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Jane Austen News – Issue 115

the jane austen news has a new favourite picture book

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Over-the-Top Austen On PC

At the Jane Austen News we rather suspect that this latest Austen-based PC game is going to be a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. There is no middle ground.

Tongue-in-cheek satirical strategy game Austen Translation is due for release on the website Steam on May the 1st. In it, players play as young unmarried women of uncertain means who have just one social season in which to find an eligible man to marry so as to save themselves and their family from humiliation and destitution. Though, naturally, there will be fierce rivalries and obstacles to overcome along the way.

Austen Translation pokes fun at the world of Jane Austen, particularly the preconceived ideas of how men and women should behave. The game takes Jane’s genteel brand of satire and sends it over the top.

 

What do you think? Good fun? Or a step too far?


The Great American Read

The American broadcaster PBS has launched the Great American Read, which is a national reading challenge designed, on one hand, to get the nation talking about books and the magic of reading, and also on the other hand, to find America’s most loved novel.

In the running are plenty of iconic, classic books. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is in there, as is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, JRR Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, and Douglas Adams’s The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Though our favourite to win is, naturally, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Great American Read will take the form of an eight-part series of two-hour documentaries which explore some of the concepts common to some of the titles. At the end of the series a poll will be held to determine the nation’s favourite book.

The series begins on the 22nd of May and producers have said it will be “the most expansive national celebration of books and reading, aimed at engaging multi-generational readers across platforms, ever created.”

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Pride and Prejudice!


A Peek at the Porters – Jane’s Contemporaries

Jane Austen fans may well be familiar with the name and work of Professor Devoney Looser. Professor Looser is an authority on all things Jane Austen, and on the 18th century in general. She’s had essays published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and the TLS to name but a few. She’s also the author of the excellent book, The Making of Jane Austen.

Well, her new project may not be focused on Jane, but it sounds fascinating, and one which we’re sure other Jane Austen fans like those of us here at the Jane Austen News will be keen to read about.

Devoney Looser has been studying the early 19th century literary sisters Jane and Anna Maria Porter for more than a decade. Now she’s ready to start compiling all those years of research into a book about the sisters. The book will explore their contributions to literature as well as their remarkable personal lives. Like many incredible female historical figures, their legacy has been neglected.

I’m not bringing back two writers who were obscure, but two writers who were accomplished, famous and were recognised. And we’ve just forgotten them.

Devoney Looser

However, unlike Jane, whose novels were set in (then) modern times, the Porters were some of the very first writers of what is now known as the historical novel. In fact one critic called Jane Porter’s bestselling novel Thaddeus of Warsaw “the Gone with the Wind of 1803″.

You can learn a bit more about Professor Looser’s project in the video below:

We don’t know about you, but we’re really looking forward to finding out more about the Porters!


An Event For Those in Norfolk

Holkham Hall, the 18th century Palladian style house which is the seat of the Earls of Leicester to this day, is hosting An Evening With Jane Austen to help raise money for the day care services at Heritage House in Wells-next-the-sea.

Set in the Marble Hall, the evening will include some of the best Austen duologues, as performed by Jane Austen Festival favourite Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and soon to be starring in Poldark), and Caroline Langrishe, of Lovejoy and Judge John Deed fame.

The evening will also feature musical interludes from the Regency era and beyond, performed by harpist Louisa Duggan and soprano Rosie Lomas.

The event takes place on Sunday May 6 at 7pm. Tickets cost £50 and are available to buy from Holkham Ticket Office on 01328 713111.


This Week’s Book Recommendation

This week our book recommendation is one for younger readers (or, equally, for the young at heart and picture book fans).

Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen (or Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl to give it its full title) is a book written by award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Qin Leng.

The charming book aimed at ages 4-8 introduces children to the amazing writer who is Jane Austen. As well as containing really beautiful artwork, the book features a timeline from Jane’s life and quotes from Austen’s most popular novels.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers.
But before that, she was just an ordinary girl.
In fact, young Jane was a bit quiet and shy; if you had met her back then, you might not have noticed her at all. But she would have noticed you.


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

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