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Jane Austen News – Issue 123

Jane Austen News

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Audiobooks More Engaging Than Films Says Study

A UCL (University College London) study, backed by Audible, has found that the unconscious responses we have to scenes from books are strongest when we listen to the book in the auditory format as opposed to that of television or film.

UCL researchers measured the physical reactions of 102 participants aged between 18 and 67 to audio and video depictions of scenes from books. The scenes were chosen based on their “emotional intensity”, and for having minimal differences between the audio and video adaptations. Among the scenes chosen were Clarice’s interview with Dr Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, Mr Darcy’s successful proposal to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and in The Hound of the Baskervilles, they heard and saw the first description of the beast.

As the participants watched or listened, the academics measured their heart rate and electrodermal activity. The participants were also asked questions about their experiences after listening to/viewing the scenes, and although the participants said they felt that the videos were “more engaging” than the audiobooks by an average of 15%, their physiological responses disagreed with this. The participant’s heart rates were higher by an average of two beats a minute, and body temperatures raised by approximately two degrees when listening to the audiobooks.

Little wonder then that spending on audiobooks has more than doubled since 2013, leaping from £12m to £31m in 2017, according to figures from the Publishers Association!


Emma Approved To Launch New App

If, like us, you have ever wished that you could be in a Jane Austen novel then this next bit of news may make you very happy. The Emma Approved writer Bernie Su (if you’ve not heard of Emma Approved before: it’s a web series published on Youtube which sees Austen’s Emma Woodhouse re-imagined in the modern world as a young lifestyle coach and matchmaking entrepreneur) is about to launch a new story with the Moment Stories app. This is an app which is delivered in a text chat format, so you can meet and interact with characters like your own friends. Recently the Emma Approved team published a BETA version of the first three “moments” of the story, but the full version will be available to download and ‘play’ soon.

The Moment Stories app, which works on both iOS and Android systems, sees you become the new digital intern at the Emma Approved company. It is your job, along with the help of Emma, Knightley and Harriet, to help make the dreams of a challenging new client come true. A new client who…**spoiler alert**….is Anne Elliot from Persuasion!

If you fancy losing yourself in the Emma Approved app then keep an eye on the Jane Austen News and we’ll update you when we know more!

(N.B. Miss Henrietta who works at the Jane Austen Online Giftshop and who may have left you a “packed-by” note when you last ordered from us was able to download and try the first three moments of the app and loved the story so far!)


A Jane Austen Scholar – A Must For A Board Game

Fanny Price and Mary Crawford in Mansfield ParkTwo copyright specialists from the UK have designed a board game to help research students and early-career researchers understand copying and licensing choices.

Jane Secker and Chris Morrison have created what is being called the ‘academic Game of Life’, but which is officially titled The Publishing Trap, in the hope that copyright literacy will be better understood across the library and cultural sector in the UK.

The reason we mention it in the Jane Austen News is because of the four characters (all academics whose career life cycles the game charts, from PhD submission to professorship) one of them is a Jane Austen scholar, the others being an astrophysicist, a criminologist and a microbiologist.

We thought that it might be a game a few of our Jane Austen scholar readers might be interested to have a play of to see if the game reflects a few of the issue they may have met. The game can be downloaded for free from Secker and Morrison’s UK copyright Literacy website.


Congratulations to Emma Thompson!

Last week we congratulated Keira Knightley (aka Lizzy Bennet 2005) on her OBE. Shortly afterwards we received an email from Colleen G.

Not to detract from Keira Knightley’s OBE, but what about Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood) being awarded a DBE? Not only did she act in Sense & Sensibility but she also wrote the award-winning screenplay.

Quite right! We weren’t aware of (now Dame) Emma Thompson’s inclusion on the list, and we’re delighted to hear that such an excellent actress (and a huge Jane Austen fan) has been so honoured.  Huge congratulations to Dame Emma!


Playing Around With Jane in Scotland

“Imagine an all-female cast in regency costume doing Pride and Prejudice with guitars.[…] I think we both felt we wanted to do something that audiences who might not have any association with Jane Austen’s work could still have fun with and sparkle. It’s important for us that there’s no stuffiness there.”

These are the words of Isobel McArthur, co-founder of the Blood of the Young theatre company, talking about adapting Pride and Prejudice for the stage along with her co-founder Paul Brotherson. The company have created “Pride and Prejudice* *(Sort Of)“; an five-actor, all-female production featuring glitter balls, karaoke, balloons and guitars.

“So many scenes in the novel are set at balls. They were exciting events for young women coming from that background, because that was where the match-making happened. We thought of doing something similar for now with karaoke, and putting a whole load of karaoke classics into the mix.”

What fun! We really like this idea so thought we’d share the news of the new production (a new and improved version of an old production which they have done). We also rather hope they’ll take the show on tour after its run at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, where the show will be playing from June 28th – July 14th this year.


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 Online Magazine.

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