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Jane Austen News – Issue 118

The Jane Austen News dreams of Pemberley

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A Dictionary of 19th Century Language

Oxford Dictoionary of 19th Century LanguageThis week the Jane Austen News has put our book recommendation for the week as the first item in the news as we’ve had  such a lovely time exploring the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary of 19th Century Language.

The illustrated dictionary is a new release this month and, unlike most dictionaries, is one we found ourselves reading more like a novel than a reference guide. Rather than dipping in and out for a definition for an unfamiliar word, we found ourselves too intrigued to stop at one definition, and instead felt drawn to keep turning pages.

Oxford University Press’s website describes the book thus:

This browsable and unique dictionary explains the interesting words found in 19th century texts studied at secondary school. With clear explanations, panels, and an illustrated section of photographs and artworks on the themes of transport, crime, fashion and more, it is an essential guide to help students enjoy 19th century literature.

 

A one-of-a-kind dictionary that makes sense of the language of 19th century texts for GCSE students and  beyond. Over 3000 words and meanings, including example sentences, and help with unfamiliar usage and dialects. Includes an illustrated section of photographs and artworks which brings alive the social context, politics and scientific developments in the 1800s.

We’d say that this is a good book for anyone who enjoys reading 18th and 19th century literature, not just students. In fact we enjoyed it so much that it was the inspiration for this weeks quiz.

If you’d like to find out more, or purchase your own copy (we couldn’t resist stocking it), you can do either or both here.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 117

Jane Austen News listens to Audible

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Jane Austen Meets Midsomer Murders

We’re not sure how big the crossover is between Jane Austen fans and Midsomer Murders fans, but if you (like me) enjoy a nice bit of escapism with DCI John Barnaby as he investigates yet another murder in the deadliest county in England (luckily fictional) then good news: he’s back and this time he’s in the middle of a Jane Austen fan event!

Episode five, titled Death by Persuasion, will take us back in time. When the body of a woman dressed in Georgian costume is found, a couple who run Jane Austen-themed weekends, James and Kitty Oswood (Samuel West and Claire Skinner, who you might recognise as Fanny Dashwood from the 2008 BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility) are questioned. DCI Barnaby and DS Winter discover there is more to the story: the victim was a journalist, interested in the village’s healthcare drone delivery programme.

The episode is due to air in the UK on Sunday the 13th of May at 8pm on ITV.

 

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Jane Austen News – Issue 115

the jane austen news has a new favourite picture book

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Over-the-Top Austen On PC

At the Jane Austen News we rather suspect that this latest Austen-based PC game is going to be a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. There is no middle ground.

Tongue-in-cheek satirical strategy game Austen Translation is due for release on the website Steam on May the 1st. In it, players play as young unmarried women of uncertain means who have just one social season in which to find an eligible man to marry so as to save themselves and their family from humiliation and destitution. Though, naturally, there will be fierce rivalries and obstacles to overcome along the way.

Austen Translation pokes fun at the world of Jane Austen, particularly the preconceived ideas of how men and women should behave. The game takes Jane’s genteel brand of satire and sends it over the top.

 

What do you think? Good fun? Or a step too far?

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Jane Austen News – Issue 114

The Jane Austen News goes to the West End

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Emma On Broadway

A new West End and Broadway production of Emma: A New Musical is currently being developed by award-winning director Thom Southerland, award-winning playwright Meghan Brown, and Sarah Taylor Ellis, a composer who specialises in musicals about women.

The leading roles will be played by Carly Bawden, Rupert Young and Ashleigh Gray, all of whom are highly accomplished actors from stage and screen, and the cast includes a host of equally impressive performers who have previously starred in the likes of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, 42nd Street and Les Miserables.

Although the musical is still in its early days of creation, and the date of opening night is yet to be announced for both the New York and the London production, it’s a musical with an amazing cast list, and one those of us at the Jane Austen News would definitely like to see. A sneak peek of one of the songs is below:

 

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Jane Austen News – Issue 113

The Jane Austen News looks at RPGs

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Matthew Not Wanted As Mr Darcy

A few months ago we very much enjoyed watching a new production of E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End on the BBC. Unfortunately many of our overseas readers who would have liked to have seen it weren’t able to as they can’t receive BBC channels. The good news for those overseas fans is that the BAFTA-nominated series will now air on Starz at 8pm ET/PT on Sunday April 8th.

The series features Matthew MacFadyen as Henry Wilcox, one of the main characters. The same Matthew MacFadyen who played Mr Darcy in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. We mention this partly because many Austen fans also like the work of E.M. Forster and period dramas as a whole, and partly because in an interview Matthew gave to promote the airing of the series on Starz, he made a disclosure about his role as Mr Darcy: that he wasn’t everyone’s idea of a 2005 Mr Darcy!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 112

The Jane Austen News would love to buy Longbourn!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Georgian “Banned” Book Beats All Estimates

We love old books here at the Jane Austen News, but this week we came across an example of a highly unusual one up for auction that might have raised a few eyebrows in the Austen household.

A 300-year-old sex manual which was as good as banned until the 1960s because of its shocking content (though we hasten to add that by today’s standards it’s not nearly so shocking) has sold for £3,100. An astounding sum considering that its guide price was just £80-£120!

The 1720 book titled Aristotle’s Masterpiece Completed In Two Parts, The First Containing the Secrets of Generation – contains a range of bizarre advice.

Some of the strange pieces of advice within the manual include:

  • Don’t lie with beasts – lest you wish to run the risk of giving birth to monsters
  • During sex women should “earnestly look upon the man and fix her mind upon him”. Then the child will resemble its father.
  • Want a girl? After sex, a prospective mother should lie on her left. For a boy, she should lie on her right.
  • Don’t rush off – “When they have done what nature can require, a man must have a care he does not part too soon from the embraces of his wife”.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 110

the jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Emma Changes The Face of Fiction

200 years after it was first published, John Mullan, professor of English at University College London and a specialist in eighteenth-century literature, is arguing that Jane Austen’s Emma belongs alongside the works of Flaubert, Joyce and Woolf as one of the great experimental novels.

Mullan argues that Emma was not revolutionary because of its subject matter, but was revolutionary in its form and technique. “Its heroine is a self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours. The narrative was radically experimental because it was designed to share her delusions.”

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Jane Austen News – Issue 109

jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Do Some Books Have “Best Before” Dates?

In our travels around the web this week, we at the Jane Austen News found an article by Jennifer Finney Boylan for the New York Times which talked about the best age at which to read books. Are there some books which are best read when you’re older? Is a book like War and Peace best not opened until you’re 25+?

It’s a knotty question. Some people have reading ages far beyond their years, and some readers are happy to read books which explore deep philosophical questions before they’ve even sat their GCSEs. Then again, some visitors to the Jane Austen Centre explain that, having been taught the likes of Dickens at a young age at school, they’ve been put off ‘classics’ almost for life.

Reading age aside though, the question can be approached from a different angle: do some books come with an ideal reading age? By this we mean, an age at which the book will best resonate with its reader, and an age at which it has the best chance of bringing a fresh perspective to the reader’s life.

Some examples which were suggested were:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle — before the age of 18. In order to learn that some mysteries, including the ones inside your own heart, really can be solved by logic and reason.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 109

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