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Jane Austen News – Issue 14

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

Curtis Sittenfeld on Austen and Feminism     
2560Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the latest release from the Austen Project – Eligible, which is a modern take on Austen’s well-loved Pride and Prejudice, said that she didn’t set out to explore Austen’s feminism or to write a feminist novel, yet that’s what she thinks she has ended up doing.

“For women today marriage is no longer the only version of ‘happily ever after’,” said Sittenfeld. “For most 19th-century women financial wellbeing – which was closely linked to, if not synonymous with, their overall wellbeing – relied on marrying well.”

Sittenfeld made clear in the article which she wrote for The Guardian what she wanted to bring to her modern take on Austen’s classic. “As a novelist, I wanted to illustrate that there is no longer just one version of “happily ever after”. A woman can marry a man and have children with him. She can also marry a woman, or no one – and she can eschew or embrace motherhood regardless of her romantic status.”

Refusing Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice was a bold, and some would say feminist move, for Lizzy Bennet. Not so much today, so we look forward to seeing what a modern-day feminist Lizzy Bennet gets up to in Sittenfeld’s novel.

The Fanny Price Wars   

Mansfield.Park.0357The Jane Austen News enjoyed reading a recent web publication from Marija Reiff at the University of Virginia. The fifteen page extract titled The “Fanny Price Wars”: Jane Austen’s Enlightenment Feminist and Mary Woolstonecraft discusses how Fanny Price the, it would seem controversial, heroine of Mansfield Park has been received by readers who range from academics to Jane’s own family.

We knew that quite a few visitors to the Jane Austen Centre aren’t Fanny’s biggest fans, but we didn’t know that so many members of Jane’s family agreed – Mrs Austen said that she found Fanny to be “insipid”.

If you’d like to read it, Marija’s publication can be found here.

Free Film Screening and A Very Special Visit

571a964fad903.imageWe’re quite envious of anyone living near Midland Public Library in Texas at the moment. Love and Friendship, the film of Jane Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan, is soon to be released and we are certainly planning to go and see it. However anyone near Midland Public Library is particularly in for a treat as today (Tuesday April 26th) the library will be offering a free screening of the film, followed by a discussion from the film’s director Walt Stillman.

We’re sure it will be a great event and that this will be a great film. It’s clear that Stillman has a real passion for Jane Austen and that Love and Friendship has been a labour of love for him.

“I knew I could bring something of value to this but I knew it would take a long time to mine the gold and gems of the story. I didn’t tell anyone about it and just worked on it when I didn’t have to work on other things. To make it playable took years and years.”

Jane Austen on the £10…and Ada Lovelace on the £5?  
jane-austen-LLWe were delighted when we first heard that Jane Austen was going to be featured on the £10 bank note in 2017. Especially as it wasn’t an easy campaign to get her there. Caroline Criado-Perez fought hard against some real opposition to have her on the note once she learnt that Elizabeth Fry would no longer be on the £5. No women at all on bank notes (excepting the Queen) was not something she was going to stand for.

But as America gets set to have eight women featuring in their new designs for 2020, Marie Claire magazine has asked why we should be limited to one woman only. They’ve suggested crime writer Agatha Christie, Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole, mathematician Ada Lovelace, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, and the overlooked DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin as potential featured women. Who would you pick to join Jane Austen on our bank notes?

Pointless Couple Mistake Miss Eyre for Miss Austen     

pointless-coupleSlip up on your Jane Austen and you can be pretty sure that somewhere nearby there will be a Jane devotee who will feel it is their duty to kindly put you straight. This can be a little embarrassing for the person who made the slip up, but at least not too many people will have seen it. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to David who appeared on last Tuesday’s (19.4.2016) episode of the BBC quiz show Pointless.

When asked who was the author behind the novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey  David’s answer was Jane Eyre. Of course not only is Jane Eyre not the right answer, but she is also not a real person and is instead the heroine in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Unsurprisingly plenty of people on social media were up in arms at the double literary faux-pas…

Reasons Why Regency Fashion Rocks!

img_0540Forget modern day ripped jeans and body-con dresses – fashions in the Regency era hold the prize for style in our eyes. The Jane Austen News recently came across a blog that reminded us of a few of the reasons why we love Regency dress, so we thought we’d share them with you too.


  1. Empire waistline dresses. (Comfy!)
  2. Bonnets. (Practical and stylish in the sun.)
  3. Parasols. (Romantic and elegant.)
  4. Men in breeches. (No explanation needed.)

Our thanks to Scout Hardin at the WKU Herald for reminding us how much we love our Regency wardrobes.

Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane 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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