Chronicle Books’ new (more…)
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Jane Austen News – 10

Pride and Prejudice bookmarkShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week? The Love and Friendship Trailer is Here!      Whit 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  Rumor 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 here. A Thesis That We’ll Want To Read   On the whole our impression of university thesis’ are that they are pretty heavy going, and generally have very complex titles about sub-atomic particles, or maybe the life cycle of the Amazonian tree frog. (more…)