What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Austen and Shakespeare – Pop Culture Throughout Time
The new exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity includes some of the more goofy material objects that have been made to celebrate Shakespeare or Austen in recent years. Some are more corporate than others – empty shoe boxes with Jane’s name on them, sticking plasters, etc etc, but all show what an amazing influence the two writers still have on the world. What really caught the eye of the Jane Austen News though, were the antique pieces of memorabilia; some of them over 100 years old.
Some antique memorabilia included in the exhibition are; a series of 18th-century porcelains showing famous actors as Richard III, a signboard for the Shakespeare’s Head tavern from the late-17th or early-18th century, and antique bellows carved with Shakespeare’s face. We are by no means lacking items celebrating Austen and Shakespeare today, and not all of them are received with open arms; some may be considered tacky or overly commercial. So it’s interesting to see what passed for commemorative merchandise in the past, and to consider what of today’s memorabilia may end up in a similar Austen/Shakespeare exhibition a couple of hundred years in the future.
Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is on show at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street S.E., Washington until the 6th of November 2016.
JASNA Announces Essay Competition Winners
To foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen, JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest. The 2016 Essay Contest Topic (which was in line with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Emma at 200: “No One But Herself””) was education.
The complete essay brief was:
Education is a running theme in Emma. For instance, there are teacher/pupil relationships, a school, and former and aspiring governesses. Discuss how this emphasis shapes the plot, develops characters or reflects the views of the period.
Essay writers were asked to submit their essays in the hopes of winning; a $1000 scholarship, free registration and two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Washington DC, recognition at the AGM and on the JASNA web site, publication of the essay on JASNA’s web site, one year’s membership in JASNA for both the winner and his or her mentor, and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels. Second and third place were awarded similar smaller prizes.
The submissions were divided into three age groups: high school, college/university, and graduate, and the winners of the first, second and third place in each age group have now been announced. Their essays can be found on the JASNA website here.
Cast Announced For Pride and Prejudice Tour
In a previous edition of the Jane Austen News we announced that Matthew Kelly is set to star as Mr Bennet in the 2016/2017 UK tour of Pride and Prejudice. Well now we’re pleased to say that the full cast has been announced.
In addition to Mr Kelly, the cast will also include:
What a cast!
Are You Bromley’s Mr Darcy?
Good news for any Jane Austen fans living in or near Bromley in London! To celebrate the national tour of Pride and Prejudice coming to Bromley’s Churchill Theatre in September, a competition is being held to find Bromley’s very own Mr Darcy.
The competition asks for nominations to be made of husbands, boyfriends, sons, brothers, or just friends who are as dashing as Darcy. To nominate someone you need to email a picture and short reason for your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 19, 2016.
The finalists are decided by public vote, which opens on the News Shopper website from August 22nd.
The finalists will then be announced on August 31, 2016 and they will take part in “a fun regency themed competition” (intriguing) on the afternoon of Saturday 10th September.
The winning Mr Darcy will receive a prize of:
- A pair of tickets to Pride and Prejudice at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 7.30pm
- Pre-show meal and bottle of prosecco at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 6pm
- Overnight stay for two including breakfast at Bromley Court Hotel Friday, September 23.
- Return taxis from Bromley Court Hotel to the Churchill Theatre Friday, September 23, provided by Cannon Cars.
- £50 Intu Bromley shopping voucher
Stephanie Barron On Her New Book and Why Jane Is So Popular
While speaking in a recent interview to promote her latest book, Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie Barron (author of thirteen Jane Austen mystery novels) explained why she thinks that Austen is still so popular today.
When asked by Jane Ammeson, who was reporting for nwitimes.com, what the key to Jane Austen’s continuing popularity might be, she had this to say:
Part of Jane’s enduring appeal is that she understood how women think, and just as importantly, that women like to be appreciated and valued for their intelligence as much as their physical appeal. Austen had an acute understanding of the human heart and human motivation; this allowed her to fashion complex and compelling characters, both male and female. Her perceptions remain true to human lives today—we’re still learning from her acute understanding.
We at the Jane Austen News completely agree.
Airing Jane’s Early Work
Pride and Prejudice has to be the novel which comes up most often when talking about Jane Austen. However, while it is undoubtedly a fantastic work, many Austen fans feel that more ought to be done to promote Jane’s other writing. For this reason we were delighted to read that at the recent Holt Festival (Norwich, UK), when The Archers actress Emerald O’Hanrahan performed readings of Jane’s work in a white gown and mob cap, she dramatised not only passages from most of Austen’s novels, but also performed readings from Austen letters and several humorous snippets from her juvenilia, including her History of England.
It’s wonderful to hear that Jane’s early writing is getting some of the publicity it deserves.
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