This week the Jane Austen News has put our book recommendation for the week as the first item in the news as we’ve had such a lovely time exploring the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary of 19th Century Language.
The illustrated dictionary is a new release this month and, unlike most dictionaries, is one we found ourselves reading more like a novel than a reference guide. Rather than dipping in and out for a definition for an unfamiliar word, we found ourselves too intrigued to stop at one definition, and instead felt drawn to keep turning pages.
Oxford University Press’s website describes the book thus:
This browsable and unique dictionary explains the interesting words found in 19th century texts studied at secondary school. With clear explanations, panels, and an illustrated section of photographs and artworks on the themes of transport, crime, fashion and more, it is an essential guide to help students enjoy 19th century literature.
A one-of-a-kind dictionary that makes sense of the language of 19th century texts for GCSE students and beyond. Over 3000 words and meanings, including example sentences, and help with unfamiliar usage and dialects. Includes an illustrated section of photographs and artworks which brings alive the social context, politics and scientific developments in the 1800s.
We’d say that this is a good book for anyone who enjoys reading 18th and 19th century literature, not just students. In fact we enjoyed it so much that it was the inspiration for this weeks quiz.
If you’d like to find out more, or purchase your own copy (we couldn’t resist stocking it), you can do either or both here.
Lyme Park in Cheshire is possibly better known to Pride and Prejudice fans as Pemberley. In 1995 its grounds were used as the filming location for Mr Darcy’s great estate. It’s also at Lyme Park that the famous Colin Firth lake scene was filmed.
Well, one lucky person will soon be spending a lot of time at “Pemberley”, as applications to become its new gardener closed on May 13th.
Lyme Park, which is owned by the National Trust, was advertising for a new gardener as Gary Rainford, Lyme’s head gardener, retired last month after spending over 47 years looking after the grounds and gardens.
As the Cheshire property embarks on an ambitious project to dramatically change the infrastructure and re-interpret the historic landscapes, this is a great opportunity for someone to lead the next chapter of Lyme’s rich garden history.
Lyme is a garden of contrasts; nestled on the edge of the Peak District it is carved out of the moorland and woodland it is surrounded by. The challenge of it being the second highest garden in the National Trust adds to its uniqueness.
Although we’d rather be Lizzy Bennet and be mistress of Pemberley, we certainly wouldn’t say no to spending everyday in its grounds as the new head gardener!
At the Jane Austen News we’re fans of the physical book, and if you are too you may have been very pleased to hear that the once highly-worrying trend towards ebooks, and away from physical books, which had booksellers worried a few years ago, has noticeably declined again.
Nielson BookData reports showed that, in 2016, ebook unit sales from the top 30 traditional publishers were down 16% from their 2015 numbers. They’ve dropped again this year by a further 10%. Meanwhile, physical book sales are up by 1.9% in 2017, and were up by 3.3% in 2016.
That’s not to say that books are losing popularity necessarily and that we’re reading less. Amazon sees a huge number (over 750, 000) of self-published ebook titles launched on its website each year. Rather the figures show that the physical book is still much beloved, and that traditionally published ebook from publishing houses aren’t do so well. The data doesn’t include sales of self-published ebooks, which is becoming much more popular with writers, and also with readers. The hugely popular romance novelist H.M. Ward has made millions of dollars of sales from her ebooks in past few years. So perhaps we’re just buying more self-published ebook titles? Only Amazon can say for sure, and they’re not telling.
Either way, what do you prefer? Physical books or ebooks?
(By the way, if you’d like to read more about the mystery surrounding ebook publication data you might like this article)
In 2016 Hallmark Channel released its original film, Unleashing Mr Darcy, which saw the story of Pride and Prejudice adapted to a new setting – that of a dog show. Mr Darcy in this case was the snobbish judge and Lizzy was the owner of one of the entrants.
This year, following a highly positive response from Hallmark Channel fans, comes its sequel, Marrying Mr Darcy.
Schoolteacher Elizabeth Scott and businessman/philanthropist Donovan Darcy are blissfully in love and newly engaged. With Donovan in agreement, Elizabeth looks forward to planning a small autumn wedding with the help of her mother and sister. After Donovan’s previously scornful Aunt Violet makes a heartfelt apology for her past behavior, Elizabeth is glad to include her in the planning process.
However, the wedding planning gets out of hand, and the event seems to be becoming much larger than originally planned, leaving Elizabeth to wonder if that’s how things will always feel once she becomes Mrs. Darcy. It doesn’t help matters that Donovan is still always so busy with work that he barely has time for her. Are they just too different? Should they even get married after all?
The film premieres in the U.S. on June 2nd at 9pm (EDT) on the Hallmark Channel. It is the first film in the channel’s June Weddings event, which includes the airing of four brand-new wedding-themed movies, of which Marrying Mr Darcy is the first.
The University of California, Los Angeles (better known perhaps as UCLA) has recently conducted our kind of marathon. Rather than running 26 miles, on May the 8th at 9am, students, professors and members of the LA community began their relay reading marathon. Over the course of 24 hours the readers took it in turns to read the entirety of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea.
The aim of the marathon was to add new communal dimensions to the reading experience, and to redefine the understanding of what literature can be through discussion of current events that related to the books. These included feminism and mental health.
The event aimed to make the classical books more accessible for students, both by reframing the literature in terms of modern-day relevance and by encouraging participants to drop in throughout the day – between classes and meetings – to observe the reading for as long or as short a time as they like.
What an excellent idea!
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