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Jane Austen News – Issue 87

the Jane Austen News learns more about JASP

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A Look At Lizzy Bennet’s Drawers

This week at the Jane Austen News we had great fun reading Bustle‘s piece on underwear in the time of Jane Austen. At the Jane Austen Centre our guides are often asked what the underwear of the era was like, so it was nice to see that we got a mention in Bustle‘s article too.

In brief (sorry, the pun was too good) Melissa Ragsdale explained why, although the screen adaptations may look terribly genteel and elegant, in real life Regency England it wasn’t all tea and cake and comfort.

If you like feel like a lot of women and long to get home at the end of the day and ditch your bra and relax in a nice pair of comfy PJs, well, it would have been much worse back in Jane’s time…

Unlike Victorian corsets which hooked in the front and laced up the back, older corsets only laced up the back in a zigzag fashion using one string—cross lacing would be invented later on—and stiffened in the front with a carved wooden or bone busk which created a straight posture and separated the bosoms for the “heaving” effect, so popular at the time.

Although if you like going commando, you’d have been in luck…

According to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, ‘drawers’ (which were like loose shorts, and often crotchless) were invented in 1806, but it wasn’t common for adult women to wear them until after 1820. Drawers went on to merge into ‘knickers’ and ‘combinations’ during the Victorian era, and modern “panties” didn’t exist until the 1920s.

To see what else Melissa found out about Lizzy Bennet’s underwear drawer you can read the full article here.

Think Jane’s No Longer Relevant? Think Again

For anyone who thinks Jane Austen’s stories are no longer relevant to real life, The Jane Austen Society of Pakistan is out to explain why her words still ring true for them.

Laaleen Sukera, a journalist and the founder of JASP, has been speaking to The Economist in an article published this week, and explaining why Jane Austen is so popular in Pakistan, one of the main reasons being because the etiquette and customs of the Regency are still alive and well in society. A couple of examples:

  • Weddings are the equivalent of the Bath Assembly Rooms – it’s where people go to search for suitable partners.
  • There is still a ‘season’ – three months crammed with parties, weddings and balls where girls put on their best jewels and finery and check out the most eligible suitors on offer.
  • Inheritance laws still heavily favour male heirs.
  • Marrying your daughters to rich men, from good backgrounds, who can take good care of them, is still the main focus of many families.

Austen resonates with us because Regency England is so much like today’s Pakistan. I know her books are 200 years old and set in small English county towns and villages but, really, her themes, her characters, her situations, her plots, they could have been written for us now.

At the Jane Austen News we found it fascinating to read all about the parallels between Regency England and Pakistan, and on Austen’s popularity there. The full article (well worth a read!) can be found here.

 Online Role-Playing with Jane Austen – A Report

If shoot-em-up adventures or burning-rubber car chases aren’t your kind of thing, but at the same time you’re not completely averse to the whole idea of playing video games, then the latest reviews of a new virtual roleplaying game called Ever, Jane might well be of interest to you. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 87

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Jane Austen News – Issue 33

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?


Colin Firth Doesn’t Think Mr Darcy Is Attractive

mr-darcy-coverColin Firth has confessed that he doesn’t understand why Mr Darcy is so popular. In fact he said that he took the role not to be a heart-throb but because he “thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgemental and snobbish.”

While speaking to the Daily Mail he also said;

I didn’t have to think about bringing charm to the role – the way I saw it, I just had to stand there and make everyone hate me … then this weird thing happened where people liked him, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all! We’re 20 years on and I still don’t understand it.

He may not understand how it happened, but he most definitely did make Mr Darcy a success.

And Adrain Lukis Doesn’t Think Mr Wickham Is That Bad     

1jarw.jpg.galleryFrom one actor with an unusual take on his character to another.

Many would consider Mr Wickham, with his attempted, and later successful, elopements and his constant lying, to be the villain of Pride and Prejudice. However, Adrian Lukis who played him in the 1995 BBC production doesn’t see him that way.

While speaking to reporter Flora Thompson he said

I do not see Wickham as an out-and-out villain. People are not meant to see him as that – he is an adventurer, he doesn’t have any money – we all know someone like that. He lives on his wits.

I went about preparing for the character by using how he is described by others in the book – he is seen as an amiable man who is economical with the truth. That’s how I chose to play him, not as an archetypal villain.

Ever Jane – Jane Austen as a Role Playing Game

i927zkeoe3ecgqmucfz8Following a successful Kickstarter campaign which was begun in 2013 and raised $US110,000, the new Jane Austen MMORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game –  a type of game genre which allows thousands of gamers to play in the game’s evolving virtual world at the same time) called Ever Jane has reached its beta test stages.

The full game is set to be released next year and can involve quests such as delivering a handkerchief or wrangling a sheep, and character stats, including status, kindness, duty and reputation. One tester said of the game: “I encountered about a dozen characters total, all of whom remained dapper and spoke in proper English throughout my in-game travels, which at one point led me to an elegant ballroom.”

The lead developer of the game, Judy L. Tyrer, does make it clear that this is not your normal online game; “It’s not about kill or be killed, but invite or be invited. Instead of raids, we will have grand balls. Instead of dungeons, we will have dinner parties.”

At the Jane Austen News we’re most curious to see the finished result when it’s available next year!

Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to be Sued by Publisher  

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAlways a controversial subject among Austen fans is that of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now its author Seth Grahame-Smith is in hot water again, only this time with his publisher.

In 2010, Grahame-Smith signed a $1 million deal for two books; one a follow-up to his book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the second a novel on a new topic to be delivered in 2013. Both, unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, were meant to be entirely his own work and not a mash-up with another classic author’s work. Unfortunately after 34 months of delays, Grahame-Smith finally submitted a manuscript so disappointing that his publisher Hachette has filed a lawsuit against him for the money which they had advanced for the works.

Hachette’s legal complaint says that the new manuscript was meant to be “original with Author in all respects,” (Hachette describes the manuscript he submitted as “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”) and said that it “is not comparable in style and quality to Smith’s wholly original bestseller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Grahame-Smith is yet to make a statement commenting on the lawsuit.

If Zack Synder Did Sense and Sensibility…     

Zack Snyder – director of the films 300Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a very distinct style. He goes for moody, dark, rain soaked, shots full of slow-motion effects in his films. This is great for thrillers and action films, but not an approach we at the Jane Austen News would naturally think of using for the retelling of a literary classic.

So with this juxtaposition in mind some of his fans have made a parody imaging what it might be like if he did. Sense and Sensibility Synder-style begins in the film below at 1:30.

National Treasures That Have Nearly Been Lost   

_90941634_coronet_2A sapphire and diamond coronet given to Queen Victoria by her beloved husband Albert has been placed under a temporary export bar, just like Jane Austen’s famous turquoise ring once was after Kelly Clarkson bought it at auction.  

A temporary export bar is something which the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest can place on an object deemed as a national treasure. This bar stops the object from leaving the country for a time in order that UK-based individuals or institutions can attempt to raise enough money to buy and keep it.

The asking price for the 11.5cm wide coronet, which is mounted with 11 sapphires all set in gold and diamonds set in silver, has an asking price of £5million. The Department for Culture Media and Sport said a final decision over the export licence on the coronet will be deferred until 27 December.

We’ll have to wait and see if, like with Jane’s ring, the bar is successful in saving the coronet from being sent overseas.

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.

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