What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
A Mystery and A First Edition of Persuasion
An English teacher named Eleanor Capasso from Ayer-Shirley Regional High School in Massachusetts recently received a rather mysterious package. Opening the parcel Capasso found that the English department of the school had been sent what appears to be a first edition of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. It was a little tattered (as you can see) but that did nothing to lessen her excitement. She hurriedly got on the trail to find out more about it.
Capasso said the book was sent to the school by Alice B. Bantle. Bantle explained in the letter which accompanied the book that she had found it in a box of auction house “junk” in her mother’s garage. Bantle had read the inscription on the inside of the book, and seeing that the original owner was a woman named Lillian M. Flood who had won the book as a prize in May 1900 at Ayer High School, Bantle sent the book to the school in the hope that it could be reunited with the it’s rightful owners.
The owners are yet to be found, but Capasso is currently in the process of trying to trace the Flood family via the town’s record office.
Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today
At Jane Austen News we were delighted to discover that Mr Darcy is inspiring some of the men of today to be a little more romantic.
In an article published on online magazine Verily, self-confessed “sports-crazy, competitive guy” Justin Petrisek explained how his “greatest wealth of dating knowledge has been gleaned from non-other than Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice.”
Some of the top things he’d learnt have been that “real love is never a trial-free affair”, and that “it’s okay to be vulnerable, because without vulnerability there is no chance of authentic love.”
The full article is available here. We just hope that maybe more men will follow Justin’s lead and start looking to Jane for life advice!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Showing Us The Way Forward
Bernie Su, the man behind the interactive digital adaptations of Emma and Pride and Prejudice (check out Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to see what we mean) has been speaking recently about the best way we can tell stories now.
In the Georgian era, plays and books ruled supreme, but with so much more technology around today more and more stories are being shown using digital means such as Facebook and Youtube. Su says that one of the key elements of his storytelling was to create online social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Lookbook for each of the characters in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and to use those platforms to interact directly with fans.
For some younger fans this was their first introduction to the world of Jane Austen. One they may not have found without Su’s interactive digital update of Pride and Prejudice. Might this be an upcoming trend? The new direction for audiences across the world?
We watch with interest to see what else Bernie Su does in future. Hopefully some more Jane Austen adaptations!
Mr Wickham – Unpunished?
Mr Wickham has been named by The Guardian as one of the most annoyingly unpunished characters in literature. He was beaten only by Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men and Big Brother in 1984.
As much as we know that really, in terms of karma, Mr Wickham deserved at the very least to end up heartbroken and penniless (which knowing him is a state he almost certainly led a few girls into), we do wonder; did he really receive no punishment at all? Or would being married to Lydia start to lose its charm after a while…?
Mr Bingley and Bridget Jones
While reading a recent article online about the similarities between Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’ Diary (e.g. both open with the words “it is a truth universally acknowledged”, and both Bridget and Lizzy have overbearing mothers) the Jane Austen News came across a little factoid that we’d not realised before.
While we knew that Colin Firth appeared in both the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini series playing Mr Darcy, and in Bridget Jones’ Diary playing Mark Darcy, we hadn’t noticed that Crispin Bonham Carter also appeared in both films. In the 1995 mini series Crispin plays the charming Mr Bingley, and in Bridget Jones’ Diary he also makes an appearance as an employee of Pemberley Press, which is the newspaper Bridget works for.
You learn something new everyday.
Barnes and Noble’s Austen Must-Reads
Top American bookseller Barnes and Noble recently published an article on their website naming the top five must-read recent Austen themed books. Their list went thus:
- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice)
- Emma by Alexander McCall Smith (a modern retelling of Emma (surprise surprise))
- Austenland by Shannon Hale (an original story)
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice)
- Longbourn by Jo Baker (an original story based on Pride and Prejudice)
Do you agree? What would you pick? Or are you an Austen-purist and only the original novels will do?
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