What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
A Story of Friendship and Letters
Our centre guide, Lizzy Bennet, recently had three delightful ladies in one of her tour groups and they shared a wonderful story with her about their friendship, and it was such a beautiful example of friendship that we just had to share it.
The ladies, two American ladies and one British lady, told Lizzy that they are all part of an embroidery group who became pen pals over 20 years ago. They have kept up their friendship, mostly through letter writing, ever since. In their letters they would write about their families, their passions, about embroidery and, of course, about Jane Austen. They’re using the time they’re now spending together in the UK also hand-stitching a doll and a patchwork quilt to go with it; a project from the crafts book Good Day Miss Austen.
We’re hoping that once they’ve finished their project they’ll send us some pictures, but we also wanted to share with you their experience of keeping up connections through letter writing – it was a story we felt was very much in the spirit of Jane Austen.
An Update On The Updated £10
Due in Summer 2017 (lips are remaining firmly shut when it comes to details on the exact release date) the new £10 will be made of a polymer rather than paper, and will have Jane’s lovely face on it. But here are some other things which will be featuring on the note:
- There will be the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”, which is a line spoken in Pride and Prejudice by Miss Bingley (Chapter XI), though sadly she doesn’t mean a word of it.
- The portrait of Jane Austen which will be on the note is one which was commissioned by Jane’s nephew, James Edward Austen Leigh in 1870. It was adapted from an original sketch of Jane which was drawn by her sister, Cassandra.
- There will also be an illustration of Lizzy Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her”; an illustration taken from a drawing by artist Isabel Bishop (1902-1988).
- The image of Godmersham Park will feature. Godmersham was home of Edward Austen Knight, Jane’s brother, and it is believed that it was the inspiration for a number of Jane’s novels.
- Jane Austen’s writing table will be the central design in the background of the note, and it one inspired by the 12 sided writing table, and writing quills, which were used by Jane Austen.
Jane Shortly to Leave the Folger
There’s less than three weeks left of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s exhibition Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity.
The exhibition features early versions of fan fiction, celebrity keepsakes, and objects and information on the various movie and TV adaptations that have sustained the fandom of Shakespeare and Austen. It’s a blend of entertainment and cultural experience; the exhibition explores the concept of being a celebrity, what it means, and how we are always reinventing and idolising William Shakespeare and Jane Austen in popular culture.
If you’re close to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC then it looks to be an exhibition not to be missed. The team at the Jane Austen News wishes they could go!
A Certain Persuasion
A Certain Persuasion is an anthology shortly due to be released on November 1st by Manifold Press. The anthology will feature thirteen stories from eleven authors with an LGBTQ+ perspective on the world and works of Jane Austen.
Readers will meet compelling reinterpretations of canonical characters such as Elinor Dashwood, William Elliot, Emma Woodhouse and, of course, Fitzwilliam Darcy. There will also be new characters too; Adam Ashford Otelian, Robert Oakes and the enigmatic Lint, to name but a few.
For anyone who has ever ‘thought beyond the page’ about Jane Austen’s work, this book is a real goldmine of intrigue and adventure.
This might be just what those Miss Bennets who are not looking for a Mr Darcy but a Miss Darcy, or those Captain Wentworths who aren’t looking for a heroine but for a hero, have been waiting for.
Pride and Prejudice and Emojis?!
We’ve heard of Pride and Prejudice for babies, Pride and Prejudice for doodlers, Pride and Prejudice with felt, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and we’re even well acquainted with Pride and Prejudice told with guinea pigs. A new one on us though is Pride and Prejudice told through emojis, but that’s what author Katherine Furman and illustrator Chuck Gonzales have been working on.
What would happen if the characters of Pride and Prejudice could text each other? Would Darcy drink and dial and accidentally reveal his true feelings [heart]? In this laugh-out-loud re-telling of Jane Austen’s famous work, you’ll get a condensed modern interpretation of the world’s greatest love story . . . all told through texts and emojis.
Whatever else there is to say about it, it’s certainly a new twist on an old classic. The book is due out on December the 1st.
Jane Austen and Pornography?!
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, BBC Broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray, said that there is increasing evidence that pornography is damaging girls’ sexuality, and as such it is vital to discuss it like all other aspects of culture. The solution? The study of pornographic videos should be compulsory in school and analysed in the same way as a Jane Austen novel said Dame Jenni.
We give our kids Jane Austen to read and we say, “OK let’s analyse it”.
We might show them a news bulletin that has been on television the night before. Why not show them pornography and teach them how to analyse it? Youngsters would be given the chance to discuss what they saw so they realised that ‘normal’ women did not behave like those who appear in X-rated films.
Jane Austen and pornography; not two subjects the Jane Austen News thought they’d see grouped together.
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