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Jane Austen News – Issue 110

the jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Emma Changes The Face of Fiction

200 years after it was first published, John Mullan, professor of English at University College London and a specialist in eighteenth-century literature, is arguing that Jane Austen’s Emma belongs alongside the works of Flaubert, Joyce and Woolf as one of the great experimental novels.

Mullan argues that Emma was not revolutionary because of its subject matter, but was revolutionary in its form and technique. “Its heroine is a self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours. The narrative was radically experimental because it was designed to share her delusions.”

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The Janeites by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling's The JaneitesThe Janeites – Rudyard Kipling’s Short Story Rudyard Kipling’s short story entitled “The Janeites”, about a group of World War I soldiers who were secretly fans of Austen’s novels. This short story is often cited as the place from where the term Janeite came.    *** Jane lies in Winchester-blessed be her shade! Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made! And while the stones of Winchester, or Milsom Street, remain. Glory, love, and honour unto England’s Jane! In the Lodge of Instruction attached to ‘Faith and Works No. 5837 E.C.,’ which has already been described, Saturday afternoon was appointed for the weekly clean-up, when all visiting Brethren were welcome to help under the direction of the Lodge Officer of the day: their reward was light refreshment and the meeting of companions. This particular afternoon-in the autumn of ’20-Brother Burges, P.M., was on duty and, finding a strong shift present, took advantage of it to strip and dust all hangings and curtains, to go over every inch of the Pavement-which was stone, not floorcloth-by hand; and to polish the Columns, Jewels, Working outfit and organ. I was given to clean some Officers’ Jewels-beautiful bits of old Georgian silver-work humanised by generations of elbow-grease-and retired to the organ- loft; for the floor was like the quarterdeck of a battleship on the eve of a ball. Half-a-dozen brethren had already made the Pavement as glassy as the aisle of Greenwich Chapel; the brazen chapiters winked like pure gold (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 109

jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Do Some Books Have “Best Before” Dates?

In our travels around the web this week, we at the Jane Austen News found an article by Jennifer Finney Boylan for the New York Times which talked about the best age at which to read books. Are there some books which are best read when you’re older? Is a book like War and Peace best not opened until you’re 25+?

It’s a knotty question. Some people have reading ages far beyond their years, and some readers are happy to read books which explore deep philosophical questions before they’ve even sat their GCSEs. Then again, some visitors to the Jane Austen Centre explain that, having been taught the likes of Dickens at a young age at school, they’ve been put off ‘classics’ almost for life.

Reading age aside though, the question can be approached from a different angle: do some books come with an ideal reading age? By this we mean, an age at which the book will best resonate with its reader, and an age at which it has the best chance of bringing a fresh perspective to the reader’s life.

Some examples which were suggested were:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle — before the age of 18. In order to learn that some mysteries, including the ones inside your own heart, really can be solved by logic and reason.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 108 – Janeites and Shelley

Go-to books for a Janeite

Janeites! What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Mary Bennet and Frankenstein’s Monster

This is an important year for fans of Mary Shelley, it being the 200th anniversary of the publication of her most famous novel, Frankenstein. There will be plenty of books published this year which centre on the book and on the author herself, but one that’s caught our eye is Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel.

In the original novel, Victor Frankenstein and his friend Henry Clerval run away to England and Scotland when the creature they have made demands that they make a mate for him. In Pride and Prometheus, Kessel has the pair meet Mary Bennet, the bookish and often slighted Bennet sister, who is portrayed in the novel as a keen amateur scientist who is fascinated by Frankenstein’s ideas. (Mr Darcy and Lizzy Bennet also make an appearance but it is fleeting).

Naturally the creature has followed Frankenstein and Clerval on their escape, and it’s not too long before the Bennet family is mixed up in the melodrama of the Frankenstein saga.

As book fusions go, this one is done exceedingly well, and has much that will delight fans of Austen and Shelley alike, especially if the tongue-in-cheek mockery of gothic novels in Northanger Abbey was something you enjoyed.

When she was nineteen, Miss Mary Bennet had believed three things that were not true. She believed that, despite her awkwardness, she might become interesting through her accomplishments. She believed that, because she paid strict attention to all she had been taught about right and wrong, she was wise in the ways of the world. And she believed that God, who took note of every moment of one’s life, would answer prayers, even foolish ones.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 107

The Jane Austen News having a ball!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

A Bookshop Of Women For All

As a pioneering female author we think that Jane would love this idea.

Penguin has teamed up with Waterstones to mark International Women’s Day by opening a pop-up store in East London. The bookshop will run from the 5th-9th of March and will sell only books written by women to “celebrate the persistence of women who’ve fought for change: those who fight, rebel and shout #LikeAWoman”.

The other unique aspect of the pop-up bookshop is the way in which it will be laid out. Rather than the typical “biography”, “fiction”, “sci-fi” categories, the books will be grouped by “the impact the author has had on culture, history or society”. The categories will range from “essential feminist reads”, to “inspiring young readers”, “women to watch”, and “changemakers”.

A series of literary events will also take place at the boo

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Jane Austen News – Issue 106

The Jane Austen News is the Watsons and curlingWhat’s the Jane Austen News from Bath this week?  The Latest Olympic Sport – Jane Austen Curling Well here’s one we at the Jane Austen News never thought we’d see! A theatre company who are currently performing a stage adaptation of Sense and Sensibility at the Arvada Center in Colarado have gone viral with their latest video. Without breaking character, the cast pushes each other in rolling chairs trying to be the one ‘closest to the eligible bachelor’… The video has been shared over 3,500 times!   Controversy Over Church Commemoration A church in Adlestrop in Gloucestershire, England (Adlestrop being a village which is thought to have inspired features of some of Jane Austen’s works), is currently being met with controversy. Plans are afoot to introduce a new plaque into the church, dedicated to a woman who is not a member of the Leigh family, and who is a “relative newcomer” in the area. Since the 16th century, the Leigh family, Austen’s wealthy relatives on her mother’s side, had owned Adlestrop Park, the great house which is thought to have inspired Sotherton Court, an estate owned by the character James Rushworth in her novel Mansfield Park. Now it is owned by the Collins family – the relative newcomers. It has to be said that “relative” is the appropriate term, as the Collins family, whose coat of arms it is that is being proposed as the new addition, have lived in the area since at least 1974. Dominic Collins and his (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 105

A Mr Bennet Interview is the Jane Austen News from Bath this week!

What’s the Jane Austen News from Bath this week? 

Vote For Bath’s Mr Bennet!

If you’ve been to visit us at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, you’ve probably met our famous Mr Bennet, a.k.a Martin. A Mr Bennet Interview is the Jane Austen News from Bath this week!He’s our senior meeter and greeter, and is the most-photographed man in England. He’s been with us for over ten years, and now he’s been nominated for an award.

The national Tourism Superstar Awards 2018 are down to their final top ten finalists, and Martin is one of them. The awards were set up by VisitEngland and Mirror Travel, and the organisers behind the award explained that they’re:

looking for people who far exceed the call of duty to ensure visitors have an amazing experience, whether it’s on a day trip or a holiday.

Martin, they added, is a prime example.

Martin has worked in tourism all his life – at the Pump Rooms in Bath and for the past 11 years at the Jane Austen Centre. He does charitable work, is Father Christmas, teaches dancing and is a keen re-enactor. Online there are lots of images of Martin posing with visitors.

It’s free to vote for your Tourism Superstar (not only that, but by voting you enter into a draw to win an English staycation), and the vote is open until midnight on March the 20th. The winner will be announced at the end of English Tourism Week on March the 24th.

We would be so grateful if you could spare a moment to visit the dedicated page on the Mirror’s website and vote for Martin. He’s a real gentleman and without a doubt a superstar in our minds. If we could all work together to help him win this award it would mean so much to all of us.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 104 – Austen and Bath

Bath and Persuasion and Prosecco

What’s the Jane Austen News from Bath this week? 


  A New Rom-Com Films in Bath 

It may not be a new Jane Austen adaptation, which is of course what we’d ideally like to see being filmed in the city this year, but exciting news nevertheless as Bath becomes a film set once more.

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