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Jane Austen News – Issue 141

The Jane Austen News is ready for Sanditon!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Sanditon Just Down The Road!

There’s exciting news for those of us in the South West/Bristol area.

As you probably already know, Andrew Davies, the writer behind behind the likes of the TV adaptations of Pride and Prejudice 1995 and War and Peace has joined the team at Red Planet Pictures who are planning to film a production of Jane’s unfinished novel Sanditon. It’s set to begin filming in Spring 2019, and who it will star is yet to be announced.

Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment! Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.

Andrew Davies

As it is in it’s early stages of planning, not many details are known as of yet about the intricacies of the plot/script/costumes etc. However, the latest news to emerge from the Red Planet Pictures press team is that Bristol is going to be one of the main filming locations for the production! Exciting news since Bath is only half an hour away!

Specific locations in the Bristol area have not yet been named, but adverts have been spotted online calling for Sanditon filming crew at Bottle Yard Studios (a well-established studio based in Whitchurch on the outer fringes of Bristol). Who knows, perhaps a few of the Centre staff may be able to snag roles as extras!

Sanditon tells the story of the impulsive and spirited Charlotte Heywood, and her volatile relationship with the charming Sidney Parker. When a chance accident takes Charlotte from her rural hometown of Willingden to the up-and-coming coastal resort of Sanditon, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the rise, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success.

This will be the first time that Sanditon will have been brought to a television audience. The Jane Austen News is really looking forward to it.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 126

jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Sanditon – The Family Saga Coming Soon

Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon is being adapted for television for the first time ever, and at the head of the project is the screenwriter behind the iconic 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV adaptation, Andrew Davies.

On July 10, Polly Hill, ITV’s Head of Drama, announced plans to bring Sanditon to life for television audiences in the U.K. and – good news for American Austen fans – in the U.S.A too. The series will be a collaboration between Red Planet Pictures and Masterpiece on PBS. It will be an eight-part drama and will be based on the eleven chapter fragments author Jane Austen left behind in the manuscript she was working on at the time of her death.

Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment! Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing.

Andrew Davies

There’s no news on which actors might be featured in the series yet, and a release date is also yet to be announced, but filming for Sanditon is expected to begin as early as spring 2019. We can hardly wait!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 126

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Jane Austen News – Issue 100

Austen's books

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Austen’s Books! 

 


Austen’s Books Banned Behind Bars

This week we were surprised to learn that a new program in New York is severely restricting the books which will be available in prisons. This new program, amazingly, has effectively banned, among other classic authors, Jane Austen’s books.

Directive 4911A, as it is known, is currently being applied to three prisons in the state, but it could soon be expanded to every facility in New York. The plan limits packages that incarcerated people in New York state prisons can receive to items purchased from six vendors (with two more expected to be added). The idea is that this will “enhance the safety and security of correctional facilities through a more controlled inmate package program.”

This in itself isn’t a problem, but the range of books on offer is shockingly limited.  The first five vendors combined offered just five romance novels, 14 religious texts, 24 drawing or coloring books, 21 puzzle books, 11 how-to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus. (A sixth vendor has added some additional books to the list, but the full list will not be available to all prisoners.)

One group, the Books Through Bars collective, has been working to raise red flags about the directive’s unintended consequences (for more than 20 years, Books Through Bars has been sending books to people in prison in 40 states at no charge).

A spokesperson from Books Through Bars has stated the the new directive will mean “no Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, or other literature that helps people connect with what it means to be human. No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release from prison. No books about health, about history, about almost anything inside or outside the prison walls. This draconian restriction closes off so much of the world to thousands of people.”

We agree. Surely allowing prisoners to read Jane Austen’s books can only result in good things?

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 100

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Sense and Sensibility Goes Gothic

Sir Walter Scott confessed that, although he could write action adventure novels “like any now going,” he lacked Jane Austen’s genius, “the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting.” Filmmakers should take note. Infusing an Austen novel with testosterone does not make it better, and the 2008 BBC Sense and Sensibility seems to prove the point. The made for TV Sense and Sensibility develops the story of the male characters and emphasizes the building antagonism between Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey) and John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper). Granted, Austen’s Sense and Sensibility alludes to the sad fate of Eliza Williams and mentions a duel, presumably with pistols, but Austen dwells on neither event, as they do not forward her main story, the plight of the Dashwoods. However, Eliza (Caroline Hayes) and the duel feature prominently in the three hour film as Colonel Brandon takes center stage. So much refocusing on Sense and Sensibility’s male characters requires the invention of new scenes and a great deal of dialogue that Jane Austen never wrote, such as the “a word with you in private, Mr. Willoughby” scene early in the film, which clearly identifies Brandon as a stricken, Byronic hero and Willoughby as a dyed in the wool villain. But why give away so much so soon? Jane Austen’s Willoughby is a charm merchant, simultaneously deceiving Marianne, the other characters and the first time reader with his winning ways. We are puzzled by his odd behavior, shocked to learn of his duplicity (more…)
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Northanger Abbey 2007: The Continuing Saga

Another Jane Austen novel is being dusted off for the big screen. This time, Miramax films is co-producing Northanger Abbey. It’s a $9 million feature adaptation of Jane Austen’s first published novel. Shooting begins this fall in Bath, an historic city to about 150 kilometres southwest of London and well-known to Austen. Bath is noted for its handsome 18th century architecture. May 25, 1998 CBC Infoculture Such was the news in 1998. Now, nearly ten years later, Northanger Abbey has finally made it to film, albeit on the small screen. The story of how it finally made it to television is not unlike Jane Austen’s original difficulty in having her book published! The manuscript for Northanger Abbey (written, according to Cassandra Austen, in 1798-99) was sold by the Rev. Austen to Richard Crosby & Co. in 1803 under the title Susan. It was the first of Austen’s stories to be sold and commanded the princely sum of £10. It is clear that Crosby & Co. had no idea of its value. Though they advertised it as a forthcoming work, they let it rest on their shelves, unread and unpublished. After the sale of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen was at liberty to buy back her work, though under an assumed name. Crosby & Co. should never know how close they came to success. After retouching the work and writing a preface explaining to her readers why they might find some of her story antiquated, she set the work aside. Though (more…)
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Pride and Prejudice: 1995

Pride and PrejudiceIt is a truth, universally acknowledged that the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice is the most wildly popular dramatization of Jane Austen’s work ever to grace the screen, large or small. No other work has inspired such fan devotion, being the source of countless websites, news articles, and even books. Until this time, we had movies that were based on the novel by Jane Austen. Now we have novels which are based on the Jane Austen movie! P&P2, a co-production of the BBC and A&E television, was shown in Britain in the fall of 1995 and in the USA in January, 1996.First imagined in 1986 when Producer Sue Birtwistle and screenwriter Andrew Davies met at a showing of Northanger Abbey, the film took nine years to create from start to finish and remains the measuring stick of all other Jane Austen films. Continue reading Pride and Prejudice: 1995

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