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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”.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 112

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Jane Austen News – Issue 66

The Jane Austen News is a P&P ballet

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 Pride and Prejudice Becomes A Ballet  

Pride and Prejudice has been performed many many times on stage by various companies in plenty of different styles. However, on April 21st it enjoyed its premiere as a ballet. Performed by the American Repertory Ballet at McCarter Theatre Centre in Princeton, New Jersey, Pride and Prejudice has been choreographed by the ARB’s Artistic Director Douglas Martin, and the production features ARB dancers performing to live accompaniment by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor John Devlin.

Douglas Martin, an Austen fan, spent years on this adaptation and it shows in its level of attention to detail. For example, the dancing is set to music by Ignaz Pleyel, a popular composer during Austen’s lifetime who is largely unknown today, and  it takes pains to look at the detailed relationship of four of the Bennet sisters, as well as that between Darcy and Lizzy.

According to Martin it’s not a typical ballet either. The choreography echoes that of some of the popular dances of the time, including the minuet, though Martin has adapted a few moves and made them “more balletic.” It also includes quick set and costume changes (some costume changes have to be completed in 20 seconds!) and the action is driven by acting and not just by dances.

At the Jane Austen News we can see how the romance of Pride and Prejudice would recommend itself to becoming a ballet. We just wish we could have been there to see it!

Unveiling Jane’s £10 Note 

Although it won’t enter general circulation until September this year (just in time for Bath’s Jane Austen Festival!), the official unveiling of the new Jane Austen ten pound note has been announced. It’s due to take place on July the 18th on the anniversary of the date of her death in Winchester Cathedral, where Jane is buried.

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said in a statement that “Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature. As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and Winston Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields.”

Below is a video released by the Bank of England which goes into a bit more detail about their decision to put Jane on the banknote.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 66

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Jane Austen News – Issue 44

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Waiting for Sanditon!  

sanditon-bookNext year Sanditon, one of Austen’s two unfinished novels, will be be released as a film for the first time! It was announced a  while ago, but not very widely reported on, so we’ve been looking for as many details on it as we can. Here’s what we’ve found out so far:

  • The unfinished novel was completed by author Marie Dobbs, who was living in Moscow as a diplomat’s wife when she began work on Sanditon. The completed novel was published in 1975.
  • The screenplay is written by Simon Reade who has adapted other classic books for the screen such as Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful and RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End (which is currently being filmed).
  • The new costume drama has been described as half comedic satire, half romantic comedy.
  • It will be directed by Jim O’Hanlon (he also directed the BBC series of Jane Austen’s Emma in 2009).
  • This is a summary of the story according to Goldcrest Films who are producing it: “When Charlotte Heywood is invited to spend the summer season at Sanditon she accepts immediately, intrigued to see (not-so) polite society at play in the newly fashionable sea bathing resort. Here she meets a host of classic Austen characters from the imperious nouveau-riche Lady Denham to her impoverished ward Clara, and from the lecherous Sir Edward, to the dashing, feckless Sidney Parker and his hypochondriac sisters.”
  • Holliday Grainger (Cinderella) and Max Irons (Woman In Gold) are to join Charlotte Rampling in the Jane Austen adaptation.   
  • It’s due out next year (2017) and we can’t wait!

The Rise of the Essay Cheat   
lead_960-3While having a browse for new Jane Austen news this week, we looked forward with interest to reading an essay titled “Decisions Made by Women in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.” However, clicking on the link led to a custom essay writing site which advertised that it would write your essay for you, and that it was “100% anonymous. No plagiarism. Any topic. Any difficulty.”

Later we clicked on a link which promised an essay which looked at the essay title: “comment on the characters and behaviour of Edward Ferrars and John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.” We clicked. It led us to the same essay writing site.

This happened a couple of weeks ago as well, with a different Jane Austen essay subject, and we thought it was just a one off. Sadly it looks as though more and more essays are coming onto the market which will do student’s work for them and it’s not a one off; it’s a trend. The really sad thing is, aside from grades being awarded that aren’t deserved, that it means that new students aren’t really reading Jane and so they’re missing out on the fantastic work she has to offer.

Jane Austen Book Benches Need Sponsors        

dsc_0106-1Companies from across the borough of Basingstoke are now able to sign up to sponsor one of the 25 “book benches” which are being created for the Sitting With Jane campaign. The benches will be specially decorated and shaped like an open book, and are due to go on display in different places around Basingstoke and Deane next year to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death. The sponsors are needed to help fund the cost of each bench and its decoration, and in return for their sponsorship, sponsors get free exposure in the project’s free app, and on plaques, and they can choose which selected design to use on their bench.

“Sitting With Jane is an exciting cultural, educational and legacy initiative that will ultimately benefit charities through the proceeds that are raised when the Bookbenches are auctioned.”

The book benches will be uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist, and will then be displayed for 12 weeks in the Basingstoke area in the summer of 2017.

A Jane Austen Kickstarter

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-14-20-10You might have seen on our Facebook page this week that a Jane Austen Kickstarter campaign is heading into its final days.

The project, launched by author Karin Quint, is asking for €14,000 by December 7th so that her book, Jane Austen’s England, “the first (and only!) travel guide devoted to exploring locations in England that have a unique connection with either Austen herself, her work, and/or the film and tv adaptations of her books” can be published in English. At present it’s only available in Dutch.

Many Janeites from countries around the world have expressed great interest in a guidebook like this – but it is now only available in Dutch! We would really like to have it translated into English to make it accessible to them. Unfortunately, a translation is a costly thing – and the book is more than 300 pages long!

In order to write her book, in 2013 Karin travelled through England and visited each location. Het Engeland van Jane Austen, as it’s known in Dutch, was published in the spring of 2014 by the renowned Dutch publisher Gottmer. So far, it’s doing very well in the Netherlands – and a second edition was just published in July 2016. Now it’s just a case of fingers crossed that she will reach her funding goal by the deadline so the book can be translated. You can click here for more information on the book and the campaign.

 An Examination of Jane and Dorothy   

dorothy-wordsworth_2652421bIn June 2017, to coincide with the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death in July 2017, Sandstone Press will publish Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility by Marian Veevers.

There have been plenty of books examining the life and writing of Jane Austen, but Jane and Dorothy brings together the lives of two literary women – Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth (William Wordsworth’s sister, who was also a writer, though not one which many know about) in order to examine what it meant to be a female writer in Jane’s time, and the similarities of the two women’s lives. They were born just four years apart, both lived in Georgian England, and although they never met each other, Jane and Dorothy had friends, family and many interests in common. This is the first time their two lives have been compared in this way, offering new insights into each woman and their age, the publisher has said.

 Precious Tea!        

jane-austen-blend-24-03-2015_grande1_5eccc320-8b73-435a-bafb-cd0d9add416713We love tea! But following recent events between the UK and Europe, and the falling value of the pound, our tea is becoming threatened, or at least more costly (for the tea companies certainly). The cost of tea has skyrocketed and gone up by 50%; the price of an 80 kilogram bag of tea has increased from £100 to £150 according to Typhoo Tea. We mention this in the Jane Austen News because it reminded us of Jane’s time when tea was such an expensive and precious commodity.

The British East India Company had exclusive rights on importing tea until 1834, and this kept prices high for decades! The government also kept increasing taxes on tea to finance the wars it undertook. This meant that smuggling tea on the black market in order to avoid taxes became big business!

Not that we think that that this black market trade in tea will reemerge, but we did start to appreciate more this week our much loved tea breaks!

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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Marrying Mr. Darcy – A Review

Marrying Mr. Darcy

7880813_origMarrying 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!

Game Overview:
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!

Game play in action– sense of humor, a must.


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!)

Additional game options can be had by ordering the expansion pack of cards.
Additional game options can be had by ordering the expansion pack of cards.

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.



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