What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Turning First Lines Into Constellations
Data artist Nick Rougeux has launched a new project called Literary Constellations, in which he presents the first lines of famous novels in what appear to be star charts. The idea originally wasn’t to make them look specifically like constellations however, it was an exploration of how to present data in beautiful, clever ways, but by connecting the words using his special formula, the result was a circular map which resembled a star chart, so he went with the idea. He’s also gone on to apply the formula to short stories and entire first chapters of books.
So what is the formula?
Rougeux’s sentence diagrams are organized by their grammatical structure. He connects the words in each sentence with lines, the length and direction of which are based on the length of the words and their parts of speech, respectively.
Here’s the explanation from Wired.com:
First, Rougeux mapped each part of speech to a point on a compass. A line that connects to an adjective, for example, points due north, while one that extends toward a prepositions does so in a southwesterly direction. Then he classified words from the opening lines of classic novels. Jane Austen opened Pride and Prejudice with a 23-word sentence comprised of a pronoun (It), verb (is), a (article), noun (truth), adverb (universally), verb (acknowledged), and so on. Next, he plotted the words in order, according to his system. The lines extending from “It” and “is” are of equal length and much shorter than the line extending from the word “universally”. But they point in different directions, because the words toward which they extend are different parts of speech (a verb and an article, respectively). When he connected all the dots, he got something that looks like this:
At the Jane Austen News we think his work is absolutely beautiful, so we felt we had to share it with you.
Recommended Reads For Young Adult Austen Fans
This week Barnes and Noble published a list of their six top books for young adult fans of Jane Austen.
At number one they recommend For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund – a sci-fi duology which draws inspiration from Persuasion, and then for the second book, Across a Star-Swept Sea, it also pulls from The Scarlet Pimpernel.
At number two is The Espressologist, by Kristina Springer which is “a fresh and funny take on Jane Austen’s Emma.”
Next is Prom & Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eulberg; a novel set at prestigious private school Longhorn Academy. The story centres on a group of students who are utterly obsessed with their upcoming prom.
Other titles include: Enthusiasm, by Polly Shulman, Ivory and Bone, by Julie Eshbaugh, and Another Little Piece of My Heart, by Tracey Martin.
At the Jane Austen News we like to hear about the latest Austen-inspired literature and promote her work to new audiences in any way we can, and there are some great books in the list (though our favourite books to read are always going to be the originals!).
From Jane Austen to Tinder
- Partners were not allowed to dance multiple times with one another unless betrothed, as otherwise, the girl would be made ‘an object of remark’.
- There were comical commonly-held presumptions such as big feet being popular, as it was thought that those with small feet were ‘dangerously prone to gaiety and convolutions across the ballroom’.
- People with short necks were not given to ‘passionate embracing’.
- Ideally women had to confine themselves to demure simpering, because flashing one’s teeth when smiling was heavily frowned upon.
Later on the book explores the revolution that was The Pill, bloomers, and the bicycle. A good read for understanding why we date the way we do, and why some of Jane Austen’s characters act the way they do.
Is Trying To Be Lizzy Bennet Bad For Us?
Krishen Samuel writing for the Huffington Post this week made an interesting observation. A long-time fan of Jane Austen, and someone who for many years wished he could be Lizzy Bennet, Krishen has recently been considering whether longing to be Lizzy Bennet, or one of Jane’s other heroines, is altogether good for us. After all, he observes, in today’s world many of us grapple with the same dilemma: when the world does not deliver upon your romantic aspirations, where does that leave you?
In response to his own question Krishen suggests that perhaps it might be time to take a leaf, not out of Austen’s books, but out of her own life:
“It might actually be time to re-think the whole construct of finding perfect love in the first place. Being the hero or heroine of your own story may require a new type of bravery: a deeper self-love that ultimately means that any love found is always an extension, never a completion. And not finding that ‘perfect’ love is not some kind of terrible affliction indicating that you are an irreparably flawed individual. Austen herself never married, despite being celebrated as the creator of one the most enduring romances of all time.”
Jane By The Sea
Jane Austen in Louisville in July
For Jane Austen fans who will be near Louisville in Kentucky this July, Louisville’s ninth annual Jane Austen Festival might be of interest.
From Friday July 14th to Sunday July 16th, fans attending the festival will be able to enjoy: A Regency style show, a Regency Emporium, a Regency Fashion Display, a four course afternoon tea ($25 extra), a children’s tea, a Grand Ball ($25 extra), workshops, a duel Between gentleman, bare knuckle boxing demonstrations, archery demonstrations, bobbin lace making demonstrations, an encampment of His Majesty’s Royal Navy, a Punch & Judy show, and tours of a 1790s Georgian home.
For those planning to attend, it’s worth noting that advance registration is highly recommended for the afternoon tea, workshops and the Grand Ball as they sell-out before the festival opens.
Admission charges are: Friday $6, Saturday & Sunday $12 each day or $20 for both days (online only). Children under 12 are admitted free with an adult.
More information can be found at www.jasnalouisville.com.
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