What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Charlotte Rampling to Star in Film Adaptation of Sanditon
Charlotte Rampling, who has received an OBE for her services to the arts and who has previously played roles in hit period dramas such as The Duchess, is set to play the overbearing nouveau-riche Lady Denham in the never-before-screened story of Sanditon – the novel which Jane began before she died in 1817.
The story centres around Charlotte Heywood, who is eager to experience polite society at leisure in the up and coming sea bathing resort of Sanditon. However, society is not so polite after all as she meets a string of unusual characters including a lecherous gentleman called Sir Edward, and a dashing but hopeless Sidney Parker, along with his hypochondriac sisters.
Pascal Degove, managing director at Goldcrest Films who are responsible for the new adaptation said on the news of Charlotte Rampling’s being cast that she is; “responsible for so many indelible performances, she is perfect for the crucial role of the scheming Lady Denham. This is a genuinely fresh take on a well-loved genre – we expect enormous excitement from cinema-goers and distributors alike.”
John Mullan on Why We Need Plot
John Mullan, author of the book What Matters in Jane Austen?, has written an article for The Guardian talking about how many of the modern novels and media which are currently being released lack a real sense of plot. In the course of his argument he picks out Emma as an example of a novel which uses plot incredibly effectively.
In other densely plotted novels there is usually a character who has been chosen to enact the reader’s curiosity. A brilliant exploration of this curiosity is Jane Austen’s Emma, whose heroine is convinced that she can decode the true desires and motivations of those around her. Emma has a plot in a way that other Austen novels do not, because, beneath the surface of what Emma herself can observe, there is a hidden story.
As John Mullan points out, Jane was not only excellent at picking out the finer details of a person’s character, but she was also brilliant at writing a good plot too. No wonder we still love her.
Feminist Lessons From Jane
Bustle’s latest article in its series which have been focusing on the works of Jane Austen has moved away from quotes from each of the novels and has instead detailed a feminist lesson that can be learned from each of Jane’s heroines.
For Anne Elliot from Persuasion the lesson was to be true to yourself, and don’t let societal expectations restrict your happiness. For Catherine from Northanger Abbey it was that women should be able to freely and honestly speak their mind. For Elizabeth Bennet the lesson was not to let other people’s terms define your own actions. For Emma the lesson was simply that “girls run the world”. And for Fanny Price of Mansfield Park the moral was that women always have the right to chose (in her case to chose who to marry), and need to protect it.
It’s nice to see that Bustle is helping to spread the word about Jane’s wonderful works!
Fashion and Mourning in Lady Susan
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, the costume designer for the upcoming film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, has been speaking about the choices she made to show Lady Susan’s transition from mourning widow to social butterfly.
“If you actually laid out the costumes, it goes from black to black and grey to mauve, more of the mourning colors for the time, and every time she’s in the country she’s affecting the widow and trying to be discreet, but when she goes to London, the colors change.”
At this point when Lady Susan goes to London she opts for more brighter hues, and wears corseted gowns in light pink, scarlet, and purple (but with black lace, as purple was still a common mourning colour). We at the Jane Austen News think it’s nice to see this progression from mourning portrayed on screen. Mourning was a common state to be in at the time, but not one that is very often expanded upon.
Jane and Fringe Theatre and Puppets
As part of Brighton’s 2016 Fringe Festival, the theatre company Box Tale Soup has been performing their adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. It’s not like your average stage adaptation though. This one has been done with puppets. Which for some people will be a really interesting and fun change, but the show is a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love it or hate it.
One review of the show said that
This show has charm aplenty. The sheer artistry alone is impressive: the company devise the piece and make the puppets and props themselves – primarily out of paper, which gives them a pleasingly retro feel.
An interesting idea. We wonder if there’ll be other Austen novels adapted in the same way by Box Tale Soup at some point in the future…
Jane and Brunel Welcome Journalists to the West
To celebrate the fact that WOW Air has just started flying three flights a week to Bristol from several destinations in the USA (including Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC) and Canada (including flights to Montreal and Toronto) via Iceland, journalists from the USA, Canada and Iceland visited Bath this week for a three-day long press visit focusing on food, drink and spa. “Jane Austen” and “Isambard Kingdom Brunel” went out to Bristol airport to meet them.
The reason we’re excited about this at the Jane Austen News is that we hope this means that more of Jane’s fans from the U.S. and Canada will be able to visit Bath and come to the Jane Austen Centre. Fingers crossed!
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