Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 57

The Jane Austen News looks for Darcy

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What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Third Jane Austen Fiver Found

The third of the four specially engraved £5 notes which feature a tiny portrait of Jane Austen has been found, leaving only one of the £5 notes still in circulation and yet to be claimed.

The latest note was found in a small bar called ‘Charlie’s Bar’ in Northern Ireland, which incidentally is where the engraver responsible for the notes, Graham Short, said he originally spent it.

It was found by an elderly lady who wishes to remain anonymous. She also isn’t looking to profit from her find. In fact she sent the £5 note back to Mr Short with a note asking him to use it to help young people – “if it sells for a lot of money it will be better if young children could benefit from it.”

Mr Short’s friend and fellow artist, Tony Huggins-Haig, who launched the project, said around 5,000 people have called up falsely claiming to have found it. We can see why it’s so highly sought after, even by those who aren’t Austen fans, as each of the notes is insured for at least £50,000, but Mr Huggins-Haig believes the notes could actually sell for up to £100,000.


Jane’s Men – Attractive in Anonymity     


John Sutherland, author of numerous books on Literature and Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, has proposed that one of the reasons Austen’s heroes resonate so well with her readers is because they are so anonymous in their appearance, and therefore, open to personal preference and interpretation. 

Recently John Sutherland and Amanda Vickery were commissioned by UKTV to come up with a convincing illustration of what Darcy might have looked like when Austen first created him. They found it a challenge as all we are told about Darcy is that he is 28, “handsome”, has a good “mien” and £10,000 a year. “What we came up with was more the Justin Bieber end of the hunk spectrum than Dolph Lundgren. Or Firth. ” said John.

He suggests that there are a couple of possible explanations for Austen’s lack of detail.

The first is that Austen wants us to fill in the blanks ourselves. The second is that Austen was what is called “aphantasiac” — she didn’t think pictorially, whether it was places, locations or people. Some creative people are like that. They think, principally, of design. Look for portraiture in Mondrian.

What do you think? Does Darcy’s unclear face help him? Or does Colin Firth’s portrayal of him do his popularity more favours?


Come and Stay in Jane’s Old Home!

Bath is by no means lacking when it comes to lovely places to stay. However, thanks to Airbnb, now you can stay in the house in which Jane Austen first lived in when she came to live in Bath in 1801 – that of 4 Sydney Place.

Admittedly the apartment in Sydney Place is decorated in a modern style, but it is beautifully presented and offering one gorgeous bedroom as well as two sofa beds, making it suitable for four people to stay in. There are nods to Austen inside – as you enter the flat there’s a Pride & Prejudice quote on the wall, and heading upstairs will bring you to the main accommodation and the master bedroom, which offers the best of Georgian architecture with hardwood flooring and a period fireplace. One reviewer describes the apartment as ‘historically enchanting’.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 57

Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

A Letter to Jane Austen – Part One

Jane austen biographyShare this: This is part one of a most interesting letter written by Hans van Leeuwen, a lovely Jane Austen fan from the Netherlands. Hans is hoping to receive remarks and tips for improvements from native speakers of English, preferably Jane Austen devotees, and the purpose of sharing the letter with us is so that some valuable feedback might be gained.  We hope you might enjoy reading it as much as we did, and that you might share your thoughts in our comments section below.        Nijmegen, Gelderlandshire 13th of November 1816 2016 Dear Jane It is no uncommon occurrence for me to be seen opening a book not written by yourself for the sake of propriety, but hardly have I progressed to chapter two of such a book when I find myself growing increasingly uncomfortable from an anxiousness to replace it by one of your works. How exasperating that I should think it wrong sometimes to be always seen reading the same book or a book by the same authoress! I do, in the end, follow my own inclinations rather than bend to the wishes of others, but only after caring too much about other people’s opinions and patiently putting up with their suggestions to read what they themselves probably have not read. Yet even then I feel the shackles of conventionality, as testified by my continually looking about me when, at length, I have mustered courage enough to go to our library upstairs and choose one of (more…)
Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 56

The Jane Austen News gets set to vote

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What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Jane Austen Fans – Lend Us Your Eyes!     

The Jane Austen News is pleased to announce that over the next few weeks we will be publishing a most interesting letter written by Hans van Leeuwen, a lovely Jane Austen fan from the Netherlands.  

Below is just a taster:

Dear Jane

It is no uncommon occurrence for me to be seen opening a book not written by yourself for the sake of propriety, but hardly have I progressed to chapter two of such a book when I find myself growing increasingly uncomfortable from an anxiousness to replace it by one of your works. How exasperating that I should think it wrong sometimes to be always seen reading the same book or a book by the same authoress! I do, in the end, follow my own inclinations rather than bend to the wishes of others, but only after caring too much about other people’s opinions and patiently putting up with their suggestions to read what they themselves probably have not read. Yet even then I feel the shackles of conventionality, as testified by my continually looking about me when, at length, I have mustered courage enough to go to our library upstairs and choose one of your books again, on which, to your credit, dust never has time to settle.

Hans is hoping to receive remarks and tips for improvements from native speakers of English, preferably Jane Austen devotees, and the purpose of sharing the letter with us is so that some valuable feedback might be gained. 

We hope you might enjoy reading it as much as we did, and that you might share your thoughts in our comments sections as it is published. 


Meeting Young Jane Austen

This week the Jane Austen News heard from Cecily O’Neill; a writer, director and workshop leader based in Winchester. She had exciting news for us that the world premiere of her stage work, Meeting Miss Austen, is going to be performed at the Winchester Discovery Centre as part of the Winchester Festival this year.

In these plays, based on Austen’s Juvenilia, we hear the voice of the teenage Jane, exuberant, saucy and often surreal in tales of love, loss, vice and victuals…

‘The company partook of an elegant entertainment. After which, the bottle being pretty briskly pushed about, the whole party was carried home dead drunk.’ (Jack and Alice)

Cecily also treated us to a sneak peek at one of her most compelling characters – Lady Greville. You can read more about what Cecily had to say about her here.

The performances will be on Saturday 8 July 2017. 8:00pm and again on Sunday 9 July 2017 3:00pm.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 56

Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Meeting Young Jane Austen

Share this: “It’s exciting to be contributing to the Jane Austen 200 celebrations, with performances of Young Jane and Meeting Miss Austen, my adaptations inspired by Austen’s Juvenilia.” – Cecily O’Neill The exuberance and absurdity of the short novels, plays and letters known as the Juvenilia immediately captured my interest. Many of the characters, situations and issues in these teenage works clearly anticipate Austen’s mature novels, and the dialogue is as funny and revealing as anything she wrote later. It was the power of the dialogue that made me think these delightful pieces might be adapted for the stage. This is Mary’s first speech from The Three Sisters, I am the happiest creature in the world! I have received an offer of marriage from Mr Watts! It is the first proposal I have ever had, but I do not intend to accept it. At least I believe I won’t. Mr Watts is quite an old man, at least thirty-two. He’s very plain – so plain that I cannot bear to look at him. He’s also extremely disagreeable and I hate him more than any body else in the world! He has a large fortune but then he’s so very healthy I could find no evidence that the Juvenilia had previously been dramatized, although the title of the recent film, Love and Friendship, which is based on Austen’s Lady Susan, borrowed the title from one of the minor masterpieces in the Juvenilia. As well as The Three Sisters, I chose The (more…)
Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 55

The Jane Austen News has a new book on its to read listShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?    Jane Austen at Home (with Lucy Worsley)     Some of our guides, and we’re sure other Austen/history fans, have been enjoying watching Lucy Worlsey’s new series British History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worlsey, and considering how good Lucy is at uncovering the unusual facts and anecdotes that bring history to life, at the Jane Austen News we were very excited to read that her new book Jane Austen at Home: A Biography, has its official UK release date on May the 18th (US release July 11th). In this new biography of Jane Austen, Lucy takes a trip back to Jane’s world and the many places she lived. Lucy visits Austen’s childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses – both grand and small – of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Lucy discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a ‘life without incident’. Lucy examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to Jane, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. Lucy shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom – a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. We’re looking (more…)
Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 54

The Jane Austen News is in the stars

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What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Turning First Lines Into Constellations    
Data artist Nick Rougeux has launched a new project called Literary Constellations, in which he presents the first lines of famous novels in what appear to be star charts. The idea originally wasn’t to make them look specifically like constellations however, it was an exploration of how to present data in beautiful, clever ways, but by connecting the words using his special formula, the result was a circular map which resembled a star chart, so he went with the idea. He’s also gone on to apply the formula to short stories and entire first chapters of books.

So what is the formula?

Rougeux’s sentence diagrams are organized by their grammatical structure. He connects the words in each sentence with lines, the length and direction of which are based on the length of the words and their parts of speech, respectively.

Here’s the explanation from Wired.com:

First, Rougeux mapped each part of speech to a point on a compass. A line that connects to an adjective, for example, points due north, while one that extends toward a prepositions does so in a southwesterly direction. Then he classified words from the opening lines of classic novels. Jane Austen opened Pride and Prejudice with a 23-word sentence comprised of a pronoun (It), verb (is), a (article), noun (truth), adverb (universally), verb (acknowledged), and so on. Next, he plotted the words in order, according to his system. The lines extending from “It” and “is” are of equal length and much shorter than the line extending from the word “universally”. But they point in different directions, because the words toward which they extend are different parts of speech (a verb and an article, respectively). When he connected all the dots, he got something that looks like this:

At the Jane Austen News we think his work is absolutely beautiful, so we felt we had to share it with you.


Recommended Reads For Young Adult Austen Fans 

This week Barnes and Noble published a list of their six top books for young adult fans of Jane Austen.

At number one they recommend For Darkness Shows the Stars, Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 54

Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 53

The Jane Austen News is Dan and Lisa's WeddingShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?    Pride and Prejudice Comes to Bath  This week in Bath we had the cast of Regent’s Park Theatre’s touring production of Pride and Prejudice on stage at the Theatre Royal, and we were lucky enough to be able to ask Ben Dilloway who plays Mr Darcy a few questions about performing in the city.   JAC: What has been the highlight of embarking on this tour during the 200th Anniversary year so far? Ben: Bath has to be a highlight. The words of the play flow so easily in such a place and it feels great to have the Jane Austen Centre just around the corner, especially on such an important anniversary year. JAC: Have you had to fight off many Mr Darcy fans? Ben: Not as yet! Luckily the Austen crowds are utterly distinguished and keep all extremities of emotion firmly under their bonnets. JAC:  How does it feel to be performing in Bath, considering its connection to Jane Austen? Has the cast felt a greater sense of connection with her while staying here? Ben: I would say so, with such a city, steeped in history, its almost second nature to speak these words and adhere to the otherwise seemingly dated social norms. JAC: How does adapting Pride and Prejudice for the stage add to the story and its themes? Ben: It’s a real challenge to fit such a huge amount of information from the book into a mere (more…)
Jane Austen News - Issue 57 | Jenni Waugh Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 52

The Jane Austen News visits DerbyshireShare this: What’s the Jane Austen News this week?    Austen Escapism in Visual Novel  In The Lady’s Choice, a text-heavy visual novel that takes its inspiration from Regency-era novels, you play as a woman returning to society after a long absence, and although you’re not necessarily seeking a marriage, you’re quickly introduced to a group of eligible bachelors. It’s not based only on the work of Jane Austen, but it’s inspired by the Regency novel genre in general, and the result is a novel of charm, intrigue and one with a keen sense of fun and humour. If you like reading, enjoy role-playing games, and are a Jane Austen fan, this might be a read you’ll rather enjoy (and potentially a good way to get any kids who are obsessed with screens doing some more reading?) then you can find it at itch.io for £5. As the daughter of a Viscount, and heiress to a small fortune, you are invited back into society even after years of seclusion at your family’s estate. The upcoming Season is to be spent in Bath, your childhood friend having finally convinced you into it, and only the cream of society will be there. But the fickle and difficult dance that is weaving through society can be a tricky thing to remember, especially when they thrive on any small misstep you may make. Jane At Home At The British Library To mark the 200th anniversary since Jane’s death, the British Library and Bodliean Library (more…)