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Jane Austen News – Issue 80

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Where Are All The Fictional Female Friends?

The Jane Austen News needs female friendsGrazia have been asking this week where all of the female friends in film have gone.

“Epic bromances have always been familiar turf when it comes to our favourite films and TV shows. ‘Boy and his beloved male sidekick’ is a formula that plays out in everything from Starsky & Hutch to Top Gun, Batman, The Hangover and Wedding Crashers.”

This is true, we can think of lots of recent ‘bromance’ films, but not too many that are all about similarly strong, uncomplicated female friendships.

“The mantle of female friendship is all too often sacrificed for entertainment in cinema. Think the competitive spite of Mean Girls, Bride Wars, The Devil Wears Prada and even – at its most extreme – Single White Female.

But why? asks Grazia. After all:

The same chemistry is very much alive and kicking between women in real life. We rely on one another; we laugh, cry and argue together, and spend more time than is healthy propping up each other’s floundering self-esteem.

Yet, for some reason, this delicious and effervescent dynamic is hard to come by in the realm of fiction.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why we love Austen so much; so many of her female characters have a strong, loving and healthy relationship with other female characters (we admit there are exceptions like Caroline Bingley). 

The full article can be found here.


Lone Female Authors Also Seek Friends…

Further to the news piece above, an article by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney asks what’s happened to all of the friends of the female fiction writers, as opposed to the female friends written in fiction.

They argue that friendships between great literary men have become the stuff of legend: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge tramping the Lakeland fells for example. However the most famous female authors are remembered as solitary eccentrics; Jane Austen being a prime example.

This didn’t feel right to them, so they did some research and discovered that there are actually many examples of famous female writers having writing friends, but not ones that are widely known about.

Jane Austen, they found while looking through old documents, letters, and two hitherto unknown Austen family papers had a close literary friend, a woman named Anne Sharp.

Sharp was officially employed as the governess of Austen’s niece, but she was also a keen amateur playwright. She and Austen defied rigid social conventions to forge a class-defying bond, which lasted from the early 1800s to the time of Austen’s death, 200 years ago last month. During the course of their friendship, the pair encouraged each other’s ambitions. Austen acted in one of Sharp’s household plays, walking a mile in her friend’s shoes by taking on the role of teacher. Years later, after Austen finally achieved her long-held dream of becoming a published author, Sharp offered hearty congratulations but also helpful words of criticism. This candour reveals that the two writers managed to bridge the widening gap in their literary as well as social status. After Austen’s death at the age of 41, she would leave behind deeply personal mementos for her friend: a silver needle, a pair of clasps and a lock of hair.

The article can be read in full here, and also goes on to talk about the forgotten writing friendships of Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.


 National Afternoon Tea Week!  

Afternoon Tea Week is a celebration of one of the nation’s favourite traditions, and it’s this week! (August 14th-August 20th). Us Brits love the combination of savoury and sweet treats, accompanied by a cup of delicious tea of course! (It’s estimated that we drink around 165 million cups of tea every day in the UK).

So, as we’re big fans at the Jane Austen News of the ever-so gentile pastime of taking tea, we had to share the news with you. Also if you’re celebrating with an afternoon tea yourself this week, do send us a picture on Twitter.


A Plethora Of Pride And Prejudice Yoga Poses

We mentioned in the Jane Austen News last week that the Society of Authors was running a Twitter competition to raise awareness of the importance of writers looking after themselves and each other. The idea was to tweet an image of a yoga pose inspired by a different literary classic each day.

As Neil Gaiman put it:

These were some of our favourite poses that were posted for Pride and Prejudice yoga day:


Charity Appeals For First New Austen Tenners

In order to raise funds for their charity, Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group (PRCCG) has made an appeal for people to donate their first new £10 note (which will depict Jane Austen as the featured remarkable Brit) to them, ahead of the first appearance of the note in general circulation on September 14.

Naomi Butters, Chair of the PRCCG board of trustees said: “We’re delighted to see Jane Austen on the new £10 note. As an inspirational feminist we hope the new note inspires women and girls to follow their dreams just like Jane Austen did all those years ago.

“To celebrate this historic occasion we’re asking people to donate their first Austen £10 to Rape Crisis Peterborough. As a feminist organisation our aim is to empower women and girls and end sexual violence. We can only do this if we continue to receive support from the general public.”

 


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

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