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Jane Austen News – Issue 150

The Jane Austen News looks to Huntington

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A Call to Date Like Jane Austen Would Have 

This week the Jane Austen News came across a lovely article published on Bustle. The article is a call to take a leaf out of the dating playbook (as it were) which was used in Jane Austen’s era. It details some of the old-fashioned ways in which couples used to court one another and grow closer as a partnership.

These were our favourites:

  • Take a long romantic walk together 

“Taking a long romantic walk was all the rage back in Jane Austen’s heyday, and it’s an underrated way to strengthen a bond with someone”

  • Go out dancing

In whatever style you like best!

  • Eat dinner together

It doesn’t have to be a candlelit meal with five courses. Just spending time together in a shared activity is the important thing.

  • Writing love letters

“Texts and emails are fine, too. But throwing in the occasional hand-written note is something that can be a great way to express how you really feel about someone.”

  • Create weekly rituals

“If you don’t already have them, it may be time to create a few daily or weekly rituals that are all your own, just like couples did before life got so busy.”

  • Bond over a board game 

Or a game of bridge with your neighbours. Or perhaps a game of badminton a la Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram.

*

We thought they sounded marvellous, and we’ll definitely be doing our best to remember to take a few more romantic strolls and write more love letters. Sometimes the old ones and the best ones.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 150

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Jane Austen News – Issue 149

The Jane Austen News marvels at old photographs

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Lost Photographs of Jane Austen’s Nieces


Lost photographs of Jane Austen’s nieces and nephews have been discovered in an old photo album which was purchased on eBay. Karen Levers, 51, bought the book of Victorian photographs for $1,000 (£780) from eBay, expecting it to be full of pictures of 19th century aristocrats. Instead she found it to be filled with photographs of Jane Austen’s nieces and nephews.

The album was compiled by Lord George Augusta Hill, an aristocrat who married two of Jane Austen’s nieces, Cassandra and Louisa, both of whom were daughters of her older brother Edward.

 

Austen’s great-niece Norah Mary Elizabeth Ward shortly after her wedding in April 1859.

 

The lady in this photograph is Austen’s niece, Marianne.

 

Jane Austen’s niece Fanny Knight, who later became Lady Knatchbull.

 

This picture shows Jane Austen’s nephew, Edward Knight, who scandalously eloped to marry his sister’s stepdaughter.

 

What a find! Historians are currently examining the album and it is hoped there will be an exhibition of the photos in the future.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 148

The Jane Austen News is that James McAvoy came to visit!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Feminist Library Saved from Closure

London’s Feminist Library has been saved from closure thanks to its supporters raising £35,000 towards its survival. Redevelopment plans had threatened it, but an influx of donations from hundreds of people mean that the volunteer-run archive in London can afford to move to new premises. The library was founded in 1975 during the second wave of the women’s liberation movement.

It’s archive brings together an extensive collection of feminist literature and “herstories” and is one of only three such facilities in the UK, but the building the library is housed in is now set to be redeveloped, meaning that the library needs to leave by spring this year.

An alternative space in Peckham was found by Southwark council, but the library needed to raise at least £30,000 to fund the move. Nearly 800 supporters helped to raise the funds to do this. However, library staff are still looking for a further £12,000. to cover additional costs which includes archival storage, blackout curtains and painting and decorating. Staff are also looking for volunteers to help sort through a backlog of 4,000 uncatalogued book donations ahead of the move.

[The library is] important today more than ever because it has one of the most unique collections of feminist materials … It is also one of the very few spaces on a mission to save feminist herstories. Over the last couple of years, [it] has saved thousands of items – books, periodicals and archives – in donations from individuals and organisations, including some who were having real difficulties finding a willing repository for their collections, which might have otherwise been lost to future generations of feminists.

Magda Oldziejewska, fundraising coordinator

At the Jane Austen News, we love stories of libraries being saved, and this is one story of a library being saved that we think Jane would have loved since it’s a story of women’s writing winning against the odds.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 147

The Jane Austen News looks forward to Sanditon

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Happy Public Domain Day! 


On January the 1st 2019, hundreds of works of art entered the U.S. public domain following a delay of two decades!

Thanks to a bill which extended copyright terms in 1998, one which was urged in by the Walt Disney Company (in a bid to protect Mickey Mouse) this huge release of early twentieth century works into the public domain hasn’t happened for 21 years. This created a “bizarre 20-year hiatus between the release of works from 1922 and 1923.”

At the Jane Austen News, we really enjoy seeing how out-of-copyright works (such as Pride and Prejudice) can be used to be the basis of, and the inspiration for, new works of art – both literary and visual. Thanks to public domain laws we’ve been able to see stage productions of Jane’s books, new films, and new fiction (What Kitty Did Next and Death Comes to Pemberley for example). We’re therefore highly keen to see what the new release of work may lead to.

Some of the works which are now in the public domain include:

  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Two of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Murder on the Links
  • A Son At The Front by Edith Wharton
  • Poetry by Robert Frost
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Jane Austen News – Issue 146

The Jane Austen News is The Return of the Hero

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


The Two Kinds of Jane Austen Fan

E.M. Dadlez, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma, this week published an article which puts Jane Austen fans into two separate camps. One side is for Pride and Prejudice and Emma, while the other one emphatically embraces the Austen of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. “One cannot love both, not equally, not without reservations about one or the other set of works, even if one likes and admires all of Austen’s writing.”

We were intrigued by this and read further.

The heroines of these novels are near opposites, but each novel provides the same clear, strong focus on issues involving autonomy and autonomous agency. They just do so from diametrically opposed perspectives.

Perhaps the kind of preference which Austen lovers are wont to note involves a preference for one or the other of the following: an interest in forging independence or an interest in respecting that of others, an interest in self-development and autonomous agency, or an interest in recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others. Emma and Persuasion are both stories of change and self-development and maturation, one chronicling a turning inward and self reflection, the next describing a turning outward and a venturing forth into the world.

At the Jane Austen Centre, visitors do often say that they have a strong preference for either Emma or for Persuasion, but perhaps this might explain why. A highly interesting hypothesis either way.

The full article can be accessed here.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 145

The Jane Austen News expands its to-read list

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A Plethora of Period Dramas

We’re really looking forward to Christmas this year! As well as spending time with family and friends and partaking of delicious food and drink, we have some amazing programmes coming up on the BBC that are on our “must watch” (or tape for later) list!

The BBC has announced that an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders starring John Malkovich and Rupert Grint will be shown. Also coming up will be a new version of Watership Down, featuring the voices of John Boyega, Olivia Colman, Sir Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Peter Capaldi and Mackenzie Crook. However, most exciting for us, is the upcoming six-part non-musical take on Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, with Dominic West as Jean Valjean, and also starring David Oyelowo and Lily Collins.

We also have good news if you don’t live in the US and don’t have access to the BBC though. Amazon Prime has snapped up the rights to show The ABC Murders in the US, and and Watership Down is a co-production with Netflix so that will be available to those outside the UK as well. Meanwhile, Les Miserables is a co-production with the US network Masterpiece. So American fans of period dramas – keep an eye out for that coming to your screens.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 144

the jane austen news is a new adaptation of emma

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A New Film Adaptation of Emma

UK production company Working Title Films is in the early stages of producing a new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. 

The screenplay for the new film is being written by Eleanor Catton (Catton’s name may be familiar as she won the 2013 Man Booker Prize with her New Zealand-set novel The Luminaries, which is currently being turned into a TV series by Working Title Television), and this new film of Emma will be the directorial feature debut of American photographer and video director Autumn De Wilde.

Anya Taylor-Joy (pictured above) stars as Emma Woodhouse. In the past she has appeared in Endeavour, and as the lead in the BBC adaptation of Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist.

Details are limited at present, but filming is expected to be underway in the UK next spring.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 143

The Jane Austen News goes to The Vyne

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Austen Heard It Through The Vyne?

This week The Telegraph newspaper published an online article about a house in Sherborne St John near Basingstoke in Hampshire called The Vyne. The reason it caught the eye of the Jane Austen News is because it has been suggested that Jane Austen may have based her Mansfield Park heroine Fanny Price on Caroline Wiggett, who went to live at The Vyne in 1803 aged three, having been plucked from a pool of poor distant relations and adopted by the childless couple who lived there, William John Chute and his wife Eliza.

It is thought that Jane may have come into contact with the Chutes as her brother James Austen was appointed Rector of Sherborne St.John by William Chute, and so he moved in the same social circles as the Chutes and attend parties thrown at The Vyne. Certainly, Jane would at least have known about the family and the case of Caroline Wiggett’s adoption.

However, having said that, and just to play devil’s advocate, rich relations adopting a child from poor relations was by no means a rare occurrence which Jane could only have thought of by hearing of Caroline Wiggett. For one thing, another of her brothers, Edward Austen, was adopted by rich relations and went on to become a very wealthy landowner.

It’s an interesting house (following one of his regular visits there, The Vyne is also believed to have inspired Horace Walpole to build his 18th-century gothic castle in Twickenham, Strawberry Hill) and the Caroline Wiggett-Fanny Price connection is a fun speculation to explore at any rate.

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