What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
After seeing an announcement in a newspaper announcing the marriage of of Mr Gell of Eastbourne to Miss Gill, Jane Austen decided to play on the similarity of their names and write a simple rhyme for the amusement of her family. The poem survives to this day; handwritten, dashed off in a matter of minutes, and is to go on sale for £120,000! That works out at £15,000 a line!
Of Eastbourne, Mr Gell
Feeling perfectly well
Became dreadfully ill
For the Love of Miss Gill.
So he said with some sighs
I’m the Slave of your i.s
Ah! Restore if you please
By accepting my e.s.
Austen wrote the short poem, which previously sold for just £520 in 1979, in 1811. It is being sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers at the ABA International Antiquarian Book Fair at London’s Olympia this week. She may not have made much money from her writing during her lifetime, but her words are certainly worth a huge amount now!
A couple of the editors over at verilymag.com had fun this week finding out how recognisable the words of Lizzy Bennet are. They decided to (virtually) approach users of the online dating app Bumble (deemed the ‘feminist’ dating app) and hold a conversation with them using only quotes from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and mostly those of Lizzy Bennet.
A couple of the men they spoke to recognised the quotes and found them out, but this wasn’t always the case. Here are a couple of the resulting conversations which we rather enjoyed reading:
At the Jane Austen News we wonder what the result might be if men tried doing this using quotes from Mr Darcy… If anyone’s tried it/does try it, do let us know.
HRH the Earl of Wessex has now announced the winners of the Jane Austen 200 Short Story Competition.
The competition, which was launched in October 2016 and judged by award-winning short story writers David Constantine and Claire Fuller, invited entrants to write a short story of up to 2017 words based on a quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, ‘Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.’ More than 280 entries were received, and 25% of them from countries as various as South Africa, Sweden, Belgium and Bermuda.
The winner was Sally Tissington (pictured), who teaches creative writing at the University of Warwick, while the runner-up was, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, who studied creative writing at the University of Evansville and then physics at the University of Cambridge. Both of their stories can be read in full at www.janeausten200.co.uk.
While Lucy Worsley has been looking at Jane Austen’s different homes, Alan Titchmarsh has been choosing his top Jane Austen gardens. They’re not gardens which she managed, but rather they’re gardens that are connected with her – or with the films of her books.
Included on the list are:
Chenies Manor Gardens, Buckinghamshire – a filming location for the 2008 film Miss Austen Regrets.
“A fantastic rambling house that is especially worth visiting at tulip time when the flowerbeds explode with colour.”
Groombridge Place Gardens, Kent – Edward Austen lived on the estate here at one time and was visited by Jane, she wrote Pride & Prejudice right after a long stay here.
“I’d go here just to walk across the bridge that Kiera Knightley crossed in the film of ‘Pride and Prejudice‘! What a setting!”
Loseley Park, Surrey – The setting for the 2009 film of Jane Austen’s Emma (Mr Knightley’s residence) and the 2008 TV mini series Sense & Sensibility.
“The grounds are suitably stately and the superb 2.5 acre walled garden is divided into different rooms.”
Thanks to Alan Titchmarsh, we can safely say that we now have plenty of day trips we now want to make this summer!
At the Jane Austen News this week we suffered a bit of a shock when we learnt that we might be losing Mr Darcy to the Italian countryside, as Colin Firth (of the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice mini series fame) has applied for Italian citizenship!
It wouldn’t be too unusual a step for Mr Firth to take; his wife (film producer Livia Giuggioli) is Italian, the couple have a house near the town of Città della Pieve in Umbria, he speaks good Italian, and he’s made films in Italy. Luckily his publicist has clarified the news by explaining that: “Colin applied for dual citizenship (British and Italian) in order to have the same passports as his wife and children.”
We have to say we’re relieved, even if we probably won’t meet him in real life, the chances would have been reduced even more if he’d moved to Italy.
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