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Jane Austen News – Issue 38

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Stanford Says Reading Austen = Awesome Brain Exercise 

books-jane-austien-old-pride-and-prejudice-favim-com-331888Now this is the kind of exercise the Jane Austen News could really become addicted to. Researchers at Stanford University say that reading Jane Austen could be the perfect brain exercise.

Researchers at Stanford tested literary candidates at the university by hooking them up to an MRI machine and letting them get stuck into a Jane Austen novel. The preliminary results came back and the researchers found that there was a dramatic increase of blood flow to regions of the brain associated with paying close attention to a task.

Researcher Natalie Philips explained why this is so good; “paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.” She suggested that this style of reading creates distinct patterns in the brain that are “far more complex than just work and play.”

And why is Jane Austen such a good author to read? Because there’s so much to analyse in its value, historical significance and hidden meanings. It’s mental multi-tasking!

It’s official then, Stanford has said so, for the sake of our health we need to read Jane Austen!


An Evening With Jane at Gloucester Cathedral    

adrianlukiscompositeIf you live or can get to Gloucester this may well be of interest. On Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm Gloucester Cathedral’s Chapter House will host a very special evening of readings from the works of Jane Austen, bringing alive some of her most-loved and most-reviled characters.

 Adrian Lukis, who played Mr Wickham in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and Caroline Languish (Lovejoy) perform duologues from Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. They will be accompanied by vocalists and musicians whose interpretations of 18th-century and Regency-era music give audiences a glimpse into the evocative sounds of Jane’s own household.

Limited VIP tickets are available for £50 and include a drinks reception and the opportunity to meet the artists, while standard tickets are £25. Tickets can be booked by phone: 0845 652 1823 (Mon-Fri 10.00am – 4.00pm), or on-line at www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk.


Could Jane Have Stayed Anonymous Today?    

_91497650_ferrantecompRecently Italian author “Elena Ferrante” found her publishing anonymity under threat when an Italian investigative journalist Claudio Gatti published a new theory. He had looked at payment records from Ferrante’s publisher to identify where inexplicably large payments from the publisher were going, at more or less at the time Ferrante ought to be getting her big international royalties. The payments increased more or less in the right proportions as her book sales also increased. Using this, Gatti identified who Ferrante is most likely to be.

For some authors, publishing anonymously is the only way they can feel properly free to write. Ferrante told the magazine Vanity Fair last August; “I have gained a space of my own, a space that is free, where I feel active and present. To relinquish it would be very painful.”

In our eyes, this craving for anonymity really resonates with how Jane felt about her work, and it has led us to question whether in today’s modern times of investigative journalism and technology paper trails, Jane could have stayed as successfully anonymous as she did in the time she was writing? And if she couldn’t, what effect may it have had on her writing if she hadn’t? Certainly the story has given us some food for thought in terms of how damaging the unmasking of an author can be and if more should be done to protect identities.


Austentatious On Top Form On Tour    

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-07-51-24Austentatious consistently play sell-out shows (five sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs and three sell-out national tours), and they are on the move again. From the beginning of October through to November they are on tour around the UK and, judging from the reviews, they are once again on top form.

“Incredible show at Chester Town Hall tonight!! You were all fantastic – certainly one of the best theatre performances I’ve ever seen.” 

The Jane Austen News is delighted that they’ll be coming to a theatre near us three times! As part of their tour they plan to visit Wells, Bristol and Frome. They’re a firm favourite with us and we wish them the best of luck. Full tour dates can be found here.


Felicity Montagu on Mrs Bennet    
image-4Felicity Montagu is currently playing Mrs Bennet in the touring stage production of Pride and Prejudice, which is making its way around UK theatres throughout this winter and into next year, and we were intrigued to read what she liked most about playing the part.

 

She’s a testy role and a very demanding one because she’s a very mercurial character. She changes very quickly on a sixpence. I like her self-righteousness and her ability to tantrum and to be almost childlike. The element of being a child in a rehearsal room is terribly exciting and I enjoy that; I enjoy the child in her.

While you might not want to be a Mrs Bennet in real life, we have to agree with Felicity, she’d be a fun role to play!


There’s Always Darcy     

matthew-macfadyen-as-mr-darcy-in-the-rain-pandp-2005There’s no question that Hurricane Matthew, which recently hit the east coast of the US, was a terrifying and devastating storm to be caught in the middle of. So to try and offer some light relief to those caught in its path, Erica Bahrenburg writing for the online zine FilmSchoolRejects compiled her list of The Essential Movie Rain Scenes to Get You Through Hurricane Matthewand, of course, Mr Darcy proposing to Lizzy in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice was included.

The weather outside might be dreadful, but this ode to on screen precipitation might help make the storm bearable.

It’s certainly true that Mr Darcy makes us feel better when we’re feeling down!


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.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 33

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 

Colin Firth Doesn’t Think Mr Darcy Is Attractive

mr-darcy-coverColin Firth has confessed that he doesn’t understand why Mr Darcy is so popular. In fact he said that he took the role not to be a heart-throb but because he “thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgemental and snobbish.”

While speaking to the Daily Mail he also said;

I didn’t have to think about bringing charm to the role – the way I saw it, I just had to stand there and make everyone hate me … then this weird thing happened where people liked him, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all! We’re 20 years on and I still don’t understand it.

He may not understand how it happened, but he most definitely did make Mr Darcy a success.


And Adrain Lukis Doesn’t Think Mr Wickham Is That Bad     

1jarw.jpg.galleryFrom one actor with an unusual take on his character to another.

Many would consider Mr Wickham, with his attempted, and later successful, elopements and his constant lying, to be the villain of Pride and Prejudice. However, Adrian Lukis who played him in the 1995 BBC production doesn’t see him that way.

While speaking to reporter Flora Thompson he said

I do not see Wickham as an out-and-out villain. People are not meant to see him as that – he is an adventurer, he doesn’t have any money – we all know someone like that. He lives on his wits.

I went about preparing for the character by using how he is described by others in the book – he is seen as an amiable man who is economical with the truth. That’s how I chose to play him, not as an archetypal villain.


Ever Jane – Jane Austen as a Role Playing Game

i927zkeoe3ecgqmucfz8Following a successful Kickstarter campaign which was begun in 2013 and raised $US110,000, the new Jane Austen MMORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game –  a type of game genre which allows thousands of gamers to play in the game’s evolving virtual world at the same time) called Ever Jane has reached its beta test stages.

The full game is set to be released next year and can involve quests such as delivering a handkerchief or wrangling a sheep, and character stats, including status, kindness, duty and reputation. One tester said of the game: “I encountered about a dozen characters total, all of whom remained dapper and spoke in proper English throughout my in-game travels, which at one point led me to an elegant ballroom.”

The lead developer of the game, Judy L. Tyrer, does make it clear that this is not your normal online game; “It’s not about kill or be killed, but invite or be invited. Instead of raids, we will have grand balls. Instead of dungeons, we will have dinner parties.”

At the Jane Austen News we’re most curious to see the finished result when it’s available next year!


Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to be Sued by Publisher  

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAlways a controversial subject among Austen fans is that of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now its author Seth Grahame-Smith is in hot water again, only this time with his publisher.

In 2010, Grahame-Smith signed a $1 million deal for two books; one a follow-up to his book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the second a novel on a new topic to be delivered in 2013. Both, unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, were meant to be entirely his own work and not a mash-up with another classic author’s work. Unfortunately after 34 months of delays, Grahame-Smith finally submitted a manuscript so disappointing that his publisher Hachette has filed a lawsuit against him for the money which they had advanced for the works.

Hachette’s legal complaint says that the new manuscript was meant to be “original with Author in all respects,” (Hachette describes the manuscript he submitted as “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”) and said that it “is not comparable in style and quality to Smith’s wholly original bestseller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Grahame-Smith is yet to make a statement commenting on the lawsuit.


If Zack Synder Did Sense and Sensibility…     

Zack Snyder – director of the films 300Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a very distinct style. He goes for moody, dark, rain soaked, shots full of slow-motion effects in his films. This is great for thrillers and action films, but not an approach we at the Jane Austen News would naturally think of using for the retelling of a literary classic.

So with this juxtaposition in mind some of his fans have made a parody imaging what it might be like if he did. Sense and Sensibility Synder-style begins in the film below at 1:30.


National Treasures That Have Nearly Been Lost   

_90941634_coronet_2A sapphire and diamond coronet given to Queen Victoria by her beloved husband Albert has been placed under a temporary export bar, just like Jane Austen’s famous turquoise ring once was after Kelly Clarkson bought it at auction.  

A temporary export bar is something which the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest can place on an object deemed as a national treasure. This bar stops the object from leaving the country for a time in order that UK-based individuals or institutions can attempt to raise enough money to buy and keep it.

The asking price for the 11.5cm wide coronet, which is mounted with 11 sapphires all set in gold and diamonds set in silver, has an asking price of £5million. The Department for Culture Media and Sport said a final decision over the export licence on the coronet will be deferred until 27 December.

We’ll have to wait and see if, like with Jane’s ring, the bar is successful in saving the coronet from being sent overseas.


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.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Adrian Lukis Interview

Adrian Lukis

Elle Interviews Adrian Lukis

On a lovely sunny day, we were making the new Jane Austen Centre film with Adrian when during a break we took the opportunity to grab a few minutes to interview the ex Mr. Wickham.
You will see for yourself that Adrian is such a charming gentleman.

“I love playing cads. They’re more interesting and so many of them seem to have a special kind of power and aura about them.”
Adrian Lukis ought to know. With his dark good looks and easy charm, he has often been cast in the role of attractive rogue or upper-class bounder. “He has charm in spades,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph in a 2000 review of Lukis’s performance of Beach Wedding at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.

 

Mr Wickham

Adrian Lukis, born in 28th March 1957 in Birmingham, is an actor who has appeared regularly in British television drama since the late 1980s. He trained at Drama Studio London. His most recent notable appearances have been as Sergeant Douglas ‘Doug’ Wright in the Police drama series The Bill, and as Marc Thompson in the BBC legal drama Judge John Deed.

He was a regular, playing Dr David Shearer, in Peak Practice between 1997-99. He also played Mr. George Wickham in the BBC’s 1995 adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Adrian had appeared in the ITV1 one-off drama Back Home and in the BBC rural drama series Down to Earth.
He had previously appeared in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (as Bennett in The Creeping Man), Maigret, Miss Marple and Prime Suspect. Adrian Lukis played Simon Avery in Silent Witness Series 15 Episode 2, Death Has No Dominion.

He is currently appearing as Carter in Bull at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Lukis is descended from the Channel Islands archaeologist Frederick Lukis.

Continue reading Adrian Lukis Interview