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The A-Z of Period Dramas

We came across a wonderful A-Z of period dramas compiled by Period Movies on Facebook, and after we shared it with you on Facebook and Twitter you asked for the full list, so here it is! (We do admit that some of these are stretching the term period drama just a little…) A – Anne of Green Gables B – Bleak House C – Cranford D –  Downton Abbey E – Ever After F – The Forsythe Saga G – Gone With The Wind H – Henry VIII (2003) I – The Inheritance J – Jane Eyre K – The King’s Speech L – Little Dorrit M – Mary Poppins N – North and South O – Our Mutual Friend P – Pride and Prejudice Q – is for queen… (Mrs Brown) R – Road to Avonlea S – Sense and Sensibility T – Titanic U – Under the Greenwood Tree V – Victoria & Albert W – Wives and Daughters X – is for X-traordinarily obsessed with Downton Abbey (X is really hard!!) Y – Young Victoria Z – Dr. Zhivago (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 43

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  2017 Is The Year Of Literature  Next year is a milestone for quite a few heroes of British literature, and to celebrate VisitEngland has declared it the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’. Among the anniversaries being celebrated are the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, and publication anniversaries for Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Enid Blyton. 2017 will be mark the 75th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, and it will be twenty years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! As well events surrounding these, there will also be special programmes of events to celebrate the wartime poet Edward Thomas in Petersfield, Hampshire, an exhibition on writer Arnold Bennett, and a festival dedicated to children’s author Arthur Ransome – the writer of Swallows and Amazons. So it seems 2017 is the year to visit England if you’re a fan of literature. Of course there will be plenty of special events on across the country to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death, and we’ll keep you up to date with what’s set to be going on. A Christmas Dinner at Chawton Library         Best-selling author Edward Rutherfurd (his debut novel Sarum, a 10,000-year story set in Salisbury, was on the New York Times Bestseller List for 23 weeks) will add star appeal to the Christmas supper at Chawton House Library next month. Offering an opportunity to partake of a festive meal in the atmospheric oak-panelled rooms where Jane dined with her family, the black (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 42

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  National Library Protests in The UK  There was a protest in London on Saturday (5th November) as authors joined hundreds of members of the public (around 1,800) in the first national demonstration to protect library services. The march was held in response to the string of library closures which have been taking place across the UK over the past five years as the government looked to make cuts to local council spending. According to research by the House of Commons library service and the BBC, around one in eight council-run libraries has been closed or passed out of the public sector since 2010. In addition to this, total spending by councils on library services fell by a fifth between 2010 and 2015, and other research also showed that a quarter of all library jobs have been done away with since May 2010; 8,000 jobs in total. To help supplement this 15,500 volunteers have been called upon to take their place. Even this is not enough to stop the library erosion. Alan Gibbons, children’s author and one of the march organisers, had this to say: Libraries are places of learning and opportunity. They are community hubs in areas where there is no other collective meeting place. They provide advice, books, computers, storytelling, information and education. Any government that allows them to close can’t claim to want a literate society. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Are There Too Many Adaptations?     (more…)
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Book Review: The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright  and Cass Grafton A review by Laura Boyle When I was asked to review The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, I had no idea what the story was about, the cover giving only the vaguest idea that it might have something to do with the lovely topaz necklaces that were a gift to Jane and her sister from their seafaring brother Charles. Was it Jane’s personal charm, or this actual, physical charm that the story was about? The answer was to be a little of both. With vivid detail, authors Ada Bright and Cass Grafton set their stage: the opening of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. In a tale of art imitates life, one might suspect, two longtime internet friends are about to meet for the first time in person and partake of the delights Bath has to offer. The city, sights and excitement of the festival come to life in a way that must make all of us who have never been long for a taste of that happiness which comes when “good people get together”. Those who have had a chance to enjoy the festival must revisit these scenes of past pleasure once again with delight. While seemingly straightforward enough, two young ladies ready for love, two single men in want of wives, the story takes a dramatic twistpart way through the novel. It appears (as the reader has already suspected) that Rose Wallace’s reclusive upstairs (more…)
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Are Jane Austen’s Heroines Ideal Women?

Jane Austen's HeroinesBy Jenni Waugh I recently replied to an email enquiry from a student who was looking for an opinion on the question “To what extent does Jane Austen present her heroines as ideal women within their social contexts?” My reply ended up being fairly lengthy and is below. Let me know what you think! Personally, I’d say that very few, if any, of her heroines are presented as ideal women within their social contexts. They all have their own unique flaws. Elizabeth Bennet is outspoken and opinionated; just think of her responses to Lady Catherine’s enquires about her age, and her dismissal of Mr Collins, and then later of Mr Darcy. Were Lizzy an ideal woman in society she would have accepted Collins in order to secure her family’s home as per her mother’s wishes, or Darcy when he asked her in order to secure an even better future for herself and her family. Emma, likewise, is outspoken, opinionated and meddlesome. Although on a positive note she is at least relatively rich; a most desirable quality in any wife. Anne Elliot is rich and polite, and certainly obeys her family’s wishes, which is why she turned down the Captain’s initial offer of marriage all those years ago. However, Anne would be considered by many to be too old to make a good bride. You could be out in society and looking for a husband from the age of 15, and by the age of 26 you were seen as on (more…)
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Universally Civil

Universally Civil by Julie Bozza We were recently sent this article by Julie Bozza who has been editing a new anthology of Jane Austen inspired stories. In her article Julie gives some great examples of people and events within Austen’s novels which illustrate that she was an incredible humanist (as well as an amazing author). We hope you enjoy reading her article as much as we did!   *** Jane Austen’s novels appeal to a wide audience for many reasons. Her main characters are determined to make their own choices, and, although they conform to society’s gender roles, Austen treats the men and women as equally valuable. Vitally, her stories support the need to accept each other’s differences, and get along. I have recently had the honour of editing an anthology titled A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen’s novels. It features a wide range of stories – from Harriet Smith (of Emma) daydreaming about how romantic it must be to be stolen away in the night by a lady dressed as a man, and to be galloped off with across the moors by moonlight – to a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, with a modern-day Darcy in a reality TV dance show trying to live up to wearing Colin Firth’s britches, and more interested in his former dance-partner’s brother than in her. The idea behind the anthology may seem odd, as Jane Austen’s novels are usually seen as celebrating marriage between a man and a woman, (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 41

Jane Austen 200What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  Romance At The Centre  There was excitement in the Jane Austen Centre this week when one visitor was asked an unexpected question by her boyfriend, Jamie Scott. Charlotte, one of our centre guides, described what happened. “I only saw a little bit because I wanted to give them some private time. But by some luck, they were the only two in their talk. When they got to the writing desks, they were alone in the room with only me! While she was reading some of the information boards he wrote ‘Will you marry me?’ on one of the cards. “She then sat down at the other desk and he went and gave her his card. I had left at this point to give them a moment, but was just outside with Serena (another of our guides) when she said yes. He gave her the ring he had kept hidden until that moment, and then we came around the corner and congratulated them. She seemed overwhelmed. It was lovely!” Help Design Jane Austen Benches  Basingstoke and Deane is going to honour the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death by placing 25 specially decorated ‘BookBenches’ in and around the town during Summer 2017. Local artists are being invited to come up with their own Jane Austen related designs which will be put onto benches that look like open books. Eventually the benches will be available as street furniture for the public of Basingstoke and (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 40

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  The Jane Austen Centre Wins Award   The Jane Austen News are very pleased to announce that on Wednesday (19th October 2016), the Jane Austen Centre was awarded bronze in the Small Attraction of the Year category at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards 2016/17. Our guide ‘Lizzy Bennet’ (the lady in burgundy in the photo opposite) attended the awards as one of an audience of 288 guests who witnessed 66 trophies being presented to tourism businesses at the first ever Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards ceremony held at the hotel DoubleTree by Hilton. To get to this stage each the Jane Austen Centre had gone through a rigorous three-stage judging process, taking into account websites, reviews, social media, visits by industry ‘mystery visitors’ and finally a judging panel. Now all at the centre will be entered into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017, with eligible finalists also considered for the national Visit England Awards later in 2017. Fingers crossed! The Challenges of Making a Jane Austen Video Game  Judy L. Tyrer, founder of 3 Turn Productions, has just released a beta (trial version) for Ever, Jane, which is her massively multiplayer online game (MMO) set in Austen’s own setting, Regency Period England. There have been a few things that needed tweaking however in order to blend modern games with Austen’s novels, and Tyrer has been recently speaking about the challenges she’s faced in marrying the two very different worlds up. Usual (more…)