What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
The Jane Austen Centre Wins Award
The Jane Austen News are very pleased to announce that on Wednesday (19th October 2016), the Jane Austen Centre was awarded bronze in the Small Attraction of the Year category at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards 2016/17. Our guide ‘Lizzy Bennet’ (the lady in burgundy in the photo opposite) attended the awards as one of an audience of 288 guests who witnessed 66 trophies being presented to tourism businesses at the first ever Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards ceremony held at the hotel DoubleTree by Hilton.
To get to this stage each the Jane Austen Centre had gone through a rigorous three-stage judging process, taking into account websites, reviews, social media, visits by industry ‘mystery visitors’ and finally a judging panel. Now all at the centre will be entered into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017, with eligible finalists also considered for the national Visit England Awards later in 2017. Fingers crossed!
The Challenges of Making a Jane Austen Video Game
Judy L. Tyrer, founder of 3 Turn Productions, has just released a beta (trial version) for Ever, Jane, which is her massively multiplayer online game (MMO) set in Austen’s own setting, Regency Period England. There have been a few things that needed tweaking however in order to blend modern games with Austen’s novels, and Tyrer has been recently speaking about the challenges she’s faced in marrying the two very different worlds up.
Usual stats like “strength” have been adjusted for the setting to include status, kindness, duty, and happiness. Also the guild systems, where players create alliances with one another, are being worked on. In Ever, Jane you can adopt, marry, divorce, and disown to gain loyalty or frustrate your enemies.
Dancing needs some attention too, but they are developing “automatic dancing shoes” that will automate the process of dancing so players will be free to type to each other while dancing. At the moment dancing and intimacy is a difficult match to make as you have to concentrate on the steps.
So it’s got some elements that need ironing out, but do we really mind when the beta version is free to play?
Why Did Jane Never Marry?
Expert David Lassman writing for History Extra magazine has nicely summarised Jane’s various lost and almost-loves, and has explained why her feels it was that Jane Austen never married. After all, Jane was not without her share of suitors and she did have a few potential husbands throughout her lifetime. One of these was Harris Bigg-Wither. Lassman has this to say about the gentleman:
I believe it was with a pragmatic mind that Jane accepted Bigg-Wither’s proposal. And then throughout the night, either within her solitary thoughts or in discussion with her sister, she pondered on what she might be losing herself, and changed her mind. It might have been the dutiful daughter who accepted the proposal, but it was the aspiring writer (and true artist) who descended the stairs the following morning, took Harris to one side, and declared she had made a mistake and the marriage was off.
He’s also nicely addressed what caused the “Was Jane Austen Gay?” media storm, and what it was that stopped the storm in its tracks. The full article can be read here.
In With The New and In With The Old
We’ve recently updated our free weekly Jane Austen quiz and we’ve been loving the positive feedback our new style of quizzes are getting. We at the Jane Austen News really appreciates the feedback and all of your kind comments. All of this talk of quizzes got us thinking more about our quiz and we thought, what if one quiz isn’t enough? After all, who doesn’t like a good quiz? So with this in mind we thought we should share some of our previous old-style quizzes with you as well.
We’ll be adding new-old quizzes to our quiz archive page each week, so make sure to check back each week to have a look at them. To have a look at this week’s quizzes from weeks gone by click here.
Jane Costumes for Halloween?
Halloween is just around the corner, so of course talk about Halloween costumes is increasing; what are the best costumes, what are the funniest, the scariest, the most original? One idea we were expecting to see for Halloween costumes were any based on Jane Austen. However, Bustle have surprised us with their new article 5 Jane Austen Inspired Costumes for the Perfect Literary Halloween.
We have to say having looked at them we’re not sure how a; Regency or Georgian they are, or, b; how much like Halloween costumes some of them are…
Photo credit to sadieltrombetta.
Jane Austen Costumes on Display in Yorkshire
Now from one costume story to another. Stunning costumes worn by the stars in screen portrayals of Jane Austen’s and Charlotte Bronte’s best loved novels went on show in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on Monday 17th October. The exhibition includes
- the wedding dresses worn by Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility
- the bridegroom outfits worn by Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman in Sense and Sensibility
- the patterned gold and cream dress worn by Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the ever popular BBC TV 1995 Pride and Prejudice
- the classic Mr Rochester outfit worn by Michael Fassbender in the 2011 film Jane Eyre
As well as a selection of beautiful wedding dresses from the Harrogate costume collection.
The exhibition in on until 31st December 2016.
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.
Marrying Mr. Darcy: Winning in Marriage is Entirely a Matter of Chance!
A review by Meredith Esparza from Austenesque Reviews
Awhile back I met Erika Svanoe on Twitter and I saw that she was running a Kickstarter campaign for her new game, Marrying Mr. Darcy. As a Janeite who loves to play games (especially Jane Austen related games) I knew I had to support her campaign and obtain a copy of this new game for myself!
Several months later (because the Kickstarter was super successful!) I became the happy owner of this new and unique card game. I decided to coerce my family to play it with me! I thought it would be fun to share our experience playing the game with you all, so I wrote up a review!
Marrying Mr. Darcy is a card game with elegantly designed cards, full of heroines, suitors, events, and character cards. The object of the game is to accumulate the most points. There are two stages of the game in which to collect points – The Courtship Stage and The Proposal Stage.
During The Courtship Stage points are earned by collecting Character cards – there are 4 types of Character cards highlighting various attributes – Wit, Beauty, Reputation, and Friendliness. Event cards determine when each player receives, steals, or loses Character cards.
The Proposal Stage is very brief, it is when all the players attempt to match their heroine with 1 of the 6 possible suitors. Each suitor has different requirements (i.e. you must have 5 Wit points to be eligible for Mr. Darcy). Rolling the dice determines if a suitor proposes or not, leaving the possibility of winning the suitor you want totally up to chance. If you are unlucky with the die, you may end up an Old Maid!
We played one game and it last a little over an hour.
The event cards were full of fun and entertaining tasks. As a Janeite I loved catching all the references and nods to scenes and gatherings that take place in Pride and Prejudice. All of us players, found the cards to be interesting, varied, and great inducements for laughter and merriment. (especially from the men!)
At the Proposal Stage, it was quite interesting to see who we each ended up with. I can’t believe that no one married Darcy!!!
There were one or two Event cards, that left us a little confused as to what we should do and the strategy of using Cunning Points and cards was a little overwhelming at first. In our game, it was perhaps unique that the Mr. Darcy proposal card came up in the first round. (Mr. Darcy becomes engaged in the first round…game over.) Since I wanted to experience real gameplay, I declined Mr. Darcy’s proposal (how shocking, I know!)
The Hubby: 7/10 A fun game, but sometimes the amount of rules felt a little overwhelming. I really enjoyed the attractive graphics and overall card designs in Marrying Mr. Darcy.
The Gamer: 7/10 I like how each heroine had different strengths and how some of the event cards were specifically beneficial for them. That made the gameplay interesting.
The Mother: 7/10 It took awhile to understand, but once we got going it was easy to get the hang of it. I liked how there was more than one option of suitor for each heroine.
The Janeite: 9/10 I love how this game was still fun and playable even if you had no knowledge of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen! A perfect game for Janeites who want to share their love for Jane Austen with their significant others, family members, and friends (without them feeling tortured or bored!) The game is elegant and the artwork stunning. Literary-based games are the best!
Meredith Esparza is music studio director and private piano instructor living off the coast of North Carolina with her very own Mr. Bingley. She is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen and an avid reader. For more than five years her blog, Austenesque Reviews has been devoted to the reading and reviewing of numerous Jane Austen sequels, fan-fiction, and para-literature. She loves being able to connect with readers and authors online through a shared love and admiration for Jane Austen. Visit Meredith at her blog Austenesque Reviews, follow her on Twitter as @austenesque and on Facebook as Austenesque Reviews.
The well appointed Georgian table relied heavily on a variety of meats served at each course of every meal. This included not only your run of the mill beef, mutton and poultry, but also game such as venison and hare. In her letters, Jane Austen mentions receiving gifts of meat, such as the “a pheasant and hare the other day from the Mr. Grays of Alton” in 1809 and the “hare and four rabbits from G[odmersham] yesterday”, claiming that they are now “stocked for nearly a week.” (November 26, 1815). Perhaps the most famous recipe for Hare is, of course, Jugged Hare.
Jugging is the process of stewing whole animals, mainly game or fish, for an extended period in a tightly covered container such as a casserole or an earthenware jug. In French, such a stew of a game animal thickened with the animal’s blood is known as a civet.
One common traditional dish that involves jugging is Jugged Hare (known as civet de lièvre in France), which is a whole hare, cut into pieces, marinated and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water. It is traditionally served with the hare’s blood (or the blood is added right at the very end of the cooking process) and port wine. Continue reading Hannah Glasse’s Jugged Hare
Jane Austen was a very hands-on aunt, with numerous games and activities in her repertoire. Her nieces and nephews recall with fondness the many games, from paper ships to Battledore and Shuttlecock, that she would play with them by the hour. One activity, Spillikins, was remembered with fondness, by Jane, herself:
“Our little visitor has just left us, & left us highly pleased with her;-she is a nice, natural, openhearted, affectionate girl, with all the ready civility which one sees in the best Children of the present day; -so unlike anything that I was myself at her age, that I am often all astonishment & shame.-Half her time here was spent at Spillikins; which I consider as a very valuable part of our Household furniture, & as not the least important Benefaction- from the family of Knight to that of Austen.”
Jane Austen to Cassandra
February 8, 1807
In her letter, Jane Austen refers to her personal set as “a very valuable part of our household furniture.” The “Austen Spillikins”, along with other artifacts of Jane’s daily life can be found on display at the museum in Lyme. Ivory fish, like those Lydia gambles with in Pride and Prejudice, and letter blocks, similar to those used in Emma can also be found in the display. It is clear the Austens were serious about their fun and games.
So just what was this engrossing game? Spillikins is played the same way that early versions of Jack Straw and the American “pick up sticks” are. The difference comes withe the playing pieces. Jack Straws were originally played with uniform pieces of straw (though now wooden or plastic farming tools are generally used.) Pick up sticks are made of wood or plastic, of uniform length, sometimes with knobs on the ends. Spillikins, were crafted from wood or ivory and could be blunted or rounded depending on the set.
When playing with sticks of uniform size and shape, like those that belonged to Austen, the rules are, as follows: Continue reading Spillikins
Bowls or lawn bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”.
The game has been traced certainly to the 13th century. A manuscript of that period in the royal library, Windsor (No. 20, E iv.), contains a drawing representing two players aiming at a small cone instead of an earthenware ball or jack. The world’s oldest surviving bowling green is the Southampton Old Bowling Green, which was first used in 1299
The game eventually came under the ban of king and parliament, both fearing it might jeopardize the practice of archery, then so important in battle. Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of Edward III, Richard II and other monarchs. Even when, on the invention of gunpowder and firearms, the bow had fallen into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued. The discredit attaching to bowling alleys, first established in London in 1455, probably encouraged subsequent repressive legislation, for many of the alleys were connected with taverns frequented by the dissolute and gamesters. The word “bowls” occurs for the first time in the statute of 1511 in which Henry VIII confirmed previous enactments against unlawful games. By a further act of 1541—which was not repealed until 1845—artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas, and then only in their master’s house and presence. It was further enjoined that any one playing bowls outside his own garden or orchard was liable to a penalty of 6s. 8d., while those possessed of lands of the yearly value of £100 might obtain licences to play on their own private greens. Continue reading Lawn Bowls
Battledore and shuttlecock or jeu de volant is an early game similar to that of modern badminton.
This game is played by two people, with small rackets, called battledores, made of parchment or rows of gut stretched across wooden frames, and shuttlecocks, made of a base of some light material, like cork, with trimmed feathers fixed round the top.
The object of the players is to bat the shuttlecock from one to the other as many times as possible without allowing it to fall to the ground.
Jane Austen, herself, played the game with her nephews. In 1808, she wrote to Cassandra
Yesterday was a very quiet day with us; my noisiest efforts were writing to Frank, and playing at battledore and shuttlecock with William; he and I have practised together two mornings, and improve a little; we have frequently kept it up three times, and once or twice six.
Games with a shuttlecock are believed to have originated in ancient Greece about 2,000 years ago. From there they spread via the Indo-Greek kingdoms to India and then further east to China and Siam. Continue reading Battledore and Shuttlecock
We do not want amusement: bilbocatch, at which George is indefatigable; spillikins, paper ships, riddles, conundrums, and cards, with watching the flow and ebb of the river, and now and then a stroll out, keep us well employed; and we mean to avail ourselves of our kind papa’s consideration, by not returning to Winchester till quite the evening of Wednesday.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
October 29, 1809
Jane Austen loved spending time with her many nieces and nephews. At the time this letter was written, two of Edward’s sons were staying with her in Southampton after the death of their mother. Riddles, paper ships and cards are easy enough to decipher, but what was the “Bilbocatch” game that Jane Austen referred to?
Commonly known as Cup-And-Ball, Bilbocatch refers to “a traditional childs toy. It is a wooden cup with a handle, and a small ball attached to the cup by a string. It is popular in Spanish-speaking countries, where it is called “boliche”. The name varies across many countries — in El Salvador and Guatemala it is called “capirucho”; in Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico it is called “balero”; in Spain it is “boliche”; in Brazil it is called “bilboquê”; in Chile it is “emboque”; in Colombia it is called “coca” or “ticayo”; and in Venezuela the game is called “perinola”.A variant game, Kendama, known in England as Ring and Pin, is very popular in Japan.
Continue reading Bilbocatch: Old Fashioned Ball and Cup Fun