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Jane Austen News – Issue 96

The Jane Austen News hopes Giles is converted!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 


To Lop and Crop or Leave Alone?

There has long been a debate around whether the books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters are a bit of fun or an absolute travesty.

Jane Austen spin-offs are subjected to huge amounts of criticism, both good and bad. Usually these debates as to their merits, or lack of, take place online or in the media. However, now the universities are getting involved and there’s even been an academic essay written on the subject, analysing whether the “lopping and cropping” of Austen is a good or a bad thing.

Sydney Miller, a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Los Angeles, has published her essay titled “How Not to Improve the Estate: Lopping & Cropping Jane Austen”. The abstract reads thus:

This essay reads Quirk Classics’ monstrous mash-ups, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, asdeliberately excessive and unnatural alterations that speak to a preoccupation with improvement that is both thematized within Austen’s own work and symptomatic of Austenmania’s broader project of renovating the literary landscape that is Jane Austen’s estate. While the mash-up enterprise is, no doubt, an exercise in making Austen’s novels worse, the essay frames the Quirk travesties in terms of Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp,” asking whether it is possible that these imprudent “improvements” might actually be good because they are bad. Insofar as the enhanced editions make manifest the Camp sensibility that has long been latent in Austen’s prose, they tease promising critical insight; however, the increasingly derivative mash-ups ultimately fail in their campiness precisely where Austen succeeds: for hers remains a secret of style.

What do you think? Are spin-offs like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters a good or a bad thing? A good way to get more readers introduced to Austen who might not otherwise try reading her (i.e. read the spin-off and then read the original)? Or are they a destruction of good literature?

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 96

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Jane Austen News – Issue 44

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 (more…)
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