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Jane Austen News – Issue 20

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

Jane Austen Manuscripts – Free and Online 
austen-PersuasionMS-BLAn Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project to digitise the original handwritten manuscripts of Jane Austen’s fiction has finally been completed. Jane’s manuscripts have been scattered across libraries and public collections around the UK and New York, but now they have been scanned and uploaded online, allowing them to be seen as a unified complete collection for the first time in more than 160 years. It also means that the manuscripts can now be viewed free of charge by anybody! Jane Austen News really likes this development.

The manuscripts include not only Austen’s novels, but also in the collection are the short stories and things that she wrote from the age of 12 up until her death at the age of 41. The manuscripts can be accessed here, and allow fans to see her words written in her own hand, alongside her own notes and smudges.

“The online edition is a way of stitching together Jane Austen’s legacy and restoring what she intended, which was a collection of the manuscripts she regarded as precious.”

Project lead Professor Kathryn Sutherland of the University of Oxford.


Jane Austen’s £10 – Here to Stay Thanks to Design       
25083733_Churchill-fiver-NEWS-large_trans++hReA7Q0u4LUCTRHf7LduJk6lmambXgBKVpl81KzjDAMIn September this year the new UK £5 will go into general circulation. On it will be Sir Winston Churchill, who will be replacing Elizabeth Fry as the important British figure featured. Next year the new £10 note will also be released, and the face on that note will be Jane Austen. But it seems that new famous figures are not the only changes coming to the banknotes…

Instead of the cotton-paper banknotes which have been used ever since the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694, these new notes will be made from a kind of thin plastic film polymer. Australia was the first to launch plastic notes in 1988, followed by countries including New Zealand and Singapore. Now over 30 countries use them.

Not only will this new polymer material mean that the notes will last for around 5 years instead of 2, but it also means that they’ll be almost impossible to tear and should survive a 90 degree wash in the washing machine. Although Victoria Cleland, the Bank of England’s chief cashier, said “we’re not encouraging people to do that”. Well of course not. Why would we ever try to destroy Jane?


The Real Housewives of Jane Austen?!

lead_960-2Sophie Gilbert, writing for the online magazine The Atlantic, has said that the reality TV stars of today have an “uncanny” resemblance to Jane Austen’s famous heroines.

This seems an unbelievable claim at first, but Gilbert goes on to explain:

One of the more unconventional fairytales of our time involves a brilliant schemer, famous almost entirely for her physical attributes, who finds herself a single mother after her partner abruptly departs. Intent on bettering her situation, the woman pursues the wealthy and eligible son of a noted family, several members of whom she’s already intimately involved with. His relatives panic. But the man remains besotted with the woman, whose meticulous plotting and social savvy make him ever more intent on proposing marriage to her.

Gilbert says, quite rightly that this is the story of Lady Susan, the eponymous heroine of Jane’s early epistolary novella, which is the base of the new feature film Love and Friendship. However, Gilbert says, it is also the story of Blac Chyna, a friend of Kim Kardashian, whose story is being told via the reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians! 

It’s an interesting view – that women on reality TV echo Austen’s heroines in their behaviour and aims.

Deprived of intellectual gratification or professional empowerment, they scheme, manipulate, and get bogged down in petty rivalries with each other.

It’s probably also not one that not everyone will agree with… The full article is available to read here.


Jane’s Music Performed at Shugborough Hall     

5d706ee0-96e3-0133-6de8-0e87cd6e10c7On Sunday 5th June, visitors to Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire were treated to music composed by Jane Austen herself. Jane loved music, and would play the piano each morning before breakfast. A keen amateur musician, she composed music of her own, as well as playing the popular music of the day such as pieces by Handel.

Shugborough Hall was a good location for such a performance as its gardens and grounds have barely changed since the early 1800s, when Jane was writing. Visitors to Shugborough’s mansion on Sunday were treated to the performance by Sue Brereton-Banks for free. The Jane Austen News is sad to have missed it. But hopefully it is something they’ll do again!


U.S. Jane Austen Film Festival Returns 

Photo-via-Dumbarton-House-300x200At Dumbarton House in Washington D.C., the fifth annual Jane Austen Film Festival will soon be beginning. The screening schedule is:

  • June 29, Sense & Sensibility (1995)
  • July 13, Emma (1996)
  • July 27, Pride & Prejudice (2005)  

For Dumbarton Museum members tickets are free, and general tickets are $6 to attend one screening and $15 for a ticket for all three. The screenings all take place outside and guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets to sit on (chairs are allowed but those wishing to use one will be asked to sit at the back).

Jane Austen in the peaceful open-air surroundings of beautiful estate grounds. We wish we could be there.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – DVD Release     

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies FilmIt’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but some Jane Austen fans might like to know that in the U.S.A. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has now been released on DVD. It came out across America on May 31st, and is due for DVD release in the UK on June 27th.

For those who missed it at the cinema, you can expect to see the Bennet sisters as trained zombie killers; Mr Darcy being typically stand-offish; and Mr Wickham being just as much trouble as in Austen’s original…only not in the way you might expect.

It may comfort some more traditional Austen fans to know that, although it might have been based on Pride and Prejudice,  it doesn’t follow the old storyline for very long. It can be much more accurately described as a new tale. So if you want to watch it, it’ll be on DVD near you very soon.


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.

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.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 19

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

Exploring Jane Austen’s Juvenilia 

history-englandjpgv1376562490.jpegProfessor Katherine Sutherland, a Professorial Fellow in English at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, is currently directing an AHRC research project called Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition and Print Edition, which, in the future, is due to be published by Oxford University Press. It isn’t out yet, but what has just been published online is her exploration of how Jane Austen’s education and upbringing shaped her childhood writing, and Sutherland considers the relationship between these early works and her adult novels. This is an extract from her article:

Jane Austen’s earliest writings appear to have little in common with the restrained and realistic society portrayed in her adult novels. By contrast, they are exuberantly expressionistic tales of sexual misdemeanour, of female drunkenness and violence. They are characterised by exaggerated sentiment and absurd adventures. Running through them is a pronounced thread of comment on and wilful misreading of the literature of her day, showing how thoroughly and how early the activity of critical reading informed her character as a writer.

Having read her clear, concise and informative article on the British Library website, we at the Jane Austen News are very much looking forward to the publication of Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition and Print Edition.  


Whit Stillman Explains Why Lady Susan Became Love & Friendship       

sevignybeckinsale2-xlargeIn an interview with Little White Lies online magazine, Whit Stillman, the director behind the new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s early epistolary novella, Lady Susan, has answered a question that’s been on our minds at the Jane Austen News; why isn’t the film called Lady Susan? After all, that’s what Jane called the story. Isn’t it? Here’s what the director had to say on the subject:

There was an exhibition of her manuscripts which I went to. That was years ago, but I loved it. I was actually looking for whether she had put a title on it (Lady Susan). I wanted to change the title. I don’t believe it is on the manuscript. Her nephew is supposed to have added it. I understand why, as ‘Northanger Abbey’ was originally titled ‘Susan’, so it would’ve been strange if this was ‘Lady Susan’. Also, another justification for using her juvenile story title, ‘Love & Friendship’, was that many of her projects she started with a character title and then she switched to impressive nouns. ‘Sense & Sensibility’ started out as ‘Eleanor and Marianne’, ‘Pride & Prejudice’ started out as ‘First Impressions’.


Remains of Charles Austen’s Ship Go On Display
99052118_A_curator_cleans_Namur-large_trans++piVx42joSuAkZ0bE9ijUnGG7a7LAWA_Kitgr2DkVQF8The remains of the Royal Navy warship HMS Namur which saw battle alongside Lord Nelson and was captained by Jane’s youngest brother, Charles Austen, will go on display as the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, 20 years after they were first exposed during a routine refurbishment. Charles was the ship’s captain from 1811 to 1814 when HMS Namur was stationed at the Nore Anchorage as flagship of Sir Thomas Williams. It is thought that some of Charles’s experiences helped to influence some of Jane’s naval characters in Mansfield Park and Persuasion.

The ship’s timbers will be left where they were found, at the dockyard’s Wheelwrights’ Shop – it transpired that they had been hidden under multiple layers of flooring after HMS Namur was decommissioned and recycled in 1833. Those wishing to find out more about seeing them can visit the Chatham dockyard website here.


Emma In America     
bal-bs-md-emma-in-america-p02-davis-bs0038363216-20160511Goucher College Library in Baltimore, U.S.A, will be hosting their new exhibition Emma in America: Jane Austen’s Novel Through Two Centuries, in order to celebrate 200 years since the novel was first published.

The exhibit includes rare volumes, art, collectors’ letters and more, and it has drawn more than 2,000 visitors since the exhibition’s opening. However the most treasured item of Emma in America — is a rare edition of Emma published in Pennsylvania in 1816, only a few months after the book was first published in England. The publisher behind it is Matthew Carey, a publisher of no special literary reputation who didn’t need to buy rights to the book (international copyright law did not exist yet). All he had to do was have a printer typeset the text, then he could run it off easily and start selling. This volume, the exhibit’s curators said, would easily fetch tens of thousands of dollars on the open market (but the library would never sell it).

Emma in America will be open to visitors until June 20th. Those wishing to see the 1816 edition of Emma are asked to call ahead and arrange an appointment with “special collections”.


The Jane Austen Book Club – Auckland Edition 
img_1613Howick Library in Auckland, New Zealand, has decided to set up its own dedicated Jane Austen book club.

“The purpose of the club is to provide a forum for a group of like-minded individuals, who enjoy reading and discussing her novels. Reading the novels will allow readers to immerse themselves in the world of Austen – they may never want to resurface,” said Georgina Boalch, a Howick Library Assistant and long-time Austen fan.

The group had a highly successful first meeting and is looking forward to welcoming more Jane Austen fans to the club. So if you are based near Auckland and would like to become a member, or for more information, you can call 09 534 5301, or you can also email georgina.boalch@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Jane Austen – When Shall We Three Meet Again?     
Almost Completely Baxter txt revised final crx.inddOn one of our regular journeys around the internet, as we searched for the latest Jane Austen updates to bring you, we stumbled across this lovely cartoon by Glen Baxter. Glen is an author and illustrator whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Elle, Vogue, Le Monde, the Observer, and the Independent on Sunday.

We don’t know if he has done any other Jane Austen themed illustrations, but we wanted to share this one with you as it made us giggle. Who says that Jane Austen is only for romance-obsessed women?


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.

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.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 18

Jane Austen News

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

Pride and Prejudice vs. Jane Eyre

1463668501091.0As two of the most popular novels of all time, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre have an incredible number of spin-off books written about them. Two of the books tipped to be summer bestsellers this year are Eligible – a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Steele – a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. But do they both work in the modern era?

The Jane Austen News came across an interesting argument from Constance Grady writing for online magazine Vox, that argues that perhaps one of them does not.

Pride and Prejudice gave us an enduring romantic comedy formula, and it’s easy to update it with only minimal tweaking here and there. You can’t do the same thing with Jane Eyre. Brontë wasn’t writing anything like a romantic comedy or a comedy of manners — she was writing a gothic romance that was also an aspirational marriage plot.

 

Jane Eyre never condemns the love story between Jane and Rochester, madwoman in the attic be damned. It does not function if the book does not believe wholeheartedly in the rightness of Jane and Rochester’s marriage. So when you try to turn Jane Eyre into a contemporary romance, you have to fight against either the gothic elements or the marriage plot. The results are uncomfortable.

What do you think? Can Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre be translated into modern day settings? Or are the stories purely of their time?


Lady Susan Gets the Ending She Deserves?      

3000Now to a retelling of a different kind. Lady Susan, the epistolary novella Jane Austen wrote in her youth, will soon be coming to the cinemas in the form of Whit Stillman’s new film Love and Friendship, and John Mullan, author of the book What Matters in Jane Austen?, has been looking at whether the story lives up to Austen’s other work.

Many novels of the late 18th century were, like Lady Susan, written entirely in letters. In her youth, Austen, along with many of her contemporaries, was a fan of Samuel Richardson, who turned epistolary novels into a high art. In his fiction, resourceful young women record their efforts to resist the advances of scheming libertines. The young Austen signals her audacity by turning the figure of the predatory male seducer into a highly unconventional (and middle-aged) seductress.

However Jane went on to tire of this form says Mullan, and Lady Susan was brought to a premature end. The film he says, has to pursue a satisfying conclusion which the original novella did not have. It will be interesting to see what this might entail… For more information on Love and Friendship take a look at our blog post which can be found by clicking here.


Writing Without Ego = Jane? 

writing-a-letterWriting for the Financial Times, Jan Dalley spoke this week about the artist and their ego. She laid out the idea that in order to create and put our work out into the public domain we have to have some ego – at least enough to believe that what we are creating is good, and in most cases, enough ego to support the need to have others recognise our artistic achievement.

However, given that Jane Austen and other female 18th century authors did not sign their work (Jane famously remained largely anonymous until after her death), it follows that perhaps Jane and others like her were less egotistical than other artists of their and our time? They were writing simply for the love of writing. Having said that, they did fight to publish their work. So was it a case of ego – a need to share for their own sakes, or was it a wish to share with those around them stories that women could relate to that drove their want of publishing? It’s certainly an interesting question to consider.


10 Early Edition Volumes of Jane Austen For Sale    

9111709359.1.zoomIt’s not often that early, near-mint condition, matching editions of Jane Austen’s novels come up for sale in one go. Given this is can be hard to judge what such a collection is worth; though to quite a few fans the answer may be priceless. But the Jane Austen News recently came across such a collection from Strand Books in New York who have given them a price. They are asking for $2,500 for the set of 10 volumes.

The books are advertised as hardback, marbled-cover/leather bound editions with top edge gilt, which were published in 1900 with coloured Brock illustrations. They have “some faint foxing and previous owner’s stamp to endpapers.” We thought we’d mention them in case there are any Jane Austen fans out there who are looking for early editions of her work (and who have a spare $2,500..).


An Evening of Emma in Fort George 

Jane Austen Summer BallAt the Jane Austen News we love hearing about celebrations of Jane that happen all around the world. Because as much as we might wish all of Jane’s fans could come to Bath for our Jane Austen Festival in September, we know that there are many who can’t. So it’s wonderful to know that there are events dedicated to Jane Austen taking place in countries around the world. On that note, for any fans of Jane Austen who live near Ontario, Canada, this coming event on May 26th might be a good one to go to.

In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the Friends of Fort George are planning a special lecture evening focusing on Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Brock University professor of English language and literature, Dr. Barbara Seeber, will be discussing the timeless appeal of Emma, as the novel celebrates its bicentenary. As well as an English professor, she is also the author of several Jane Austen publications. Following the lecture at Navy Hall, there will be an evening social including tea and light refreshments. Details about tickets can be found at the Friends of Fort George website.


Jane at Brighton Fringe    

austenemoweredFringe theatre provides a wealth of Jane Austen goodness. The wonderful Austentatious, who often visit Bath for the Jane Austen Festival, were founded off the back of fringe theatre. This week the Jane Austen News had a look at Austen Empowered – a satire of Austen’s well-loved, complicated courtship leading to marriage storyline, which was performed at Brighton Fringe.

In Austen Empowered, Juliet is informed by her aunt (who in this production is rather pantomime-dame like (in more ways than one)) that despite Juliet’s opinions on the subject,  it is time that she should get married. The characters wore traditional costumes with trainers and jeans, and they spoke in a manner reminiscent of Austen, but included modern slang too.

It was certainly an interesting blend of modern meets Regency. If you saw them at the Fringe leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of the show.


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.

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.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 5

austentatious

Follow our blog for all the weekly Jane Austen news from around the world.

Austentatious Returns to Bath 

27941_largeIn 2013, 2014 and 2015 the Jane Austen Festival has been honoured to play host to the fantastic improv show Austentatious, which takes a made-up book title suggested by the audience and bases the evening’s performance around that title.

No two shows are the same but every show is a delight to be a part of, and happily Austentatious will be back in Bath at the Guildhall on Sunday the 6th of March. More information and tickets are available from their website: http://austentatiousimpro.com


Harper Lee’s Austen Ambition

harper-leeAlong with many others we were sad to learn of the recent death of world renowned author Harper Lee. We knew she was a literary great, but we didn’t know that she had such a high regard for Jane Austen.

“I believe that there is something universal in this little world, something decent to be said for it, and something to lament in its passing,” she continued. “In other words, all I want to be is the Jane Austen of South Alabama.”

An honourable ambition indeed.


Jane Inspires New Art Exhibition

Villers1Jane Austen’s work has been interpreted in a great number of different ways; through theatre, song, television, films, and of course through hundreds of books.

A new interpretation of Jane and her characters saw American artist Amy Lee Lummus fuse her own modern style of painting with Jane’s 18th century stories. You can click here to read what she had to say about her paintings and to see a sample of her artwork.


The Lost Art of Love Letters 
boston-tea-party-love-lettersOne article that caught our eye this week was an appeal from American author Kevin Symmons who is worried that in this age of Facebook and Twitter we’re not writing enough love letters. He’s been looking at examples of love letters from across the ages (the oldest according to some scholars may even date back as far as 2000 B.C.) and is keen that the art shouldn’t be lost. We certainly agree.

To read some extracts of love letters from the likes of Napoleon and Percy Shelley that we’ve put online you can click here.

To read the full article with letter writing from Kevin Symmons click here.


Sense and Sensibility Takes to the Stage

Following their success in 2014 when they staged Pride and Prejudice, theatrical duo Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan have taken Sense and Sensibility and turned the novel into a two hour and forty minute extravaganza featuring a cast of 19 actors playing 28 roles.

“Under the impeccable direction of Hanreddy, the incisive and witty production is not just imposing in scale, it’s world-class in every detail.”

The play is currently on at People’s Light & Theatre Company in Philadelphia until March 20th.


Sense and Sensibility and Accidental(?) Feminism 

In other Sense and Sensibility news, Devoney Looser has published an in-depth article that explores how he feels Ang Lee’s 1996 film adaptation brought out the novel’s feminist roots.

Looser believes that Ang Lee built on Austen’s  Sense and Sensibility by adding new egalitarian attitudes toward women to Colonel Brandon and Edward Ferrars.

“The masculinity portrayed … embraces women’s desires, independence, and wellbeing.”

The full article can be found here.


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen’s 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 – subscribe to The Jane Austen Newsletter and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. When you subscribe and sign up for an account, you’ll be redirected to a page featuring an exclusive 10% discount code, valid for your first order from The Jane Austen Online Gift Shop.