Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 57

The Jane Austen News looks for Darcy

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Third Jane Austen Fiver Found

The third of the four specially engraved £5 notes which feature a tiny portrait of Jane Austen has been found, leaving only one of the £5 notes still in circulation and yet to be claimed.

The latest note was found in a small bar called ‘Charlie’s Bar’ in Northern Ireland, which incidentally is where the engraver responsible for the notes, Graham Short, said he originally spent it.

It was found by an elderly lady who wishes to remain anonymous. She also isn’t looking to profit from her find. In fact she sent the £5 note back to Mr Short with a note asking him to use it to help young people – “if it sells for a lot of money it will be better if young children could benefit from it.”

Mr Short’s friend and fellow artist, Tony Huggins-Haig, who launched the project, said around 5,000 people have called up falsely claiming to have found it. We can see why it’s so highly sought after, even by those who aren’t Austen fans, as each of the notes is insured for at least £50,000, but Mr Huggins-Haig believes the notes could actually sell for up to £100,000.


Jane’s Men – Attractive in Anonymity     


John Sutherland, author of numerous books on Literature and Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, has proposed that one of the reasons Austen’s heroes resonate so well with her readers is because they are so anonymous in their appearance, and therefore, open to personal preference and interpretation. 

Recently John Sutherland and Amanda Vickery were commissioned by UKTV to come up with a convincing illustration of what Darcy might have looked like when Austen first created him. They found it a challenge as all we are told about Darcy is that he is 28, “handsome”, has a good “mien” and £10,000 a year. “What we came up with was more the Justin Bieber end of the hunk spectrum than Dolph Lundgren. Or Firth. ” said John.

He suggests that there are a couple of possible explanations for Austen’s lack of detail.

The first is that Austen wants us to fill in the blanks ourselves. The second is that Austen was what is called “aphantasiac” — she didn’t think pictorially, whether it was places, locations or people. Some creative people are like that. They think, principally, of design. Look for portraiture in Mondrian.

What do you think? Does Darcy’s unclear face help him? Or does Colin Firth’s portrayal of him do his popularity more favours?


Come and Stay in Jane’s Old Home!

Bath is by no means lacking when it comes to lovely places to stay. However, thanks to Airbnb, now you can stay in the house in which Jane Austen first lived in when she came to live in Bath in 1801 – that of 4 Sydney Place.

Admittedly the apartment in Sydney Place is decorated in a modern style, but it is beautifully presented and offering one gorgeous bedroom as well as two sofa beds, making it suitable for four people to stay in. There are nods to Austen inside – as you enter the flat there’s a Pride & Prejudice quote on the wall, and heading upstairs will bring you to the main accommodation and the master bedroom, which offers the best of Georgian architecture with hardwood flooring and a period fireplace. One reviewer describes the apartment as ‘historically enchanting’.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 57

Posted on

Jane Austen News – Issue 36

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Jane Austen’s Daily Quote App

Jane-Austen-app1Good news! The android version of the Jane Austen quote app has been updated!

As with the older version of the app it is still free and provides a new Jane Austen quote straight to your phone at a time to suit you every day. However, it now loads much faster, with quicker quote loading and a smoother user experience all round. Plus the app is still loaded with lots of other Austen goodies; free articles from the Jane Austen Centre online magazine and easy access to the Online Giftshop and Centre news.

To get the update users with the old version will have to uninstall their version and install the new one. On the other hand if you don’t have the app yet but would like to download it, you can get the Jane Austen Daily Quote app for Apple and Android devices from iTunes or Google Play.


Jane Austen – Master Beer Brewer   

spruce2This week the Jane Austen News has come across a lovely little blog post which talks about Jane’s penchant for brewing beer – perhaps not the first thing to come to mind when you think of Jane.

Here are a few great facts from Nick Hines’ post on VinePair:

  • Beer was safer than water and was considered a daily necessity just like food.
  • It was the woman’s role to provide the beer.
  • Jane’s beer of choice was spruce beer; a beer brewed using the buds of a spruce tree, which give off citrus and pine flavours.

A timeless author and a master brewster?! (As the female brewers of the age were called.) Jane really was one talented lady.


Six Ways Jane Austen Has Shaped My Relationships    

What's the Jane Austen News this week asks EmmaJane Austen has sometimes been accused of giving people unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships. After all, not everyone can be so devoted as Colonel Brandon, or as (eventually) eloquent in their devotion as Mr Darcy, but one post on Bustle caught the eye of the Jane Austen News because it was extolling Jane’s novels as being a help, not a hinderance, when it comes to forming good relationships. And how?

  1. They make you more forgiving of your family’s quirks (e.g. “thank goodness my mother is not Mrs Bennet”).
  2. They prove that character is more important than charm.
  3. They make you more understanding of your friend’s choices (Lizzy on Charlotte’s marriage anyone?).
  4. Look after your siblings.
  5. Appreciate second chances.
  6. Patience is a virtue.

We’re know there are more reasons why reading Austen is helpful for relationships, but this is certainly a good starter list!


Bridget Jones Needs A Man Like…   

first-photos-from-the-new-bridget-jones-s-baby-movie-rumor-has-it-she-doesn-t-know-who-763555…Always? That’s the conclusion of some disheartened Bridget Jones fans this week having seen the new film.

In the most recent Bridget Jones film, Bridget is pregnant and unsure who the father is. Bridget is a strong, modern woman, and yet she spends the film trying to choose which of the two potentials she needs to have as the father of her baby. The implication being that she is unable to cope alone.

When Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice (which was the inspiration for Bridget Jones) the sad fact was that unless Lizzy wanted to become a poor spinster then she did need a man so Austen can’t be criticised for her fixation on marriage. Things have changed a lot in 200 years though, and so it’s a shame that despite major advances in gender equality (female suffrage anyone?) it would seem that the mainstream message for women is still the same: you need a man. At least this is the conclusion of quite a few disappointed Jones fans. Thoughts?


Colin Firth Too Ginger?!   
colin-firth-pride-and-prejudice-darcy-colin-firth-16177744-700-771Fans of the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice have this week been shocked to discover that Colin Firth was nearly dismissed for the part because he was too ginger! Scriptwriter Andrew Davies said, “I was a bit doubtful about Colin at the time because of his colouring…He didn’t have those dark curls back then.”

Luckily producer Sue Birtwhistle was a very vocal supporter of Firth and was “absolutely convinced that he would be wonderful”. She persuaded Davies and the team agreed that Colin would have to dye his hair for the part. “He did go dark and he stayed dark ever since,” Davies said.


Poldark Vs. Darcy     

ross_poldark_had_a_mr_darcy_moment_in_series_2_episode_4___but_who_wore_the_white_shirt_best_Poldark took a leaf out of Mr Darcy’s book this weekend as in episode 4 of series 2 he went rushing into the water at Nampara Cove to aid Demelza; while wearing a white shirt that very much echoed the one Colin Firth was wearing when leapt into that lake in Pride and Prejudice.

Now the Radio Times are asking who wore it best? Colin or Aidan? (Though there are surely a few people asking whether we have to choose between them. Let’s have both!)


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.