What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Jane Austen Brings Shakespeare to Cuba
On Sunday (10th July) in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire in the UK, a local actress performed her one-woman show, “Yours Ever, Jane”, in which Jane Austen tells her sister Cassandra all about her latest novel, Pride and Prejudice.
The actress, Sarah Finch, performed for free but asked her audience for donations, and donations towards a very good cause. She is planning on traveling to Cuba in this coming September, where she will be helping the Government open a new Shakespeare centre in Havana.
Sarah said: “Although Cuba has been cut off from the rest of the world until quite recently, they have a passion for Shakespeare. Shakespeare is universal.”
Sarah will be one of several actors who will performing some of the Bard’s most famous scenes, and also teaching aspiring Cuban thespians.
The Jane Austen News is sure Jane would approve!
A Near Miss For Lady Susan
American writer-director Whit Stallman has said that he discovered Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, the basis of his film Love & Friendship, completely by accident! In a recent interview he admitted that he only stumbled across it while re-reading Northanger Abbey. “It was included in an edition of that book, which was probably one of the last Austen stories I read.”
He first tried to read Northanger Abbey as a teenager, but happily didn’t get on with it at the time. If he had he may never have found Lady Susan when he picked up a different edition of the book to read it in later years.
“I was a stupid 17-year-old who told everyone how bad and overrated it [Northanger Abbey] was. I’d never read a gothic novel, so I had no idea what she was making fun of. I went back and read it again after loving all of her other stuff and liked it better, of course.”
All we can say is hooray for happy accidents!
The Novella Is The New Novel?
According to sources, the novella is making a comeback.
One of the books that’s helping to revive interest in the genre? Lady Susan – the novella which gives its plot line, if not its name, to Whit Stillman’s new film Love & Friendship. As well as Lady Susan encouraging readers to try a novella, the novella has also been given a modern makeover this year by the best-selling thriller-writer James Patterson, who has launched his “BookShots”. These are books of only 150 pages which are designed to attract people who don’t read to pick up a book.
This sounds like a great idea to all of us at the Jane Austen News. Start with a pacy page-turner, and then move onto to Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Perfect!
Jane and the Petty Snark
Jane is well known for writing into her books her honed wit and delicious sarcasm, but she’s also known as a romance novelist by many. One fan claims to find this idea too much to bear (“they view it as a … A ROMANCE NOVEL. Can you imagine? Not a parody. Not a morality tale or comedy. Not a harsh and biting criticism of society. Not a character study. But a…romance novel, the sort of book that a young lady might need to fan herself while reading, lets she be overcome by her own longing and desire.”).
To set things back to rights she’s created Jane and the Petty Snark.
The images are designed to reflect the tumultuous nature of their courtship (and no doubt the marriage which followed, since Darcy would continue to be an entitled ass and Lizzy would continue her impudent ways). With this in mind, our young lovers can be hung to face one another, or to turn their backs.
More of her work and her full post can be found here.
Matthew Kelly = Mr Bennet
Next year (2017) from January 17th – 21st, a new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice will be visiting Bath’s Theatre Royal as part of its 2016/17 UK tour. It is produced by the producers of the recent smash-hits To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies and the show tours following sell-out performances at Regent’s Park Theatre.
We knew already that Felicity Montagu (Alan Partridge, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Durrells) is set to play Mrs Bennet, but we were pleased to hear that the well-known actor and television host Matthew Kelly will be joining her as Mr Bennet.
If you’re in Bath next January then this is the perfect thing to see (perhaps after visiting the Jane Austen Centre?).
The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad
Local author Jean Burnett has just published her second Pride and Prejudice based-book, The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad. Following on from her first novel, Who Needs Mr Darcy?, this book sees Lydia Bennet en route to Brazil as a lady-in-waiting to an Austrian princess. After a very long sea voyage she joins the highly eccentric Portuguese court in Rio where she attracts the attention of the heir to the throne, Dom Pedro. It’s been described as “a light-hearted romp with quirky period features. It’s a perfect holiday read and a great sequel.”
More information on Jean and her novels can be found here.
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