Posted on

Love and Friendship – Behind the scenes

Love and Friendship – Whit Stillman lets us in on some of the filming secrets. Want a sneak peek behind the scenes of the Making of ‘Love and friendship’? There are interviews, location shots and camera work on show in this handsome 6 minute feature given to us by Curzon Films. The film scored a remarkable 99% on the Rotten tomatoes site (30.5.16) as well as 7.5 out of 10 on the IMDB site. Not bad for an Austen adaptation. Even Metacritic rated it a creditable 87! Set in the opulent drawing rooms of eighteenth-century English society, Love and Friendship focuses on the machinations of a beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who, while waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica—and herself too, naturally. Many of the staff of the Jane Austen Centre have seen it and have given a resounding thumbs up for this fresh and witty take on Austen’s witty gem.   (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 18

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Pride and Prejudice vs. Jane Eyre As two of the most popular novels of all time, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre have an incredible number of spin-off books written about them. Two of the books tipped to be summer bestsellers this year are Eligible – a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Steele – a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. But do they both work in the modern era? The Jane Austen News came across an interesting argument from Constance Grady writing for online magazine Vox, that argues that perhaps one of them does not. Pride and Prejudice gave us an enduring romantic comedy formula, and it’s easy to update it with only minimal tweaking here and there. You can’t do the same thing with Jane Eyre. Brontë wasn’t writing anything like a romantic comedy or a comedy of manners — she was writing a gothic romance that was also an aspirational marriage plot.   Jane Eyre never condemns the love story between Jane and Rochester, madwoman in the attic be damned. It does not function if the book does not believe wholeheartedly in the rightness of Jane and Rochester’s marriage. So when you try to turn Jane Eyre into a contemporary romance, you have to fight against either the gothic elements or the marriage plot. The results are uncomfortable. What do you think? Can Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre be translated into modern day settings? Or are the stories purely of their time? Lady Susan Gets the Ending She Deserves? (more…)
Posted on

Love & Friendship Jane Austen News

Love & Friendship is acclaimed writer-director Whit Stillman’s adaptation of young Jane Austen’s novella ‘Lady Susan’, believed to have been written in the mid 1790s but only published by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, in 1871. Beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society. While ensconced there, she attracts the simultaneous attentions of the young, handsome Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel), the rich and silly Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett) and the divinely attractive, but married, Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin), complicating matters severely. But as always, Lady Susan has a plan… Featuring a note-perfect ensemble cast including Chloë Sevigny and Stephen Fry, Love & Friendship is a fresh, subversive and frequently hilarious take on the traditional period drama adaptation. Featuring a revelatory turn from Kate Beckinsale as the duplicitous but thoroughly charming Lady Susan Vernon, Love & Friendship is the sharpest, wittiest Jane Austen adaptation to grace the screen. Here’s a ‘Book to screen’ teaser for you to enjoy. Love & Friendship is released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 27 May. To celebrate this, a group of our guides from the Jane Austen Centre will be going in costume to our local independent cinema, The Little Theatre in Bath, where we’ll be demonstrating Regency etiquette and the language of the fan! To find out more about the upcoming release of Love & Friendship visit LoveAndFriendshipFilm.co.uk   ★★★★ ‘A rapier-sharp comedy’ The Times   (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 17

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Charlotte Rampling to Star in Film Adaptation of Sanditon       Charlotte Rampling, who has received an OBE for her services to the arts and who has previously played roles in hit period dramas such as The Duchess, is set to play the overbearing nouveau-riche Lady Denham in the never-before-screened story of Sanditon – the novel which Jane began before she died in 1817. The story centres around Charlotte Heywood, who is eager to experience polite society at leisure in the up and coming sea bathing resort of Sanditon. However, society is not so polite after all as she meets a string of unusual characters including a lecherous gentleman called Sir Edward, and a dashing but hopeless Sidney Parker, along with his hypochondriac sisters. Pascal Degove, managing director at Goldcrest Films who are responsible for the new adaptation said on the news of Charlotte Rampling’s being cast that she is; “responsible for so many indelible performances, she is perfect for the crucial role of the scheming Lady Denham. This is a genuinely fresh take on a well-loved genre – we expect enormous excitement from cinema-goers and distributors alike.” John Mullan on Why We Need Plot  John Mullan, author of the book What Matters in Jane Austen?, has written an article for The Guardian talking about how many of the modern novels and media which are currently being released lack a real sense of plot. In the course of his argument he picks out Emma as an example (more…)
Posted on

The Jane Austen Peacock: How a bird became an icon

The stunning new Jane Austen Peacock brooch, now available from our online gift shop, celebrates the long-standing association between this most handsome of fowl and Jane Austen’s comparably elegant Pride and Prejudice. As a motif, the peacock is indelibly linked with the novel; indeed so entrenched is the association that readers often assume peafowl must be mentioned somewhere within it, perhaps strutting around the grounds of Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s estate. Surprisingly, perhaps, the birds are mentioned nowhere in the book, nor for that matter do they appear in any of Jane’s other works. The association in fact only goes back to 1894, and to one of the most iconic cover designs with which the novels would ever be graced. Often referred to as the most beautiful edition of any Jane Austen novel, and selling for high prices in the collctors’ market, the 1894 George Allen edition of Pride and Prejudice has two notable claims to fame. First, in its introduction by critic George Saintsbury, it includes the first use of the term ‘Janeite’ (though Saintsbury spells it ‘Janite’).  And second, it was beautifully illustrated throughout by the prolific artist Hugh Thompson (1860 – 1920). But even more than the delightful illustrations within the novel, Thompson’s most important bequest to the iconography of Jane Austen’s works was his magnificent cover design: Why a Jane Austen Peacock? Rather than reproduce a specific scene from the novel, or any of its central characters, Thompson opted instead for a design that would serve as (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 16

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Harpist to Publish Jane’s Sheet Music      Fascinated by the music from the late 1700s and early 1800s, Malibu harpist Suzanne Guldimann has been busy compiling her ninth book of music for the Celtic harp, Music for the Netherfield Ball: Songs and Dances of Jane Austen’s Era, which will soon be available at Amazon. Guldimann’s new book focuses on selections from the Jane Austen Family Collection which Guldimann has transposed and arranged for the Celtic harp. Her source? In the mid-2000s, researchers compiling a bibliography on Jane Austen stumbled across the Austen family’s personal music collection, of which 18 volumes have survived and been put online. “Some of the music was copied by hand, some of it was printed and gathered up and bound, but there are three volumes that Jane copied down in her own handwriting, so we know she played that music,” Guldimann said. In Jane Austen’s era playing the harp provided young women with a way to charm potential suitors into marriage. Now, while we may no longer take up instruments in the hope of finding life partners (on the whole), at the Jane Austen News we do very much want to take up the harp so that we can try playing the music that Jane played. We can imagine that we’re not the only ones thinking this… Bustle: Inspiring The Internet Generation To Try Austen?    Bustle is a website well known for its popular culture and fashion articles (how to do (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 15

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Results From Elle Magazine’s Super Fan Survey      Elle magazine recently conducted a “super fan survey” in which they asked people who who considered themselves to be massive Pride and Prejudice fans questions on everything from where they were when they first read the book, to which Mr Darcy scene on screen has been the hottest. Few will be surprised to learn that the winning scene was Colin Firth emerging from the lake (54% of the votes), although a surprise entry on the list was Colin Firth emerging from the lake in Love Actually… (2%) Other results were that: 18% thought that Colin Firth has played Mr Darcy too much! In times of trouble some fans ask “Am I being Jane enough?” 55% of fans have read Pride and Prejudice 3 times or less while 24% have read it between 5 and 20 times, and 0.02% (we assume one fan) has read the book 35 times! Can anyone beat 35 times? The Owners of That First Edition of Persuasion Found    A short time ago the Jane Austen News reported on a first edition of Persuasion that had been found in a garage in the U.S. and then sent to Ayer Shirley Regional High School – as the inscription on the flyleaf said that the book’s first owner was Lillian M. Flood, who had received it as a prize speaking award at Ayer High School in 1900. Ayer Shirley Regional High School English Dept. head, Eleanor (more…)
Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 14

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Curtis Sittenfeld on Austen and Feminism      Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the latest release from the Austen Project – Eligible, which is a modern take on Austen’s well-loved Pride and Prejudice, said that she didn’t set out to explore Austen’s feminism or to write a feminist novel, yet that’s what she thinks she has ended up doing. “For women today marriage is no longer the only version of ‘happily ever after’,” said Sittenfeld. “For most 19th-century women financial wellbeing – which was closely linked to, if not synonymous with, their overall wellbeing – relied on marrying well.” Sittenfeld made clear in the article which she wrote for The Guardian what she wanted to bring to her modern take on Austen’s classic. “As a novelist, I wanted to illustrate that there is no longer just one version of “happily ever after”. A woman can marry a man and have children with him. She can also marry a woman, or no one – and she can eschew or embrace motherhood regardless of her romantic status.” Refusing Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice was a bold, and some would say feminist move, for Lizzy Bennet. Not so much today, so we look forward to seeing what a modern-day feminist Lizzy Bennet gets up to in Sittenfeld’s novel. The Fanny Price Wars    The Jane Austen News enjoyed reading a recent web publication from Marija Reiff at the University of Virginia. The fifteen page extract titled The (more…)