Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 81

The Jane Austen News learns about the C18th human gnomes

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Jane Austen In Couples Therapy For Campaign

Audible has launched a new campaign in Australia encouraging people to “grow their minds”, and Miss Austen plays a starring role.

Research commissioned by Audible and conducted by researchers at Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre has found that 62 per cent of Aussies want to grow their mind, but 35 per cent are unsure of how to do so. Inspired by this, Audible.com.au has launched its new multi-channel campaign; “Grow Your Mind”, and one of the videos made to support the campaign has a flustered Jane Austen in a bonnet in couples therapy with a negligent reader.

We thought it was good for a giggle.

To help Australians kick start their journey, Audible.com.au has also created the list “The 24 Best Audiobooks to Grow the Mind”, which can be found here (though shockingly Jane’s novels don’t feature!)


Unconventional Pride And Prejudice Is A Hit

Currently playing at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in New York state is what’s being called an “unconventional” stage production of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It includes theatrical acting (naturally), disco music (maybe not so naturally) and men playing women (very Shakespearean) – but it does all this while apparently “staying true to Austen’s original themes”.

This is the trailer/taster from the performance and, while we can’t be sure how “true” it is to Austen’s original themes, it did remind us at the Jane Austen News a little of the UK Austen improv group Austentatious. Either way, a bit of fun if you’re in the area.

 


Jane Austen As A Video Game Surprise

Agents of Mayhem, a sci-fi, open-world, shooter-based video game, might not sound like it has anything at all to do with Jane Austen. At first this is true. It’s literally an imaginary world away from Jane’s world, except that in a bizarre twist, it turns out that Jane Austen is the narrator behind the whole thing!

How?

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 81

Posted on

Austen Mania

austen maniaIt is a truth universally acknowledged that an English graduate with absolutely no fortune must be in want of a job.   Three weeks later… And I landed myself with the most perfect role; dressing up in long, elegant dresses, talking about one of the most famous female authors of all time and not to mention the opportunity to see Mr. Darcy as much I want…. in the form of a mannequin. During July of this year I excitingly began working as a Tour Guide at the Jane Austen Centre, Bath and this was just the start of my Austen mania. Three weeks previously… I nervously stumbled up the stairs towards the Function Room of the Warminster Athenaeum Theatre, on a quiet Thursday summer evening. The room was filled with many “Janes”, “Lydias”, “Mr Bennets” and unfortunately even the odd “Mr Collins”, all anxiously awaiting their audition. However, Adela and Heather, the directors of the play, made us all feel completely at ease and it was probably one of the most laid back, enjoyable auditions I’ve ever attended. Aaand three weeks later… I received a phone call from Heather offering me the part of Miss Elizabeth Bennet – shocked and amazed that I wasn’t going to be playing another tree in chorus 3 again, I took it. Conversing about Jane Austen, learning about her time in Bath, dressing up in regency costumes AND playing the part of perhaps her most famous protagonist, I really am living the English Grad’s dream (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 80

The Jane Austen News needs female friends

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Where Are All The Fictional Female Friends?

The Jane Austen News needs female friendsGrazia have been asking this week where all of the female friends in film have gone.

“Epic bromances have always been familiar turf when it comes to our favourite films and TV shows. ‘Boy and his beloved male sidekick’ is a formula that plays out in everything from Starsky & Hutch to Top Gun, Batman, The Hangover and Wedding Crashers.”

This is true, we can think of lots of recent ‘bromance’ films, but not too many that are all about similarly strong, uncomplicated female friendships.

“The mantle of female friendship is all too often sacrificed for entertainment in cinema. Think the competitive spite of Mean Girls, Bride Wars, The Devil Wears Prada and even – at its most extreme – Single White Female.

But why? asks Grazia. After all:

The same chemistry is very much alive and kicking between women in real life. We rely on one another; we laugh, cry and argue together, and spend more time than is healthy propping up each other’s floundering self-esteem.

Yet, for some reason, this delicious and effervescent dynamic is hard to come by in the realm of fiction.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why we love Austen so much; so many of her female characters have a strong, loving and healthy relationship with other female characters (we admit there are exceptions like Caroline Bingley). 

The full article can be found here.


Lone Female Authors Also Seek Friends…

Further to the news piece above, an article by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney asks what’s happened to all of the friends of the female fiction writers, as opposed to the female friends written in fiction.

They argue that friendships between great literary men have become the stuff of legend: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge tramping the Lakeland fells for example. However the most famous female authors are remembered as solitary eccentrics; Jane Austen being a prime example.

This didn’t feel right to them, so they did some research and discovered that there are actually many examples of famous female writers having writing friends, but not ones that are widely known about.

Jane Austen, they found while looking through old documents, letters, and two hitherto unknown Austen family papers had a close literary friend, a woman named Anne Sharp. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 80

Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 79

The Jane Austen News in the future?!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A New Pride and Prejudice is Coming!

Big news!!! Set to air twenty-five years after Colin Firth first set hearts racing while playing Mr Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 series, is a new TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Mammoth Screen, the makers of the hit series Poldark and Victoria, are currently working on a TV adaption of Pride and Prejudice for ITV. The production firm has said that they’ll focus on “the darker tones” of the novel and have commissioned playwright Nina Raine to adapt the book, though the cast is yet to be confirmed. Raine is an interesting writer to choose for the job as she hasn’t adapted novels for TV before, but her play, Consent, which opened at the National Theatre earlier this year has gained strong reviews. She’s keen to show Austen’s “dark intelligence” and prove that Pride and Prejudice was “actually a very adult book; much less bonnet-y than people assume”.

Damien Timmer, the managing director of Mammoth, told Radio Times: “In this age of the box set – with audiences loving to binge on complex, serialised dramas – it feels absolutely right to reassess the great classics. Every generation needs its own adaptation of this perfect novel.”


Jane Is A Big Favourite Worldwide

Pride and Prejudice has won first place in many different polls looking to find the nation’s favourite book, but it’s not just the UK that loves Austen. New Zealanders are also big Austen fans – with Pride and Prejudice coming in the top 15 of the country’s favourite books, alongside the likes of the Lord of the Rings and 1984.

What really struck us here at the Jane Austen News however were the reading statistics that came out just before the new list of the country’s top 100 books. It shows that New Zealanders read an average of 20 (20.6 to be exact) books a year! Although it also showed that around 394,000 New Zealanders didn’t read a single book during 2016.

How do your reading habits compare?


Win A Signed Pullman With Pride and Prejudice Yoga!

If you’re quick you might just have time to enter this great competition…

Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Joanna Trollope, Lamn Sissay and Joanne Harris are all taking part in a five-day yoga challenge organised by The Society of Authors in order to raise awareness of how important it is for writers to look after themselves and each other.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 79

Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 78

The Jane Austen News is Tilney is top!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 Jane Austen Money Worth A Mint?

The £10 notes are nearly ready for release to the general public, and given what happened with the £5 notes, it seems likely the The Jane Austen News is that Jane will be on the new £2 coinsame could happen with the new £10 note when it comes to low serial numbers being worth more than their face value.

If you find a note with the serial code beginning ‘AA01’ you may be holding a couple of hundred pounds in your hand – as these numbers are popular with collectors. Another code to hold onto is the ‘AK47’ code notes; some of these on the £5 note have sold for as much as £1,000.

It’s not just notes though.

A new limited edition £2 coin featuring Jane Austen is also being put into circulation. The coin will only be available in a very limited number of places but it can be purchased from the Royal Mint website already. These will be uncirculated coins and can cost between £10 and £825. The bottom line is, if you find a Jane £2 coin, it could be worth a mint!


Mr Tilney – Top Austen Hero

At last, Bustle has given the woefully underrated Mr Henry Tilney his day in the sun. Usually he’s overshadowed by Mr Darcy, but one Austen fan and writer for the online magazine has explained why Henry Tilney deserves far more recognition than he gets as a hero, and is, in her (and some at the Jane Austen News’) opinion, the best of all of Austen’s heroes.

  1. He’s Good-Looking — But Not Too Good-Looking
  2. He’s The Funniest Of Jane Austen’s Heroes
  3. He’s Very Sarcastic
  4. He’s Forgiving
  5. He’s A Good Brother

The list goes on! If you like Mr Tilney, you’ll like Emma’s article which you can read in full here.

“That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he stayed with you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention of my partner from me. We have entered into a contract of mutual agreeableness for the space of an evening, and all our agreeableness belongs solely to each other for that time. Nobody can fasten themselves on the notice of one, without injuring the rights of the other. I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours.”

Henry Tilney (talking with tongue firmly in his cheek) on the social etiquette of dancing.


Gyles Brandreth Drowns Mr Darcy

Gyles Brandreth spoke to Foyles booksellers recently about his book loves and book loathes, and it appears that he’s also not the biggest Darcy fan! His reason was not quite we were expecting though…
I loved Mr Darcy. He was devilishly handsome, absurdly arrogant and my idea (everybody’s idea!) of an English romantic hero.
In fact, I realise I must have been fourteen at the time and the reason I loved the novel so much was that I convinced myself that I was Mr Darcy!
And then, at school, we put on a stage version of Pride and Prejudice and I went to the auditions with high hopes and great expectations and – yes, you’ve guessed it – I was cast, not as Mr Darcy, but as the ridiculous, pompous, po-faced, vain and vain-glorious clergyman, Mr Collins. I couldn’t believe it. Half a century on, I still can’t believe it. But from that moment, I turned on Mr Darcy. I had loved him. Now I loathed him. And I’ve loathed him ever since.
He may not like it, but we could imagine Gyles doing rather a good job of Mr Collins! His full Foyles chat can be read here.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 78

Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 77

The Jane Austen News is...she's alive?!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

  Anger at Austen £10 Note Quote  

We’re delighted that the new £10 note is going to pay homage to Jane Austen. However, the choice of quote which the Bank of England have selected to go alongside her (some say “airbrushed”) portrait is causing outrage to some.

“I declare after all that there is no enjoyment like reading!” — is the quote. Which is lovely. Except that the character who utters these words is Caroline Bingley, who doesn’t mean them at all and is saying them only to impress Mr Darcy. She is “as much engaged in watching Mr Darcy’s progress through his book, as in reading her own,” Austen wrote.

Twitter users have taken to the web criticise the Bank of England for their apparent lack of research/poor choice of quote:

“I find the #janeausten200 saga extremely telling. In their haste to get a woman on the banknote they chose a quote that’s utterly tone-deaf”  @Madz_Grant

 

“Dear news:that J Austen”quote”about joy of reading on the new tenner is uttered by 1 of her most obnoxious characters-Ironically it’s ironic” @SamiraAhmedUK

There are so many quotes from Jane to choose from! Did they make the right choice? Moneyish.com had a few alternative suggestions for what the quote could have been.

  1. “Everything is to be got with money.” Mansfield Park
  2. “What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?” Sense and Sensibility
  3. “People always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them.” Sense and Sensibility
  4. “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” Mansfield Park
  5. “Money can only give happiness when there is nothing else to give it.” Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen “Greatest Living Author” 

Another Jane Austen topic which caused a flurry on Twitter this week was Andrea Leadsom’s announcement in parliament that Jane Austen is “one of our greatest living authors”.

The Conservative MP was making a speech on the subject of the new £10 note mentioned above. The speech was being made just days after the bicentenary of the author’s 1817 death.

Ms Leadsom’s gaffe made sure that her name was mentioned in over 17,000 tweets!  These were some of our favourites:

“We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors” – Waterstones

 

“Andrea Leadsom thinking that Jane Austen is still alive explains why Tory policies seem like they’re from the 1700s.” – Chris McPhail

 

“Enough is enough. Andrea Leadsom has admitted to her Jane Austen error, and has apologised to her PM William Pitt the younger.” – ‘Wolfie.’


The “Definitive” Ranking of Jane Austen

Michelle Garrett Bulsiewicz may also have ruffled a few feathers of Austen fans this week. Writing on deseretnews.com, she has honoured Austen’s bicentenary by compiling her  “official, completely objective ranking of the movies based on her books” (she stated, very much tongue-in-cheek).
Unusually, the BBC 1995 mini series of Pride and Prejudice was not in the top spot! Heresy some will say! Instead her list goes thus:
1. Sense and Sensibility, 1995
“I’m not at all worried about ranking this as the best of them all, because it just is.”
2.Persuasion, 1995
“A film that is peaceful, quiet and blissful to get wrapped up in.”
3. Pride & Prejudice, 2005
“I can hear the angry mobs now. I know to many it’s near blasphemy to rank this movie…higher than the BBC version, but I have to be honest: I like it better.”
Do you agree? Disagree? Michelle’s full list, with the reasons for her choices, can be read here.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 77

Posted on

Austen: Keeping it real for 200 years

Kindly reproduced here with permission from its author, Laurie Viera Rigler, who is also the author of the popular Jane Austen Addict novels.   On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, what better way is there to honor this extraordinary author than to give thanks for what she has left us? For me, her work is a timeless guide to living life in the honesty zone, wrapped in an infinitely re-readable set of six novels. If I could assign a motto, a credo to the the Austen canon, I would say it could be summed up in this one line from Pride and Prejudice: “Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence.” The fact that Mr. Darcy delivers this line while in the midst of a serious marriage-proposal fail makes it even more resonant: Darcy may be honest, but the brutality of his honesty indicates that he’s hiding behind his angry pride. He’s yet to unmask that part of his own disguise, but being an Austen hero, we know that he will. That’s the genius of Austen, who calls out her characters on their disguises and their dishonesty. Which leads them to their moment of revelation, their grand character arc, and their ultimate reward–love and happiness.  via GIPHY Along the way, Austen makes us laugh, which makes the hard truths easier to bear. And thus we can begin to see ourselves in it all. That’s Austen: keeping us real and calling us out. She’s been doing it for 200 years. And that’s no small (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 76

The Jane Austen News celebrates the bicentenary!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

  Austen’s Letter Makes A Fortune!   


We mentioned in last week’s Jane Austen News that a letter written by Jane to her niece Anna Lefroy in 1812 was going to auction for the first time. In the letter Jane writes disparagingly of Rachel Hunter’s gothic novel Lady Maclairn, the Victim of Villainy, calling it “most tiresome and prosy” (although both Jane and Anna took great pleasure in reading the melodramatic, sensationalist, clichéd text; it seemed to be a case of the novel being so bad that it was good).

Well the sale took place on July the 11th, and despite the estimation being between £80,000 and £100,000, the price which the letter eventually fetched was £162,000!

Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in books and manuscripts, had a theory about why the letter did so well. “The vast majority of her surviving letters talk about her day-to-day life, so to have a letter like we do here, that talks specifically about writing and shows her engaging with the popular literature of the day, is hugely significant.”


Celebrating July the 18th in Style! 

Fans all around the world spent July 18th celebrating Jane’s bicentenary, and the Jane Austen Centre was no exception. We hadThe Jane Austen News celebrates the bicentenary! lots of visitors come to celebrate with us on the day, but for those fans who couldn’t be with us, here’s a little bit of what we got up to:
  • Two of the Centre guides, Alice and James, donned their best Regency costumes and headed out with photographer Owen Benson to take some shots around some of Bath’s most iconic backdrops which Jane would have enjoyed (pictures soon!).
  • Martin, one of our experienced costumed guides, conducted free walking tours through the Georgian streets of Bath. These took in the places where Jane walked, shopped and visited, and the places made famous in her novels. The walk also passed the exciting new Jane Austen Floral Display in Bath’s Parade Gardens.
  • At 11a.m. BST we held a minute’s silence to officially mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death and to reflect on Jane’s life and works.
  • Just after our minute’s silence, micro-artist Graham Short presented us with a fifth Jane Austen £5 note, which he had engraved especially for the Centre. Graham caused a media storm last year, when he put into circulation four £5 notes which he had engraved with miniature portraits of Jane Austen, each valued at £50,000. His special fifth £5 note is now on display in the Centre.
  • After the presentation, Graham Short and some of the Jane Austen Centre guides popped upstairs to the Regency Tearooms for media interviews. (We’ll share some of our best bits with you in next week’s Jane Austen News).

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 76