What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan, among others, have created revealing handwritten homages about Jane Austen in aid of a charity auction which is being held to raise funds for the Royal Society of Literature.
The auction includes Atwood writing on how Austen’s novels “set a bad example”, a new unpublished story by Hilary Mantel based on Pride & Prejudice, Ian McEwan on the “profound influence” of Northanger Abbey on his novel Atonement, Ian Rankin on disliking “stuffy” Jane Austen, and Sarah Waters turning cartoonist for “a good read”.
The auction also includes original works by other prominent authors (including Bath-born Jacqueline Wilson), and an annotated script by Andrew Davies from the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice TV mini-series.
At the Jane Austen News we’re sure the auction will be a huge success with such amazing items up for sale!
I especially liked the scene in which Elizabeth Bennett [sic] stands down Lady de Bourgh. I longed to do the same to my gym teacher, but occasion never offered.
It’s an incredibly common mistake – writing Jane’s last name as “Austin” rather than as it ought to be spelt – Austen with an e – and it’s a mistake that even those who knew Jane personally made!
A royalty cheque which was paid to Jane from her publisher John Murray following the success of Jane’s novel Emma has shown that he also spelt her name wrong. However, it seems that either Jane didn’t really mind, or the fact that she was actually being given money for her writing was enough to let her gloss over the mistake, as she also signed the back of the £38 (plus 18 shillings and one pence) cheque as “Jane Austin”. According to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, the sum would be worth about £3400 ($4385) today. We can see why she might have chosen not to complain!
The cheque is on display as part of the Which Jane Austen? exhibition at the Bodleian Library.
In the last few days we’ve been enjoying watching the new Jane Austen display take shape at the Parade Gardens here in Bath.
To honour her bicentenary year the gardeners are in the throes of constructing a giant floral display dedicated to Austen. It will feature an open book with a silhouette of Jane inside, and next to it a huge quill pen. It’s yet to have the flowers added to it, but even the wire structure is quite a sight to see!
We’ll make sure to show you the finished result when it’s done.
A new exhibition will be coming to Gosport Gallery this summer which will look at Jane’s connection with the navy. The Navy at the Time of Jane Austen – fittingly on display at the port of Gosport – will look at the danger and the drama as well as the entertaining and social life aboard ship, through her novels, her letters and contemporary accounts.
Jane was, of course, quite familiar with the navy and the trials and tribulations of its members as two of her brothers, Charles and Francis, were officers in its ranks.
If you’d like to have a look at it, the exhibition runs from the 15th of July to the 20th of September.
Last year we were able to share with you the exciting Jane Austen news that, for the first time, a film adaptation of Jane’s unfinished novel Sanditon was in the process of being filmed.
Charlotte Rampling would play Lady Denham, Charlotte Heywood would be played by Holliday Grainger, Sidney Parker by Max Irons, and Tom Parker by Toby Jones. Quite the cast list!
Unfortunately the film appears to have run into post-production difficulties, and although due for release this year, it currently has no set release date, according to Goldcrest Films and Fluidity Films who were/are working on the project. We’ll keep you updated if/when the situation changes.
The event will take place at the beautiful Ballinacurra House (pictured here) on Friday 1st September, and as well as a black tie or period costume dress code (for which there will be awards for the best dressed), the evening will include canapes and drinks on the lawn, dance instruction accompanied by baroque musicians, a three course dinner, and a Jane Austen performance during and after dinner, followed by further dancing and a residents’ late bar.
So, if you happen to be coming via Ireland on your way to our Jane Austen Festival this September (September 8th – 17th), this might be a good warm-up event to get you in the mood!
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