What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Reworked Pride and Prejudice Set To Top Summer Book Charts
In recent years, as part of a project that has paired six writers with Austen’s six novels and asked them to reimagine them for the twenty-first century, we’ve seen Alexander McCall Smith bring out Emma, Joanna Trollope write a new Sense and Sensibility, and Val McDermid setting Northanger Abbey at the Edinburgh Fringe. This summer it’s the turn of Curtis Sittenfeld who has taken what is arguably Austen’s best loved novel, Pride and Prejudice, and brought it a couple of hundred years forward in time; planting the Bennet clan in Cincinnati.
The new Pride and Prejudice book is called Eligible, and in it Lydia and Kitty are gym-obsessed, Mrs Bennet is a shopaholic and Elizabeth is a journalist. And the big issue in Eligible? There’s still a burning need to get married, but the other big problem is that of 40 year-old Lizzy and Jane’s ticking biological clocks and their desire for babies.
Whatever the various opinions may be of the new version of Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, one thing that most people can agree on is this: as everyone gets hold of their copy to see what the fuss is about, Eligible looks set to top the summer book charts.
The Illustrated Biography of Jane Austen
More book news – another new release that has caught the eye of the Jane Austen News is that of Chronicle Books’ new illustrated biography of Jane Austen.
Chronicle Books has begun a series of books about important people in history, in relatively short, beautifully illustrated volumes. Though not long, these books contain plenty of detail and the pages are filled with lovely water-colour illustrations alongside handwritten words that celebrate Jane Austen’s life, detail facts from her life, and also included are extracts from some of her letters.
Jane Austen’s biography, along with that of Virginia Woolf, is the first volume to be released in Chronicle’s new series called Library of Luminaries, though many other women are due to be featured later on, including Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel.
‘The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London’
Despite it’s title, Nile Green’s new book The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London, actually has very little to do with Jane Austen, at least directly. Unfortunately there is no evidence that Jane Austen ever met — or even knew of — the young Iranians at the center of this fascinating account.
However, what this book does offer Jane Austen fans is a real insight into the relationship that existed between two very different cultures, that were still on the whole largely alien to one another. It draws on the accounts that one of the Iranian research students wrote while on their visit to England, and tells of what they were hoping to find, what they did find, and what their impressions of Georgian Britain were.
Although it might not have much to do with Jane Austen directly, this is a great read for history fans and fans of Jane Austen alike; it really gives you an insight into some of the scientific and philosophical movements of the time. We at Jane Austen News certainly found it an interesting read.
For Sale: An Estate To Rival Pemberley
Trafalgar Park, the country mansion and once family seat of what is perhaps Britain’s greatest ever war hero, Admiral Nelson, is now up for sale, and it reminds us a lot of Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice.
The Grade I listed Georgian house is set within protected parkland in Wiltshire and is, among other things, a popular wedding venue, and has also been in demand as a setting for movies and television series. It featured in the 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, with Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson, and again in the 1996 TV adaptation of Emma, starring Kate Beckinsale.
Its current owner Michael Wade bought the property in 1995 when parts of it had fallen into such disrepair that major renovation work was required. He is sad to be selling such an gem of a property, both a gem in terms of history and in terms of its aesthetics, but the £12 million he’s asking for it should help to cushion the blow a little… If only we had £12 million we’d be snapping it up in an instant!
Alton Composer Pays Tribe To Jane
Ahead of next year’s 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, two works written by composer Philip Andrews – his Chawton House Suite and his Jane Austen Suite, which are inspired directly by Jane and her final home, are going to be made available to Jane Austen interest groups this summer.
As well as these two suites, other examples of Andrews’ music, which were professionally recorded by the production manager for the Oxford Contemporary Music Festival, are to be issued on a CD for distribution. Some will be for sale, others will be distributed to performers across the UK for consideration as part of their 2017 programmes.
Andrews hopes that his music will help to remind people all around the world (his music will be available online) of the importance of next year in relation to Jane Austen.
Jane Austen Biographies Free To Read
Great news for Austen fans – there are many full length biographies of Austen’s life available to read or download online for free, or with very little cost. The problem is finding them and knowing which ones are the best to read.
So, to help you out we’ve written an article which tells you all about the different biographies that are online, where to find them, and what they contain; after all, one biography is not the same as another by any means, even if they are about the same person.
The full article is available to read here.
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