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Jane Austen News – Issue 35

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  Pride and Prejudice At The Ballet       Stage adaptations of Jane Austen have become increasingly popular in recent years (we look at one such adaptation later on in this week’s Jane Austen News). We’ve had one-woman shows, Jane Austen musicals, Jane Austen improv, but one we personally haven’t come across before is one of Jane Austen’s novels staged as a ballet. However Ballet Fantastique will be doing just that. Their first show of the 2016-17 season is bringing back a 2012 premiere, Pride and Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet. “We’re taking the classic Jane Austen novel and remixing it with 1920s Paris,” said their marketing director Katey Finley in a recent interview. “A live band will be wearing snazzy suits and playing live period jazz along with great choreography, like doing The Charleston en pointe.” How fantastic is that?! A Book Of One’s Own Orion recently bought the novel Perception by Terri Fletcher, which will chronicle the life of Mary Bennet, the third Bennet sister, after Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia leave Longbourne. In the past all of the Bennet sisters have at one time or another seen the spotlight and had new adventures written about them, but a recent blog post by Alicia Kort has got us thinking on the subject of literary women whose stories deserve further exploration. What other strong female characters in literature deserve their own novels but as of yet haven’t been given one? Alicia suggests; Hermione Granger (The Harry (more…)
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Bethlem Royal Hospital in Jane Austen’s Day: Bedlam’s Beginnings

The Bethlem Royal Hospital is a hospital in London, United Kingdom for the treatment of mental illness, part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. It has been known by various names including St Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and, informally and most notoriously, Bedlam. Bethlem Royal Hospital Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London. It moved to Moorfields just outside the Moorgate in the 17th century, then to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century, before moving to its current location at Monks Orchard in West Wickham, in the London Borough of Bromley in 1930. The word “bedlam”, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital’s prior nickname. Although the hospital became a modern psychiatric facility, historically it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform. Eighteenth century Bethlem was most notably portrayed in a scene from William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1735), the story of a rich merchant’s son, Tom Rakewell whose immoral living causes him to end up in Bethlem. At one point, the hospital, in an attempt to wring pity (and money) from wealthy donors, opened its doors to a steady stream of visitors. The Governors actively sought out “people of note and quallitie” – the educated, wealthy and well-bred – as visitors. The limited evidence would suggest that they enjoyed some success in attracting such visitors of “quality”. In this elite and idealised model of charity and (more…)
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J. M. W. Turner: Painter of Light

Self portrait, oil on canvas, circa 1799 Joseph Mallord William “J. M. W.” Turner, RA (baptised 14 May 1775 – 19 December 1851) was an English Romanticist landscape painter, water-colourist, and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as “the painter of light”and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early 20th century. Joseph Mallord William Turner was baptised on 14 May 1775, but his date of birth is unknown. It is generally believed he was born between late April and early May. Turner himself claimed he was born on 23 April, but there is no proof. He was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, in London, England. His father, William Turner (1745–21 September 1829), was a barber and wig maker, His mother, Mary Marshall, came from a family of butchers. A younger sister, Mary Ann, was born in September 1778 but died in August 1783. Eighteenth century Bethlem was most notably portrayed in a scene from William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1735), the story of a rich merchant’s son, Tom Rakewell whose immoral living causes him to end up in Bethlem. In 1785, due to his mother (more…)
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Hannah Snell: The Famous “Woman In Men’s Cloaths”

Hannah Snell: The Famous "Woman In Men's Cloaths"

Hannah Snell: The Famous “Woman In Men’s Cloaths”

In his diary entry of May 21, 1778, Parson Woodforde (Diary of a Country Parson) notes a trip that he took to Weston in order to see a “Famous Woman in Men’s Cloaths”:

woodforde

This curiousity was none other than Hannah Snell, subject of The Female Soldier; or The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell, 1750.

Born in Worcester, England on 23 April 1723, locals claim that she played a soldier even as a child. In 1740, Hannah moved to London and married James Summs on 6 January 1744.

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