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Jane Austen News – Issue 153

The Jane Austen News is enjoying Pride and Prejudice and Passports

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


A Surprise Newcomer Beats Pride and Prejudice 

To mark Valentine’s Day, Goodreads have announced their top romance novels of all time, based on the ratings of their 80 million members.

But it wasn’t one of the well-known and much loved romantic tales that came out as number one. Even though Pride and Prejudice regularly tops lists of the best books of all time! The book which took first place as the top romantic novel of all time in this latest poll is Coleen Hoover’s It End With Us, which is a relative newcomer given its release in 2016.

The New York Times bestseller It Ends With Us is all about successful business owner Lily, who meets a neurosurgeon called Ryle. And although the pair are clearly attracted to one another, she’s left flummoxed by his aversion to relationships. Later, thoughts of an old love only confuse Lily more.

It does sound like a good read, but we were amazed to find that Pride and Prejudice only reached number four on the list! Second was Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and in third place was Jojo Moyes bestseller, Me Before You. Having said that, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre fared far worse, only making it to number 13 on the list…

Well, Pride and Prejudice will always be the winner in the eyes of the Jane Austen News!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 153

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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 50

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?    Second Jane Austen Fiver Found  The second of four rare £5 notes which feature a micro-engraved portrait of Jane Austen has been discovered inside a Christmas card in the Scottish Borders. Mr Huggins-Haig, the micro-engraver behind the images of Jane Austen, spent the note which was to be released in Scotland in Granny Jean’s bakery in Kelso on December the 5th to start the project. This caused a huge surge in custom for the bakery when he revealed the move days later. However, the new owner of the note received it not from the bakery, but in a Christmas card from a relative in the same area who thought it was an ordinary £5. This note is the second of the four Bank of England notes to be found after the first was found in south Wales early in December. Two more of the Austen £5 notes are still ‘on the loose’; one spent in England and one in Northern Ireland (if you’re checking your notes then their serial numbers are AM32 885552 and AM32 885554). Mr Huggins-Haig said the latest finder wants to remain anonymous but has had the note verified. Both finders of the notes so far want to keep them as art rather than to sell them for the projected £50,000 they’re worth. Mr Huggins-Haig says “they’ve both been found by wonderful people who are very deserving”. Jane Austen Costume Parade Top Video for 2016    The Bath Chronicle, the (more…)
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Jane Austen News – Issue 32

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   Amazing Librarians Up For Award        Libraries are wonderful, magical places, and one of the things that helps the to be such is their dedicated librarians. So, in order to honour the work of these fantastic people who work in school libraries and help children to become lovers of books from an early age, the School Librarian of the Year Award was set up. We have to say, this year’s honour list, from which an overall winner will be announced in a ceremony at Covent Gardens in London on October 3rd, has some truly amazing examples of librarians who go above and beyond in their jobs. Amy McKay, librarian at Corby Business Academy in Northamptonshire, has hosted barbecues, sleepovers, a comic-con event, a zombie-apocalypse and staff-pupil battles of the books to introduce pupils to different genres and authors. Lauren Thow of Portobello High School in Edinburgh has research lessons for pupils, in which she occasionally dresses as Sir Alan Sugar and has established a Portobello High literature festival. Sophie Chalmers library at Southbrook School in Devon is housed inside a double-decker bus (how wonderful is that?) and she has established a reading-buddy scheme, connecting her own special school with the local mainstream secondary. Alison Tarrant helped to establish her library at Cambourne Village College in Cambridgeshire, and this involved the donning of  hard hats and high-visibility jackets as the build began. But the one that really caught our eye was Rachel Knight, who (more…)
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