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Jane Austen News – Issue 81

The Jane Austen News learns about the C18th human gnomes

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Jane Austen In Couples Therapy For Campaign

Audible has launched a new campaign in Australia encouraging people to “grow their minds”, and Miss Austen plays a starring role.

Research commissioned by Audible and conducted by researchers at Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre has found that 62 per cent of Aussies want to grow their mind, but 35 per cent are unsure of how to do so. Inspired by this, Audible.com.au has launched its new multi-channel campaign; “Grow Your Mind”, and one of the videos made to support the campaign has a flustered Jane Austen in a bonnet in couples therapy with a negligent reader.

We thought it was good for a giggle.

To help Australians kick start their journey, Audible.com.au has also created the list “The 24 Best Audiobooks to Grow the Mind”, which can be found here (though shockingly Jane’s novels don’t feature!)


Unconventional Pride And Prejudice Is A Hit

Currently playing at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in New York state is what’s being called an “unconventional” stage production of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It includes theatrical acting (naturally), disco music (maybe not so naturally) and men playing women (very Shakespearean) – but it does all this while apparently “staying true to Austen’s original themes”.

This is the trailer/taster from the performance and, while we can’t be sure how “true” it is to Austen’s original themes, it did remind us at the Jane Austen News a little of the UK Austen improv group Austentatious. Either way, a bit of fun if you’re in the area.

 


Jane Austen As A Video Game Surprise

Agents of Mayhem, a sci-fi, open-world, shooter-based video game, might not sound like it has anything at all to do with Jane Austen. At first this is true. It’s literally an imaginary world away from Jane’s world, except that in a bizarre twist, it turns out that Jane Austen is the narrator behind the whole thing!

How?

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 81

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Jane Austen News – Issue 48

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   One Austen £5 Note Has Been Found One of the four £5 notes which carry a mini 5mm engraving of Jane Austen has been found. The note was first paid to staff at the Square Cafe in Blackwood, South Wales, by the engraver Graham Short. Unfortunately no one recognised who he was at the time and staff unwittingly gave the note away in change. When it was announced in the national news that the £5 had been spent at the cafe customers flocked to the cafe and staff checked all to the notes in the till but it was already gone. The note turned up later in the purse of an elderly art fan who wishes to remain anonymous. She said she is going to give the note to her granddaughter as an investment rather than reaping the reward. The note is said to be worth £50,000. She is one generous grandmother! Jane Austen Letter Massively Exceeds Estimate   The recent auction at Sotheby’s, in which a letter written by Jane Austen and early copies of her novels went up for sale, has had some astounding final sale prices. The letter written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra at the age of 25 sold for £150,000 – almost four times the lower estimate that was predicted for its sale (£40,000 – 60,000)! The letter was a window into the daily life of Jane Austen, and is one of a series of letters written by Jane to Cassandra (more…)
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To Punish or Defend? The Regency Duel

A Regency Duel

Although one might need to read Georgette Heyer, rather than Jane Austen, to get a peek at a Regency duel, however, the activity is by no means ignored in Austen’s novels.

In Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet voices her fears that her husband will fight Mr. Wickham, leaving her daughters to be turned out of their home by the Collins’. This may have been due to her over dramatic sense of self pity, but in fact, Sense and Sensibility’s Col Brandon and Mr. Willoughby do meet in an attempt to defend the (doubtable) honor of Eliza Williams.

“One meeting was unavoidable…I could meet [Willoughby] in no other way. Eliza had confessed to me, though most reluctantly, the name of her lover; and when he returned to town, which was within a fortnight after myself, we met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned unwounded, and the meeting, therefore, never got abroad.”

Colonel Brandon and Willoughby fight a duel in a 2008 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.
Colonel Brandon and Willoughby fight a duel in a 2008 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

According to one definition, “A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.”

During the 17th and 18th centuries (and earlier), duels were mostly fought with swords (the rapier, later the smallsword, and finally the French foil), but beginning in the late 18th century and during the 19th century, duels were more commonly fought using pistols. Special sets of duelling pistols were crafted for the wealthiest of noblemen for this purpose.

The duel was based on a code of honour. Duels were fought not so much to kill the opponent as to gain “satisfaction”, that is, to restore one’s honour by demonstrating a willingness to risk one’s life for it, and as such the tradition of duelling was originally reserved for the male members of nobility; however, in the modern era it extended to those of the upper classes generally. From the early 17th century duels became illegal in the countries where they were practised. Continue reading To Punish or Defend? The Regency Duel