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Jane Austen News – Issue 89

The Jane Austen News is staying neutral!What’s the Jane Austen News this week?     Fanny Price vs. Mary Crawford While discussing Austen’s novels, as we are wont to do on a daily basis at the Jane Austen Centre, two of our Centre staff, Jenni and Naomi, got into a discussion about whether Mary Crawford can really be painted as “a bad guy” as so many seem to think she is. “If she’d been in any other novel”, said Naomi, “she’d have been the heroine. She’s got a lot in common with Lizzy Bennet.” Then, as fate would have it, the very next day we at the Jane Austen News heard about the upcoming Fanny vs Mary debates… The first day of the debate takes place on Claudine Pepe’s blog, Just Jane 1813, on Monday October 23rd. (We know at least two people who’ll be following the discussions with great interest!) “Don’t Patronise Teenagers” “We’re more than capable of enjoying classic literature” says Emily Handel, a Year 11 student at Tavistock College in  Devon. This week we came across a marvelous article on TES by Emily Handel, which argues that classic literature isn’t being presented as something which is suitable for teenagers. At least, it’s not something which they are recommended to read. Emily thinks this is something that needs to change. These are just a few of her reasons: It is relevant to today’s teens. I picked up Anna Karenina, unsure of what to expect. Due to its classic status, I was worried I might (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 88

The Jane Austen News is suddenly craving bread...

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

We’re Loving The New Warbutons Ad!

You might have seen that earlier this week we shared the new Warbuton’s advert on our Facebook page…The Jane Austen News is suddenly craving bread...

Normally adverts are a bit dry, but occasionally a company will go all out and create a masterpiece. At the Jane Austen News we thought this one, dubbed “Pride and Breadjudice” was wonderful. Admittedly some of the jokes in it might be a bit baffling if you haven’t seen any of Peter Kay’s previous work (“Garlic Bread!”) but even if this is the case, we’re sure you’ll still enjoy it. They managed to fit in a lot of Austen references!

 


Jane Smashes Estimates At Auction

On the 6th of October the Bank of England’s charity auction was held in London, and featured within the auction was the Jane Austen £10 note with the serial number AA01 000010. It was estimated that the note would sell for between two and three thousand pounds, but instead it was sold for an amazing £7,200! Seven hundred and twenty times its face value! Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 88

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Jane Austen News – Issue 87

the Jane Austen News learns more about JASP

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A Look At Lizzy Bennet’s Drawers

This week at the Jane Austen News we had great fun reading Bustle‘s piece on underwear in the time of Jane Austen. At the Jane Austen Centre our guides are often asked what the underwear of the era was like, so it was nice to see that we got a mention in Bustle‘s article too.

In brief (sorry, the pun was too good) Melissa Ragsdale explained why, although the screen adaptations may look terribly genteel and elegant, in real life Regency England it wasn’t all tea and cake and comfort.

If you like feel like a lot of women and long to get home at the end of the day and ditch your bra and relax in a nice pair of comfy PJs, well, it would have been much worse back in Jane’s time…

Unlike Victorian corsets which hooked in the front and laced up the back, older corsets only laced up the back in a zigzag fashion using one string—cross lacing would be invented later on—and stiffened in the front with a carved wooden or bone busk which created a straight posture and separated the bosoms for the “heaving” effect, so popular at the time.

Although if you like going commando, you’d have been in luck…

According to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, ‘drawers’ (which were like loose shorts, and often crotchless) were invented in 1806, but it wasn’t common for adult women to wear them until after 1820. Drawers went on to merge into ‘knickers’ and ‘combinations’ during the Victorian era, and modern “panties” didn’t exist until the 1920s.

To see what else Melissa found out about Lizzy Bennet’s underwear drawer you can read the full article here.


Think Jane’s No Longer Relevant? Think Again

For anyone who thinks Jane Austen’s stories are no longer relevant to real life, The Jane Austen Society of Pakistan is out to explain why her words still ring true for them.

Laaleen Sukera, a journalist and the founder of JASP, has been speaking to The Economist in an article published this week, and explaining why Jane Austen is so popular in Pakistan, one of the main reasons being because the etiquette and customs of the Regency are still alive and well in society. A couple of examples:

  • Weddings are the equivalent of the Bath Assembly Rooms – it’s where people go to search for suitable partners.
  • There is still a ‘season’ – three months crammed with parties, weddings and balls where girls put on their best jewels and finery and check out the most eligible suitors on offer.
  • Inheritance laws still heavily favour male heirs.
  • Marrying your daughters to rich men, from good backgrounds, who can take good care of them, is still the main focus of many families.

Austen resonates with us because Regency England is so much like today’s Pakistan. I know her books are 200 years old and set in small English county towns and villages but, really, her themes, her characters, her situations, her plots, they could have been written for us now.

At the Jane Austen News we found it fascinating to read all about the parallels between Regency England and Pakistan, and on Austen’s popularity there. The full article (well worth a read!) can be found here.


 Online Role-Playing with Jane Austen – A Report

If shoot-em-up adventures or burning-rubber car chases aren’t your kind of thing, but at the same time you’re not completely averse to the whole idea of playing video games, then the latest reviews of a new virtual roleplaying game called Ever, Jane might well be of interest to you. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 87

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Jane Austen News – Issue 86

The Jane Austen News visits a book signing!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Austen Activist Strikes Again

Activist Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned so hard to get Jane Austen featured on the new £10 bank notes, has been on the campaign trail again. This time it was in the cause of getting a statue of a woman built in Parliament Square.

Her online petition received more than 85,000 signatures and now Dame Millicent Fawcett, who was the founder of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, will be honoured with her own statue next year to mark one hundred years since the first British women got the vote. The NUWSS used peaceful tactics to campaign, such as lobbbying MPs and undertaking non-violent demonstrations, and lead to the emergence of Emmeline Pankhurst’s suffragette movement.

Ms Fawcett’s statue will be designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing (who will be the first female sculptor to have a work displayed in Parliament Square) and will join those of Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela, already on display.

The Mayor of London said the statue was “long overdue” and Austen-note-activist Ms Criado-Perez said she was “thrilled” with the project.


AA01 Notes = Super Expensive!

They’re here, we love them, but some are more valuable than others. In fact three Austen £10 notes, each with a AA01 serial number, sold together for £250! Another £10 set to make big money is the AA01 000010 note which is predicted to make up to £10,000 when it goes up for auction next month!

Admittedly there are some unrealistic examples of £10 note price tags – with some sellers asking for thousands of pounds for a single note with an unremarkable serial number, but on the whole the demand for pristine Austen £10 notes is booming.

 


 A New Austen Location Highlighted

Experts are now asking whether Thornton Lacey, the parsonage first given to Edmund Bertram upon his ordination and marriage in Austen’s third published novel Mansfield Park, could have been based on real-life 18th century house Compton Verney in Warwickshire near Stratford-upon-Avon. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 86

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Jane Austen News – Issue 85

The Jane Austen News is a festival report

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

“As Spectacular As It Is Surreal”

We loved watching this report from Helen Coffey of The Independent newspaper.

Helen made the journey from London to Bath especially to take part in the first full day of the Jane Austen Festival on Saturday 9th. Though as you’ll see if you watch her video, her journey was nothing compared to the distances which some Jane fans had traveled!


Noteworthy News

One of the biggest Jane Austen stories this week has to be that, finally, the new Jane Austen £10 note has been released into general circulation. On September 14th a lucky few found themselves being given the new notes by banks, ATMs and as change. So, what have been the ‘noteworthy’ news stories surrounding the notes:

1. If you’re going to Scotland on holiday and hope to come away with a Jane Austen £10 note as a souvenir you might need to think again. While there may be some notes that make their way that far north, Scottish banks won’t be issuing them. That’s because Scotland differs from England and Wales in that it has three commercial banks that issue their own banknotes – rather than relying on the Bank of England.

2. BBC One Breakfast News presenter Charlie Stayt nearly got himself into trouble when he managed to fold and crease one of the notes that he and fellow newsreader Naga Munchetty had been granted special access to on the day of the official release. She was not impressed: “[They’re] also supposed to be crease-free – unless your name is Charlie Stayt.” (He had supposedly scrunched up one of the new notes during the BBC Breakfast show’s early morning run.)

3. As is the case with the £5 notes, some of the new £10 notes could be worth thousands thanks to their serial numbers. The £5 notes with low serial numbers beginning ‘AA’ were highly sought after. This is still the case with the £10 notes, but in addition to these some of the most valuable serial numbers include; 16 121775 – her birth date, 18 071817 – her death date, and 17 751817 – her birth and death year combined.

4. If you’re itching to get your hands on one of the new Jane Austen £10 notes then good Jane Austen news! We’ll soon have specially framed notes for sale via the Online Giftshop. So even if you aren’t coming to the UK in the near future, you’ll still be able to have an Austen note of your very own.


 Before He Was Darcy

The Internet has been all aflutter this week as images of Colin Firth in his first ever film have resurfaced and spread like wildfire. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 85

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Finding Happiness, Austen Style: Party with Bride and Prejudice

Bride and PrejudiceWelcome to the third of a multi-part series of posts on how to lift yourself out of the blues, Austen style. Kindly reproduced here with permission from its author, Laurie Viera Rigler, who is also the author of the popular Jane Austen Addict novels.   The days are getting shorter. Winter is coming. A dragon has been turned. But are we sad? No. Because we have the cure, and now so do you. It’s called Bride and Prejudice, the life-affirming, Bollywood-meets-Hollywood tribute to Pride and Prejudice. Not only is it a clever, spirited, heart-opening adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but there are also two other very important reasons for you to watch: 1. Nathan Riggs from Grey’s Anatomy. That’s right, Martin Henderson plays Darcy. 2. Naveen Andrews from Lost. He plays the Bingley role. Need I say more? I needn’t but I will: There’s the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai in the Elizabeth role; Ellaria Sand, that is, Indira Varma, in the Caroline Bingley role; and the most hilarious portrayal of Mr. Collins (by Nitin Ganatra) since David Bamber’s brilliant work in the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle P&P. Just watch the trailer and see if you can resist. Come on, grumpypants—I dare you. This film merits a party. At the very least, invite at least one friend over to watch with you. Or have a party all on your own. You deserve it. To prepare: Be sure to bring in plenty of Indian food. And don’t forget to get some floaty scarves to wave (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 84

The Jane Austen News looks at the promenade

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A Wonderful Walk Was Had By All

On Saturday (the 9th) we saw the fourteenth Jane Austen Festival in Bath officially opened with the traditional Regency  promenade.

The parade began from the front of the Royal Crescent at 11am, and wound its way through the historic streets of Bath, finishing up at the beautiful Parade Gardens where a floral tribute to Jane Austen in this, her bicentenary year, has been on display throughout summer (you can read more about it in previous editions of the Jane Austen News here and here).

The promenade was a big success; the sun was shining and the weather was just ideal! Around 550 people took part in this year’s promenade and, in case you couldn’t be with us, here’s a quick edit of the event.


 

A New Pride and Prejudice Pilot Is On The Way

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation Eligible is getting a pilot.

Sittenfeld published her book back in 2016 as part of the Harper Collins ‘Austen Project’, which sees six famous authors re-writing Jane’s classic novels in a modern setting. Val McDermid rewrote Northanger Abbey, Joanna Trollope did Sense and Sensibility, Alexander McCall Smith took on Emma, and as for Persuasion and Mansfield Park, these are both still yet to be released and the names of the authors taking them on have not yet been announced.

The project has been a real success overall; especially Sittenfeld’s book. Eligible was on the New York Times Bestseller List for many weeks and was hailed as “book of the summer” by the Times. Now it appears that it may also be turned into a new TV series.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 84

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Jane Austen News – Issue 83

The Jane Austen News Takes a Turn About BathWhat’s the Jane Austen News this week?   The Guardian Visits Bath! We had a lovely surprise this week when we discovered that The Guardian newspaper has just published a piece about why visiting Bath is such a wonderful thing to do. Included in their two and a half mile round-trip walking tour of Bath (beginning and ending at Bath Spa train station, so a good choice for any London day-trippers) is a stop at our very own Jane Austen Centre! Alan Franks, the journalist who came to visit Bath and wrote the piece, had this short summary of Jane’s two partially Bath-based novels: Two of her six novels – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion – are set in the town. In the course of their narration Bath changes from being a backdrop to a virtual character, full of airs that are not of the healthiest kind. What for Catherine in the first book was elevating has become, for Anne in the second, enervating. Perhaps, given the hot springs that gave the city its name, the best word is immersive. If you fancy following in Mr Franks’ footsteps yourself, then you might like to read the whole of his article here. A Well-Dressed Well of Austen! This week the Jane Austen News was treated to a marvelous sight thanks to Jessica from Derbyshire, who shared pictures of a well dressing which had been created in her local village. In case you’ve not come across it before, well dressing is a tradition (more…)