What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Exploring Jane Austen’s Juvenilia
Professor Katherine Sutherland, a Professorial Fellow in English at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, is currently directing an AHRC research project called Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition and Print Edition, which, in the future, is due to be published by Oxford University Press. It isn’t out yet, but what has just been published online is her exploration of how Jane Austen’s education and upbringing shaped her childhood writing, and Sutherland considers the relationship between these early works and her adult novels. This is an extract from her article:
Jane Austen’s earliest writings appear to have little in common with the restrained and realistic society portrayed in her adult novels. By contrast, they are exuberantly expressionistic tales of sexual misdemeanour, of female drunkenness and violence. They are characterised by exaggerated sentiment and absurd adventures. Running through them is a pronounced thread of comment on and wilful misreading of the literature of her day, showing how thoroughly and how early the activity of critical reading informed her character as a writer.
Having read her clear, concise and informative article on the British Library website, we at the Jane Austen News are very much looking forward to the publication of Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition and Print Edition.
Whit Stillman Explains Why Lady Susan Became Love & Friendship
In an interview with Little White Lies online magazine, Whit Stillman, the director behind the new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s early epistolary novella, Lady Susan, has answered a question that’s been on our minds at the Jane Austen News; why isn’t the film called Lady Susan? After all, that’s what Jane called the story. Isn’t it? Here’s what the director had to say on the subject:
There was an exhibition of her manuscripts which I went to. That was years ago, but I loved it. I was actually looking for whether she had put a title on it (Lady Susan). I wanted to change the title. I don’t believe it is on the manuscript. Her nephew is supposed to have added it. I understand why, as ‘Northanger Abbey’ was originally titled ‘Susan’, so it would’ve been strange if this was ‘Lady Susan’. Also, another justification for using her juvenile story title, ‘Love & Friendship’, was that many of her projects she started with a character title and then she switched to impressive nouns. ‘Sense & Sensibility’ started out as ‘Eleanor and Marianne’, ‘Pride & Prejudice’ started out as ‘First Impressions’.
Remains of Charles Austen’s Ship Go On Display
The remains of the Royal Navy warship HMS Namur which saw battle alongside Lord Nelson and was captained by Jane’s youngest brother, Charles Austen, will go on display as the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, 20 years after they were first exposed during a routine refurbishment. Charles was the ship’s captain from 1811 to 1814 when HMS Namur was stationed at the Nore Anchorage as flagship of Sir Thomas Williams. It is thought that some of Charles’s experiences helped to influence some of Jane’s naval characters in Mansfield Park and Persuasion.
The ship’s timbers will be left where they were found, at the dockyard’s Wheelwrights’ Shop – it transpired that they had been hidden under multiple layers of flooring after HMS Namur was decommissioned and recycled in 1833. Those wishing to find out more about seeing them can visit the Chatham dockyard website here.
Emma In America
Goucher College Library in Baltimore, U.S.A, will be hosting their new exhibition Emma in America: Jane Austen’s Novel Through Two Centuries, in order to celebrate 200 years since the novel was first published.
The exhibit includes rare volumes, art, collectors’ letters and more, and it has drawn more than 2,000 visitors since the exhibition’s opening. However the most treasured item of Emma in America — is a rare edition of Emma published in Pennsylvania in 1816, only a few months after the book was first published in England. The publisher behind it is Matthew Carey, a publisher of no special literary reputation who didn’t need to buy rights to the book (international copyright law did not exist yet). All he had to do was have a printer typeset the text, then he could run it off easily and start selling. This volume, the exhibit’s curators said, would easily fetch tens of thousands of dollars on the open market (but the library would never sell it).
Emma in America will be open to visitors until June 20th. Those wishing to see the 1816 edition of Emma are asked to call ahead and arrange an appointment with “special collections”.
The Jane Austen Book Club – Auckland Edition
Howick Library in Auckland, New Zealand, has decided to set up its own dedicated Jane Austen book club.
“The purpose of the club is to provide a forum for a group of like-minded individuals, who enjoy reading and discussing her novels. Reading the novels will allow readers to immerse themselves in the world of Austen – they may never want to resurface,” said Georgina Boalch, a Howick Library Assistant and long-time Austen fan.
The group had a highly successful first meeting and is looking forward to welcoming more Jane Austen fans to the club. So if you are based near Auckland and would like to become a member, or for more information, you can call 09 534 5301, or you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Austen – When Shall We Three Meet Again?
On one of our regular journeys around the internet, as we searched for the latest Jane Austen updates to bring you, we stumbled across this lovely cartoon by Glen Baxter. Glen is an author and illustrator whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Elle, Vogue, Le Monde, the Observer, and the Independent on Sunday.
We don’t know if he has done any other Jane Austen themed illustrations, but we wanted to share this one with you as it made us giggle. Who says that Jane Austen is only for romance-obsessed women?
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