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Jane Austen News – Issue 143

The Jane Austen News goes to The Vyne

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Austen Heard It Through The Vyne?

This week The Telegraph newspaper published an online article about a house in Sherborne St John near Basingstoke in Hampshire called The Vyne. The reason it caught the eye of the Jane Austen News is because it has been suggested that Jane Austen may have based her Mansfield Park heroine Fanny Price on Caroline Wiggett, who went to live at The Vyne in 1803 aged three, having been plucked from a pool of poor distant relations and adopted by the childless couple who lived there, William John Chute and his wife Eliza.

It is thought that Jane may have come into contact with the Chutes as her brother James Austen was appointed Rector of Sherborne St.John by William Chute, and so he moved in the same social circles as the Chutes and attend parties thrown at The Vyne. Certainly, Jane would at least have known about the family and the case of Caroline Wiggett’s adoption.

However, having said that, and just to play devil’s advocate, rich relations adopting a child from poor relations was by no means a rare occurrence which Jane could only have thought of by hearing of Caroline Wiggett. For one thing, another of her brothers, Edward Austen, was adopted by rich relations and went on to become a very wealthy landowner.

It’s an interesting house (following one of his regular visits there, The Vyne is also believed to have inspired Horace Walpole to build his 18th-century gothic castle in Twickenham, Strawberry Hill) and the Caroline Wiggett-Fanny Price connection is a fun speculation to explore at any rate.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 128

The Jane Austen News has a growing reading list

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Mary B Gets Rave Reviews

The Jane Austen News has a growing reading listKatherine J. Chen has written a debut novel that may be of great interest to those Jane Austen fans who have always had a soft spot for the quiet and bookish Mary Bennet.

In Mary B, Mary Bennet finally gets what some reviewers have said is a level of revenge, and certainly a greater degree of understanding “in a story that inhabits and critiques Austen’s novel”. The beginning section of the book follows to a lesser or greater extent the plot of Pride and Prejudice (in Mary B Mr Collins is seen more as an outcast like Mary than as an object of ridicule and pomp), and then we see the story continue past that which we know.

As Mary B continues, Elizabeth finds that Pemberley is not so much of an escape as a “gilded cage”, while Lydia finds that society has little sympathy for a woman without money or education. As you can probably tell from those insights, the characters we know so well are changed somewhat in their behaviour and mannerisms in many places, and for this reason it will be a book that is likely to polarise Austen fans.

As for Mary herself, she uses her brains to pen a novel of her own about “the uncouth and vicious men who, despite their titles, have little learning and little breeding and absolutely no manners at all”. Mary cannot show all that she feels, she is still living in a man’s world after all, but Mary B does show the feisty, inner side of Mary that we don’t see a lot of in Pride and Prejudice. Mary B, say reviewers, does a good job of paying homage to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, whilst also critiquing any blind spots in Jane’s perspective, and adding depth to the middle Bennet sister.

Mary B was published by Random House on 24th July and is 336 pages long.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 128

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Jane Austen News – Issue 108 – Janeites and Shelley

Go-to books for a Janeite

Janeites! What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Mary Bennet and Frankenstein’s Monster

This is an important year for fans of Mary Shelley, it being the 200th anniversary of the publication of her most famous novel, Frankenstein. There will be plenty of books published this year which centre on the book and on the author herself, but one that’s caught our eye is Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel.

In the original novel, Victor Frankenstein and his friend Henry Clerval run away to England and Scotland when the creature they have made demands that they make a mate for him. In Pride and Prometheus, Kessel has the pair meet Mary Bennet, the bookish and often slighted Bennet sister, who is portrayed in the novel as a keen amateur scientist who is fascinated by Frankenstein’s ideas. (Mr Darcy and Lizzy Bennet also make an appearance but it is fleeting).

Naturally the creature has followed Frankenstein and Clerval on their escape, and it’s not too long before the Bennet family is mixed up in the melodrama of the Frankenstein saga.

As book fusions go, this one is done exceedingly well, and has much that will delight fans of Austen and Shelley alike, especially if the tongue-in-cheek mockery of gothic novels in Northanger Abbey was something you enjoyed.

When she was nineteen, Miss Mary Bennet had believed three things that were not true. She believed that, despite her awkwardness, she might become interesting through her accomplishments. She believed that, because she paid strict attention to all she had been taught about right and wrong, she was wise in the ways of the world. And she believed that God, who took note of every moment of one’s life, would answer prayers, even foolish ones.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 108 – Janeites and Shelley

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Jane Austen News – Issue 95

the Jane Austen News feels Christmas is coming

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 


Austen HEAVILY Abridged

One of our favourite finds at the Jane Austen News this week has to be the work of the late Australian comedian, John Clarke.

In his posthumously published book, Tinkering: The Complete Book of John Clarke, which was published in Australia on Monday, he has taken a wealth of literary classics and condensed them down to their most-brief forms. This is abridgment for the reader who really does have no time at all. Or, the reader who has read, or is at least familiar with, the novels he has abridged, and can appreciate the farcical nature of his “short” versions.

These are some of his abridged Austens:

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet (mother obsessed with marrying daughters off, father amusing but not very helpful) dislikes Mr Darcy because he is too proud. She becomes prejudiced against him and even likes one man (Wickham) because he speaks ill of Darcy.

Her life is occupied with sisters Jane, who is calm and loves Bingham, and Lydia, who loves soldiers (Wickham) and who brings family into disrepute (Wickham). Elizabeth inadvertently discovers that Darcy is unbelievably rich. They marry immediately. Mother knew best.

Persuasion

Featuring Anne Elliot (plain, educated, sensitive, wise, family down on luck). Father and spoilt sister go to Bath for society, Anne to another sister (selfish, stupid, married to cheerful farmer). Children get sick, Anne tower of strength. Visited by Captain Wentworth. (Naval man at time of Trafalgar = national hero.) Wentworth and Anne have met before, have loved, and Anne has rejected Wentworth’s proposal of marriage but heart not still. Farmer’s sister falls off seawall and Wentworth realises he’s an idiot about Anne. Hooray!

Emma

Beautiful daughter of silly old fool has nothing better to do than manipulate and matchmake in snobbish rural society. Behaves very stupidly and messes up life of Harriet Smith, a harmless woman who should obviously marry local farmer. Eventually marries best friend Mr Knightley, the resonance of whose name she had previously failed to notice. (See Clueless.)

They’re obviously not a substitute for reading the novels themselves, but they’re a bit of fun, and perhaps a good way to remind yourself of the books you’ve read. (“I’m sure I’ve read it…I just can’t remember what it was all about…”)

A few more examples of John Clarke’s work, including 1984 and Moby Dick, can be found here.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 95

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Jane Austen News – Issue 48

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

One Austen £5 Note Has Been Found
The Jane Austen News is on the Hunt for Jane fiversOne 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  

lot-124-austen-letter-to-cassandraThe 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 when Cassandra was away visiting their brother Edward at Godmersham Park House in Kent from October 1800 through to February 1801.

The letter includes an important reference to Harris Bigg-Wither.

Harris seems still in a poor way, from his bad habit of body; his hand bled again a little the other day, & Dr Littlehales has been with him lately.

Jane accepted and then rejected Harris’ offer of marriage two years after this letter was written.

Jane’s bibliocatch (cup and ball) game, estimated at between £20,000-£30,000, went unsold.


Jane Austen Class so Popular it’s on Pause  

   
hm_jf17_lynch-portrait_0Deidre Lynch, Bernbaum professor of literature since 2014, has found that her class Jane Austen’s Fiction and Fans, is now so popular that she’s had to temporarily stop offering it.

Lynch has been offering the class since 2014, and in the two years since it first began it’s become almost to big to handle anymore. The other issue, apart from its sheer size she says, is that “the materials we use in Houghton Library are getting worn away by the wear and tear.” She asks her students to examine primary evidence—the scrapbooks, commonplace books, and custom-illustrated texts of everyday nineteenth-century readers—to analyze the reading lives of people in Austen’s time: their habits, tastes, quirks, interactions. She also asks her students to create their own “fan art”. One student re-composed the music to a film adaptation; other people have written songs; one person, (with totally charming results says Lynch) made Harriet Smith’s box of favourite treasures.

At the Jane Austen News we’re sad that the class has had to be put on hold, pleased that it was so popular, and jealous that we can’t go and take part ourselves! It sounds like an amazing class!


The Mysteries of Udolpho on the Radio  
If you’ve ever wanted to read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, one of the books which Jane Austen was satirising The Jane Austen News is looking forward to the Mysteries of Uldolphowhen she wrote Northanger Abbey, but haven’t found the time to open the cover on the 704 page novel (give or take depending on print size), then this might be of interest.
On New Year’s Eve at 2:30pm on Radio 4, the BBC will be broadcasting Hattie Naylor’s one hour adaptation of Ann Radcliffe’s gothic masterpiece. It will also be available online on the BBC’s radio iplayer shortly afterwards. They’re broadcasting it to accompany the episodes of Northanger Abbey which Hattie Naylor has also adapted, and which are being broadcast on weekdays at 10:45am on Radio 4 from December 19th to December 30th (also available online afterwards).
If you want to understand some of the in-jokes that Austen was referencing when she wrote Northanger Abbey, then this adaptation of Udolpho is a good opportunity.
Emily St Aubert is forced to leave France and go and live with her Aunt and her new husband, Count Montoni, in his isolated castle in Italy. Before long Emily discovers that the castle is a place of nightmares and Montoni a desperate man who will stop at nothing to terrorise both his wife and his niece. 
In this dramatisation Hattie Naylor has taken the core of the four volumes of the novel to explore those edicts most at the heart of the Gothic Novel.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley    
image-6A number of Jane Austen fans in the US have been enjoying a festive Jane Austen based production called Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.

In this charmingly imagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice, the ever-dependable Mary Bennet is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love.

In brief: Lady Catherine De Bourgh has died, and her estate, Rosings, has passed into the hands of a distant cousin, Arthur de Bourgh. As Arthur was an old school chum of Mr. Darcy’s, he has taken it upon himself to invite him over for Christmas. When he arrives, it becomes obvious almost immediately that he and Elizabeth’s book-loving sister Mary are a perfect match. Period-appropriate high jinks ensue.

It was all quite funny and touching. The four of us that went all liked it, as did the audience. It was totally sold out for its run, and they even added shows.

Tamara Church, California

A charming idea. We’re somewhat sad at the Jane Austen News that we can’t make it to the show ourselves!


Lizzy and Darcy Do (Rap) Battle    

If you liked Hamilton (the latest Broadway smash-hit musical) you might like this new piece of theatre from a group of actors at New York Public Theater. Now dubbed BARS Medley, the project takes literary classics and puts a contemporary spin on them.

As part of this project, Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is reworked as a hip-hop rap battle between the two and involves narrators coaching the pair through a boxing ring show down (no punches are thrown). Even if you’re not a fan of rap, you have to admire the work play between the two.

To watch the battle between the two in the video below, skip to 6:33.


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 35

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Pride and Prejudice At The Ballet      

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-17-11-13

Stage adaptations of Jane Austen have become increasingly popular in recent years (we look at one such adaptation later on in this week’s Jane Austen News). We’ve had one-woman shows, Jane Austen musicals, Jane Austen improv, but one we personally haven’t come across before is one of Jane Austen’s novels staged as a ballet. However Ballet Fantastique will be doing just that. Their first show of the 2016-17 season is bringing back a 2012 premiere, Pride and Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet.

“We’re taking the classic Jane Austen novel and remixing it with 1920s Paris,” said their marketing director Katey Finley in a recent interview. “A live band will be wearing snazzy suits and playing live period jazz along with great choreography, like doing The Charleston en pointe.”

How fantastic is that?!


A Book Of One’s Own

mrs-norris-1983-anna-massey

Orion recently bought the novel Perception by Terri Fletcher, which will chronicle the life of Mary Bennet, the third Bennet sister, after Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia leave Longbourne. In the past all of the Bennet sisters have at one time or another seen the spotlight and had new adventures written about them, but a recent blog post by Alicia Kort has got us thinking on the subject of literary women whose stories deserve further exploration. What other strong female characters in literature deserve their own novels but as of yet haven’t been given one?

Alicia suggests; Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series), Dasiy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), Teresa Agnes (The Maze Runner), and Sam Dutton (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). These are all great suggestions, but at the Jane Austen News we can think of more than just the Bennet sisters who could fill a book of their own. The tale of Mrs Norris’s first love anyone?


Sense and Sensibility Too Sensible?    
wk-stage0916-3The New York theatre company Bedlam is staging a new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but rather than focusing primarily on the romance of the story, director and co-founder Eric Tucker wants to bring out the comedy within the novel that he feels is all too often overlooked.

To do this Tucker is making the play more minimalist and modern. He’s getting rid of detailed backdrops and putting wheels on all of the furniture so it can be easily moved, and used; when a young woman is fleeing social judgment she scoots away on a chair, only to be pursued by the gossips on their own mobile seating. Tucker uses physical theatre and a brisk pace to bring out the wit that he feels can be lost in a lot of adaptations.

A lot of the movie versions of Austen tamp down the comedy and make the stories period-piece melodrama. I didn’t want that. I wanted it to be raw and modern. One of the reviews said our ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was Dickensian. I liked that. Our production in New York was very bawdy, and it surprised people who thought they didn’t like Austen. But she was pretty wicked in her letters — very gossipy, saying the most awful things about people.

Eric Tucker

At the Jane Austen News we wish them the best of luck with their new production. Jane had so much wit and so many comedic moments in her novels and this is not always remembered; we think she’d approve.


What Made Colin Firth Reject Mark Darcy    

bridget-jones-3-trailer2
With the recent UK release of Bridget Jones’s Baby, Colin Firth has been giving quite a few interviews to help promote the film, and, of course, in a fair few of them the subject of Mr Darcy comes up. One that caught our eye was an interview he gave to Eric Eisenberg for CinemaBlend.com. In the interview Firth talks about how, even following such amazing success with the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice where he played a modern traditional Darcy, he originally turned down the role of Mark Darcy who he plays in the Bridget Jones films.

I started off thinking there was no way in with that character. I originally turned it down, because I didn’t think… how do you play this guy who doesn’t do anything really? He just sort of stands around and scowls and looks imperious. And I thought, ‘Well, sure, I can do that, but will anyone give a damn? It’s not appealing!

Happily he kept the role in mind and eventually came round to the idea thinking:

‘Well, maybe there’s something fun in that. You don’t have to be charming. You just have to be incredibly distant and dislikable.’ And I thought, ‘That’s pretty liberating!’ So that was an incentive.

We didn’t know he’d turned the role down at first, but we’re glad he changed his mind! It’s hard to imagine the Bridget Jones films or the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice being such a success without him.


Unleashing Mr Darcy   
90And from one Mr Darcy to another.

Another modern film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has been made and just released by Hallmark.

In this version of Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby) decides to show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a dog show in New York, but she clashes with the arrogant judge Donovan Darcy (Ryan Paevey). In true Jane Austen fashion, Elizabeth learns that Mr. Darcy is far more kind and interesting than she ever imagined.

In this video Ryan Paevey talks about his views on Darcy, and just why his Darcy finds Lizzy so attractive and irritating. Some clips from the film and more details can be found here.


Love and Friendship   

loveetcThere’s less than a week to go before Whit Stillman’s film adaptation of Love and Friendship is released on DVD in the UK, and we can’t wait! It’s due out on Monday 26th September and we have the date marked on our calendar. Though if you’re a U.S. Jane Austen fan you don’t have to wait because the DVD came out in the U.S. on September 6th. We’re a little jealous…


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 31

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 

Lucy Worsley Films Jane Austen Documentary      

Lucy WorsleyOn August the 3rd Lucy Worsley, who has presented programmes including The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain and If Walls Could Talk, was filming at Jane’s birthplace and childhood home, Steventon rectory, as part of a BBC2 documentary about Jane Austen’s life which will be aired next year as part of the marking of the bicentenary of Jane’s death.

While the rectory itself is no longer standing as it was flooded (which resulted in the entire village having to move somewhere less damp), an excavation in November 2011 revealed its foundations and the drainage system that failed in 1819.

As well as filming in Steventon, the crew have also been filming in Lyme Regis, Stoneleigh, Kent, Bath, Chawton, and other places which are connected to Jane. We at the Jane Austen News are very much looking forward to seeing the documentary when it airs!


Should Minor Characters Remain Minor…?

There’s a big market for new books based on Jane’s novels. There are the modern retellings of her novels (The Austen Project), follow-on novels about what happened next to the likes of Lizzy and Mr Darcy and Marianne and Colonel Brandon, and there’s also a big trend for writing books based on Jane’s more minor characters. Lydia Bennet is a popular character to write about, as are Mary and Kitty. However, this week Charlotte Jones writing for the Guardian has asked whether these characters should keep in their place – in the background.

As much as we enjoy modern stories based on Jane’s original works, we have to admit that Charlotte has a point. She argues that part of the reason we love Jane’s heroines, especially Lizzy Bennet, relies on the fact that they are shown to be so remarkable when in contrast with those around them. “Lizzy only has space in the book for a remarkable interior life because her sisters do not.” In some of Jane’s novels, especially Emma, if minor character’s voices were to be heard the strength of our affinity with the heroine may well be weakened. She also says that, in some cases, the character’s minor status is what makes them so effective as a comment on the portion of society who the represent.

The poignancy of Mary’s situation, for example, resides precisely in her effacement: neglected by her parents and unmarriageable, her silent and futile presence haunting the shadows of Pride and Prejudice is to me the best testament possible to the ranks of unremarkable women she stands for.

An interesting argument indeed for leaving Mary in the background. Having said that, we’re still looking forward to reading all the new novels about Mary, Kitty and Lydia that are due out soon!


…No They Should Not!  

Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet, 2005.
Talking of Mary, Megan Garber writing for The Atlantic has written an article arguing the case for rather than against giving Mary her own voice in new novels.

Megan says that the many novels based on Mary “assume something that Pride and Prejudice, via its narrator, refused to believe: that someone like Mary could have a rich interior life.” This new love of Mary is part of the trend for novels which are being written about supporting characters in lots of well-known stories – Wicked, which gives background to the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, being one example of a run-away hit.

In that sense, the current renaissance of Mary Bennet is literary revisionism that suggests a more sweeping ethical project—one that celebrates the dignity of the marginalized.

It’s wonderful to read arguments for and against telling the story of Mary. Megan’s article can be found here.      


Contemporary Recommendations Based On Austen Couples    

  
67d52150-0fae-0134-e761-0a315da82319Now from novels based on minor characters, to novel recommendations based on Austen pairings. One writer for Bustle has written a list of what contemporary Austen fans might enjoy based on who their favourite Jane Austen couple is.

For Emma and Mr Knightley the recommendation is Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes, whose heroine knows she is getting married thanks to a psychic, but she doesn’t know who to.

For Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy the recommendation is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, a workplace rom-com about the fine line between love and hate.

For fans of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth there is Lip Service by Susan Mallery , whose heroine Skye Titan, has a real hangup about pleasing her family — which is why she leaves Mitch Cassidy at the altar and marries a man hand-picked by her father. Now, nine years later, she’s widowed with an eight-year-old daughter and Mitch is back.

Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon lovers have Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. Liberty Jones the heroine, like Marianne, falls hard for a man who isn’t really there for her, but then a Texas oil baron comes along who takes her under his wing. The trouble starts when her old flame returns.

If you’d like to read the full article and other recommendations based on other Austen couples click here.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies…And Historical Accuracy  

 
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies FilmWhile browsing through the programme for the upcoming Jane Austen Festival that will be held in Bath this September, we noticed something which we’d missed before.

The Regency etiquette workshop, a popular workshop in which you’re taught how to correctly act in a wide variety of common Regency social situations, is returning and includes anecdotes from John White. What we did not realise at first is that John White was the Historical Adviser on the film of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This has left us very curious to know what questions of historical accuracy came up on a set full of zombies… Which we’re sure aren’t particularly historically accurate themselves!

So, any questions you may have for John on marrying a set full of zombies with accuracy, and on what did and didn’t need to be historically correct, let us know in the comments below and the Jane Austen News will do it’s best to find out the answers when John comes to Bath.


My First Jane Austen Dance 

017f47582jane-austen-2016-221-jpgWe came across a lovely blog post this week from a young lady who has attended her first Regency dance.

She wasn’t too familiar with the costumes, music or etiquette before she went, so it’s a dance from the eyes of a relative newcomer to the world of English country dancing. We loved the way she looked at the dance from a modern viewpoint, and with plenty of humour!

Maybe Mr. Darcy, or at least a tall, eligible bachelor with an income of a kajillion pounds per year, or Colin Firth in a wet shirt would show up and whisk me away to a country manor in England. A girl can dream, anyway.


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’s ‘Forgotten’ Characters by Priyanka Chavda

By Priyanka Chavda

Jane Austen has many beloved characters – Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse and Marianne Dashwood.

There are a few, however, who are lesser known and often less appreciated, whether it be due to the continued growing admiration of her more popular characters or simply the story and characters themselves. For many Jane Austen fans some of these characters may not be under-appreciated- for them there could be others that need to be added to the list. Nevertheless, here are few who aren’t as recognised as perhaps they could be.

Frances O'Connor as Fanny Price.
Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price, 1999.

Fanny Price is one of the most underrated Austen characters. Even more, Mansfield Park is underrated as a novel in comparison to Austen’s other publications. For many, Fanny comes across as “insipid” (s quoted by Austen’s own mother.) For others, Fanny comes as a demure heroine. Unlike previous heroines such as Elizabeth Bennet, Fanny is not strongly spoken or particularly daring. She is placed in a household where her value is undermined, where she is floating in the middle; forced between what she knew and what she’s forced to learn. Yet Austen has cleverly created her character, suggest literary authors who examined Mansfield Park and Fanny Price for the novel’s anniversary–and pushes us to follow through. She has created someone who stands in full opposition to many characters within Mansfield Park and someone who comes in on her own as the novel progresses.

In fact much could be said about Mansfield Park and the characters within. Continue reading Jane Austen’s ‘Forgotten’ Characters by Priyanka Chavda

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