In an article published in The Telegraph, this week we were surprised to find out that in his youth, Greg Wise (aka John Willoughby from the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility) came close to giving up acting, which would have meant that he would never have met the love of his life, Dame Emma Thompson (who played Elinor Dashwood in the 1995 film, as well as writing the screenplay for it)!
The work I’m paid to do as an actor is really play. An awful lot of people who work in any form of arts have to have a childlike quality. A lot of us are quite childish as well.
My parents wanted me to get a degree, so I studied architecture in Edinburgh for three years first. Although I never really wanted to be an architect, I’m thrilled I did it. I think everyone should do a year of architecture; it opens your eyes up to what is mainly really shoddy design.
Early in my final year I auditioned for drama school and ended up moving to Glasgow. I didn’t start earning until I was 25 – then after 18 months I decided to retire from acting. My closest friend, Simon, had drowned. I remember sitting opposite my agent, who was in tears, as I said I was giving up. I took myself off to Australia for six months and got my head together. I came back and I’ve loved working since.
I’ve never worked a great deal. It’s not been a career so much as a series of choices that you make for the best reasons at the time. Although if I don’t say Sense and Sensibility [written by and starring Emma Thompson, Wise’s wife] stands out in my career, I’ll get divorced. That was an amazing piece of work and I met the love of my life. I wasn’t paid very much, though.
We enjoyed reading a little bit more about Greg Wise and his changing relationship with acting, so we hope you did too.
What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Waiting for Sanditon!
Next year Sanditon, one of Austen’s two unfinished novels, will be be released as a film for the first time! It was announced a while ago, but not very widely reported on, so we’ve been looking for as many details on it as we can. Here’s what we’ve found out so far:
- The unfinished novel was completed by author Marie Dobbs, who was living in Moscow as a diplomat’s wife when she began work on Sanditon. The completed novel was published in 1975.
- The screenplay is written by Simon Reade who has adapted other classic books for the screen such as Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful and RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End (which is currently being filmed).
- The new costume drama has been described as half comedic satire, half romantic comedy.
- It will be directed by Jim O’Hanlon (he also directed the BBC series of Jane Austen’s Emma in 2009).
- This is a summary of the story according to Goldcrest Films who are producing it: “When Charlotte Heywood is invited to spend the summer season at Sanditon she accepts immediately, intrigued to see (not-so) polite society at play in the newly fashionable sea bathing resort. Here she meets a host of classic Austen characters from the imperious nouveau-riche Lady Denham to her impoverished ward Clara, and from the lecherous Sir Edward, to the dashing, feckless Sidney Parker and his hypochondriac sisters.”
- Holliday Grainger (Cinderella) and Max Irons (Woman In Gold) are to join Charlotte Rampling in the Jane Austen adaptation.
- It’s due out next year (2017) and we can’t wait!
The Rise of the Essay Cheat
While having a browse for new Jane Austen news this week, we looked forward with interest to reading an essay titled “Decisions Made by Women in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.” However, clicking on the link led to a custom essay writing site which advertised that it would write your essay for you, and that it was “100% anonymous. No plagiarism. Any topic. Any difficulty.”
Later we clicked on a link which promised an essay which looked at the essay title: “comment on the characters and behaviour of Edward Ferrars and John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.” We clicked. It led us to the same essay writing site.
This happened a couple of weeks ago as well, with a different Jane Austen essay subject, and we thought it was just a one off. Sadly it looks as though more and more essays are coming onto the market which will do student’s work for them and it’s not a one off; it’s a trend. The really sad thing is, aside from grades being awarded that aren’t deserved, that it means that new students aren’t really reading Jane and so they’re missing out on the fantastic work she has to offer.
Jane Austen Book Benches Need Sponsors
Companies from across the borough of Basingstoke are now able to sign up to sponsor one of the 25 “book benches” which are being created for the Sitting With Jane campaign. The benches will be specially decorated and shaped like an open book, and are due to go on display in different places around Basingstoke and Deane next year to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death. The sponsors are needed to help fund the cost of each bench and its decoration, and in return for their sponsorship, sponsors get free exposure in the project’s free app, and on plaques, and they can choose which selected design to use on their bench.
“Sitting With Jane is an exciting cultural, educational and legacy initiative that will ultimately benefit charities through the proceeds that are raised when the Bookbenches are auctioned.”
The book benches will be uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist, and will then be displayed for 12 weeks in the Basingstoke area in the summer of 2017.
A Jane Austen Kickstarter
You might have seen on our Facebook page this week that a Jane Austen Kickstarter campaign is heading into its final days.
The project, launched by author Karin Quint, is asking for €14,000 by December 7th so that her book, Jane Austen’s England, “the first (and only!) travel guide devoted to exploring locations in England that have a unique connection with either Austen herself, her work, and/or the film and tv adaptations of her books” can be published in English. At present it’s only available in Dutch.
Many Janeites from countries around the world have expressed great interest in a guidebook like this – but it is now only available in Dutch! We would really like to have it translated into English to make it accessible to them. Unfortunately, a translation is a costly thing – and the book is more than 300 pages long!
In order to write her book, in 2013 Karin travelled through England and visited each location. Het Engeland van Jane Austen, as it’s known in Dutch, was published in the spring of 2014 by the renowned Dutch publisher Gottmer. So far, it’s doing very well in the Netherlands – and a second edition was just published in July 2016. Now it’s just a case of fingers crossed that she will reach her funding goal by the deadline so the book can be translated. You can click here for more information on the book and the campaign.
An Examination of Jane and Dorothy
In June 2017, to coincide with the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death in July 2017, Sandstone Press will publish Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility by Marian Veevers.
There have been plenty of books examining the life and writing of Jane Austen, but Jane and Dorothy brings together the lives of two literary women – Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth (William Wordsworth’s sister, who was also a writer, though not one which many know about) in order to examine what it meant to be a female writer in Jane’s time, and the similarities of the two women’s lives. They were born just four years apart, both lived in Georgian England, and although they never met each other, Jane and Dorothy had friends, family and many interests in common. This is the first time their two lives have been compared in this way, offering new insights into each woman and their age, the publisher has said.
We love tea! But following recent events between the UK and Europe, and the falling value of the pound, our tea is becoming threatened, or at least more costly (for the tea companies certainly). The cost of tea has skyrocketed and gone up by 50%; the price of an 80 kilogram bag of tea has increased from £100 to £150 according to Typhoo Tea. We mention this in the Jane Austen News because it reminded us of Jane’s time when tea was such an expensive and precious commodity.
The British East India Company had exclusive rights on importing tea until 1834, and this kept prices high for decades! The government also kept increasing taxes on tea to finance the wars it undertook. This meant that smuggling tea on the black market in order to avoid taxes became big business!
Not that we think that that this black market trade in tea will reemerge, but we did start to appreciate more this week our much loved tea breaks!
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