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Jane Austen News – Issue 119

Jane Austen is at number 24

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


If At First You Don’t Enjoy… Give Up?

The UK charity The Reading Agency recently commissioned a poll to discover the nation’s reading habits, as one way of marking World Book Night which took place on Monday April 23rd. One of the things which the poll found out was that more than a fifth of British readers refuse to give up on a book, no matter how much they are struggling, while some will wait weeks or months before calling time on the unsatisfying book. In school the general message was to read on and get to the end of the book, but The Reading Agency is going against the trend and advising readers to give up on books they do not enjoy.

The poll, of 2,000 people, found that 15% would give up if struggling with a book after 1-3 weeks, 11% saying they’d stop after 4-6 days of struggles, 13%  after 2-3 days, and 6% would stop the day after. On the other hand, 22% thought that readers should always finish books they’ve started.

However, Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of The Reading Agency, said that;

At a time when one in five of us will experience anxiety or depression, and world events can leave people feeling confused or scared, reading has never been more important.

At a time when so many brilliant books are being written and published, you should never force yourself to read something you’re not enjoying. World Book Night is the chance to find a book that works for you.

***

The Top Five Unfinished Books

1. Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James
2. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring by JRR Tolkien
3. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by JK Rowling
4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Jane Austen News – Issue 118

The Jane Austen News dreams of Pemberley

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A Dictionary of 19th Century Language

Oxford Dictoionary of 19th Century LanguageThis week the Jane Austen News has put our book recommendation for the week as the first item in the news as we’ve had  such a lovely time exploring the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary of 19th Century Language.

The illustrated dictionary is a new release this month and, unlike most dictionaries, is one we found ourselves reading more like a novel than a reference guide. Rather than dipping in and out for a definition for an unfamiliar word, we found ourselves too intrigued to stop at one definition, and instead felt drawn to keep turning pages.

Oxford University Press’s website describes the book thus:

This browsable and unique dictionary explains the interesting words found in 19th century texts studied at secondary school. With clear explanations, panels, and an illustrated section of photographs and artworks on the themes of transport, crime, fashion and more, it is an essential guide to help students enjoy 19th century literature.

 

A one-of-a-kind dictionary that makes sense of the language of 19th century texts for GCSE students and  beyond. Over 3000 words and meanings, including example sentences, and help with unfamiliar usage and dialects. Includes an illustrated section of photographs and artworks which brings alive the social context, politics and scientific developments in the 1800s.

We’d say that this is a good book for anyone who enjoys reading 18th and 19th century literature, not just students. In fact we enjoyed it so much that it was the inspiration for this weeks quiz.

If you’d like to find out more, or purchase your own copy (we couldn’t resist stocking it), you can do either or both here.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 117

Jane Austen News listens to Audible

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Jane Austen Meets Midsomer Murders

We’re not sure how big the crossover is between Jane Austen fans and Midsomer Murders fans, but if you (like me) enjoy a nice bit of escapism with DCI John Barnaby as he investigates yet another murder in the deadliest county in England (luckily fictional) then good news: he’s back and this time he’s in the middle of a Jane Austen fan event!

Episode five, titled Death by Persuasion, will take us back in time. When the body of a woman dressed in Georgian costume is found, a couple who run Jane Austen-themed weekends, James and Kitty Oswood (Samuel West and Claire Skinner, who you might recognise as Fanny Dashwood from the 2008 BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility) are questioned. DCI Barnaby and DS Winter discover there is more to the story: the victim was a journalist, interested in the village’s healthcare drone delivery programme.

The episode is due to air in the UK on Sunday the 13th of May at 8pm on ITV.

 

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Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Colin Firth! 


Colin Firth Broods Again

Colin Firth as DarcyIf you’re reading this then in all likelihood the role that you most associate with Colin Firth is the brooding Mr Darcy from the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Well, good news, Firth-Darcy fans: Colin’s next big role is another classic brooding character.

Film companies StudioCanal and Heyday Films are currently working on a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful novel, The Secret Garden. Colin Firth will play the mysterious and complex character of the bereaved Archibald Craven. Julie Walters is also set to star as strict head housekeeper Mrs Medlock. Filming begins this month but there’s no firm news on a release date as of yet.

However, just an aside, it’s not The Secret Garden you might recognise from the book or the 1993 feature film which featured Maggie Smith as Mrs Medlock. The book is set in the Edwardian era in which it was first published, but the new film will be start in 1947 as the partition of India began and Britain was in the post-war aftermath. As well as welcoming Colin Firth back to our screens, it will be interesting to see what the change of setting brings to the story!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 115

the jane austen news has a new favourite picture book

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Over-the-Top Austen On PC

At the Jane Austen News we rather suspect that this latest Austen-based PC game is going to be a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. There is no middle ground.

Tongue-in-cheek satirical strategy game Austen Translation is due for release on the website Steam on May the 1st. In it, players play as young unmarried women of uncertain means who have just one social season in which to find an eligible man to marry so as to save themselves and their family from humiliation and destitution. Though, naturally, there will be fierce rivalries and obstacles to overcome along the way.

Austen Translation pokes fun at the world of Jane Austen, particularly the preconceived ideas of how men and women should behave. The game takes Jane’s genteel brand of satire and sends it over the top.

 

What do you think? Good fun? Or a step too far?

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Jane Austen News – Issue 114

The Jane Austen News goes to the West End

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Emma On Broadway

A new West End and Broadway production of Emma: A New Musical is currently being developed by award-winning director Thom Southerland, award-winning playwright Meghan Brown, and Sarah Taylor Ellis, a composer who specialises in musicals about women.

The leading roles will be played by Carly Bawden, Rupert Young and Ashleigh Gray, all of whom are highly accomplished actors from stage and screen, and the cast includes a host of equally impressive performers who have previously starred in the likes of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, 42nd Street and Les Miserables.

Although the musical is still in its early days of creation, and the date of opening night is yet to be announced for both the New York and the London production, it’s a musical with an amazing cast list, and one those of us at the Jane Austen News would definitely like to see. A sneak peek of one of the songs is below:

 

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Jane Austen News – Issue 113

The Jane Austen News looks at RPGs

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Matthew Not Wanted As Mr Darcy

A few months ago we very much enjoyed watching a new production of E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End on the BBC. Unfortunately many of our overseas readers who would have liked to have seen it weren’t able to as they can’t receive BBC channels. The good news for those overseas fans is that the BAFTA-nominated series will now air on Starz at 8pm ET/PT on Sunday April 8th.

The series features Matthew MacFadyen as Henry Wilcox, one of the main characters. The same Matthew MacFadyen who played Mr Darcy in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. We mention this partly because many Austen fans also like the work of E.M. Forster and period dramas as a whole, and partly because in an interview Matthew gave to promote the airing of the series on Starz, he made a disclosure about his role as Mr Darcy: that he wasn’t everyone’s idea of a 2005 Mr Darcy!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 112

The Jane Austen News would love to buy Longbourn!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Georgian “Banned” Book Beats All Estimates

We love old books here at the Jane Austen News, but this week we came across an example of a highly unusual one up for auction that might have raised a few eyebrows in the Austen household.

A 300-year-old sex manual which was as good as banned until the 1960s because of its shocking content (though we hasten to add that by today’s standards it’s not nearly so shocking) has sold for £3,100. An astounding sum considering that its guide price was just £80-£120!

The 1720 book titled Aristotle’s Masterpiece Completed In Two Parts, The First Containing the Secrets of Generation – contains a range of bizarre advice.

Some of the strange pieces of advice within the manual include:

  • Don’t lie with beasts – lest you wish to run the risk of giving birth to monsters
  • During sex women should “earnestly look upon the man and fix her mind upon him”. Then the child will resemble its father.
  • Want a girl? After sex, a prospective mother should lie on her left. For a boy, she should lie on her right.
  • Don’t rush off – “When they have done what nature can require, a man must have a care he does not part too soon from the embraces of his wife”.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 112

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