What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Professor Kathryn Sutherland is keen to see Jane Austen praised, not as the queen of romance novels, but rather “as a pioneer — the inventor of the modern novel, the first English novelist to explore the effect of contemporary war on the home front, and a businesswoman prepared to stake all on fame and fortune.”
“Austen’s novels broke new ground in subject matter and style. She saw that everyday events in ordinary places could be the stuff of fiction. But she saw far more. One of her greatest contributions to literature was a way of writing, centred on the heroine, that recognises the longing in each one of us to grow, to change, to become other. Her heroines have inner lives, represented on the page as a kind of conversation with the self.”
Those who say that Jane is just a romance novelist couldn’t be more wrong. It’s easy to forget, this many years down the line, and with so many new genres and novel formats on the shelves, how revolutionary Jane’s novels were; how unique they were in style. Happily Professor Sutherland is hoping to change that with….
To accompany the new exhibition which Professor Sutherland is curating in Oxford at Weston Library from June 22nd – October 29th (called Which Jane Austen?) she has released a new book.
Jane Austen: Writer in the World: Novelist in the World is a collection of essays which offer an intimate history of Austen’s art and life – told through objects associated with her personally and with the era in which she lived.
Further on in the book, the exploration of yet more objects – the Regency novel, newspaper articles, naval logbooks, and contemporary political cartoons – reveals Austen’s filiations with wider social and political worlds. These ‘things’ map the threads connecting her (from India to Bath and from North America to Chawton) to those on the international stage during the wars with France that raged through much of her short life.
In the last edition of the Jane Austen News we mentioned that some of the team from the Jane Austen Centre had been to the Bath Brewhouse to help with the brewing of a special Jane Austen beer. We can now give you a few more details on how it going and what will happen to the brew once it’s ready.
The first pint is set to be pulled early on the morning of July the 1st, and later on that day at the Jane Austen Summer Ball the beer will be properly put to the taste test. There will be a growler (a refillable container into which draught beer is poured for home consumption) of the celebratory drink on each table, then at the country ball in September’s Jane Austen Festival there will be a keg provided for the dancers’ enjoyment and refreshment.
However, if you’re not attending either dance you can still sample the special brew. It will be available from the Bath Brew House throughout July, and also throughout the Jane Austen Festival in September.
Attention gardeners! As the Summer weather kicks in at last now is a good time to tell you in case you didn’t know: Harkness Roses are celebrating Jane Austen in the 200th year since her death by releasing a special rose in her honour.
It is described as “A bright and vibrant bush rose, this orange-flowered Floribunda has perfectly formed buds, opening to warm coloured, multi-petalled flowers, from summer and into autumn. The ‘Jane Austen’ rose has a light sweet scent which adds to the charm.”
They’ve also released a Pride and Prejudice rose – “white petals become cream, amber, then peach at the centre as you study the delightful colour range of each exquisite flower.”
Time to get gardening!
If you’re reading this week’s Jane Austen News because you received a link through your Wednesday Jane Austen Centre e-mail update, then you might like to know that it was our 200th newsletter update! We didn’t plan it to coincide with her bicentenary year, it was just one of those happy coincidences, and one which we thought you might like to know about. It seems like only a couple of months ago that we were sending out our first Jane Austen newsletter.
If you’ve been with us ever since our first one, thanks for being with us for so long! If you’ve only recently signed up to our newsletter: welcome! Here’s to many more to come!
Jane Austen and the War of 1812
Residents of Mumford, New York, might like to know that the Genesee Country Village and Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, will host a War of 1812 and Jane Austen Weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend (June 24th-25th).
Visitors will see re-enactments to portray shopkeepers, housewives, merchants and soldiers, cannons and muskets and Austen-era music and dancing.
Entertainment will include patriotic concerts by musicians from Old Fort Niagara, dance demonstrations by the Country Dancers of Rochester and a daily Jane Austen fashion show.
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