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Jane Austen News – Issue 65

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 A Fifth Jane Austen Note Is Coming To The Centre!  

Since his incognito visit to the Jane Austen Centre in March, speculation has been high that micro-engraver Graham Short spent a fifth Jane Austen five pound note (despite the original news that only four had been made and spent last year). Rumours that a fifth note had been spent and was now ‘on the loose’ were fuelled further by the confirmation from Graham’s team that a fifth note had indeed been made.

As Mr Short was not recognised until the end of his visit to the Centre and Regency tearooms, it had been thought that he had spent the five pound note and the Centre had unknowingly given it to a customer in change. However, it has now been revealed that the fifth five pound note is not somewhere in general circulation, but is in fact going to be gifted to the Centre by Mr Short!!

Mr Short told BBC Radio Bristol he would presenting the note to the Jane Austen Centre as a framed gift to mark the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. He will be returning to Bath on the 18th of July with the note, which he has said “will be framed with glass on the back and the front so you can see through it.”

The note, like the other four, has a small portrait of Jane on it, along with a quote from one of her famous novels. The one to be presented to the Centre is from Persuasion and reads: ‘You pierce my soul, I am half agony, half hope.’

At the Jane Austen News we’re delighted and honoured, and greatly looking forward to welcoming Graham back to Bath this July! Plus, in addition to this visit, Mr Short will be back in Bath this September in order to talk about his work at the annual International Jane Austen Festival in Bath (8th – 17th September).

A.A. Milne’s Darcy – More Eeyore Than Phwoar?

In a new book about Austen’s influence on cinema, details have been given of how Pride and Prejudice came within a whisker of being adapted for the screen by A.A. Milne. Milne hoped his script would become the text for the first film production of the classic novel. However, it was pipped to the post by an American production that Milne did not find out about until the day he finished his own script.

Paula Byrne, the author of the new book called The Genius of Jane Austen, said that Milne’s adaptation, while not so heavily centred on the love story between Darcy and Elizabeth, had a “better understanding of Austen as social satirist, verbal ironist and daughter of the muse of comedy as opposed to sentiment”. The 1940s production (starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) which was made instead of Milne’s vision, was much more focused on the heartthrob than on the harsh truths of the era. Byrne said that Milne had made his story “not quite so romantic”. In fact, in the final scene of his play Milne had opted for a “touching one between father and daughter, not a romantic union between Elizabeth and Darcy”.

Just imagine how different things might have been for Mr Darcy today had he first been more of a sombre Eeyore than a smouldering Olivier!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 65

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Jane Austen news – Issue 62

The Jane Austen News is: a special event will take place here on Saturday 22 July 2017

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

 Jane’s ‘Fake Weddings’  

Jane never married, but that’s not to say that she didn’t think about it. When she was a young girl she had great fun filling in  fictitious entries in the Steventon marriage register, which she had access to because her father, George Austen, was the rector of the parish.

The records which show Jane’s handwritten entries linking her to two separate husbands, will go on display in May as part of the Mysterious Miss Austen exhibition at Winchester’s Discovery Centre.

The little-known document includes a fictitious entry for the publication of banns between Henry Frederic Howard Fitzwilliam of London and Jane Austen of Steventon, while another entry details the marriage of Edmund Arthur William Mortimer of Liverpool and Jane Austen of Steventon.

 A Remembrance Service for Jane 

On July 22nd at 2pm, the Bath and Bristol group of the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom will be holding a

A special event will take place here on Saturday 22 July 2017

commemoration event to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death at St Swithin’s Church, Bath.
This is a special event with a short service in the church, followed by a dancing display and readings. It’s particularly appropriate to hold the service at St. Swithin’s, as this is the church where George Austen and Cassandra Leigh, Jane’s parents, were married in 1764, where the Austen family went to church while in Bath (the Abbey was considered to be too crowded), and where George Austen is buried.
Tickets cost £10 (including tea), and are available from Bath Box Office (01225 463362).

Continue reading Jane Austen news – Issue 62

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Jane Austen News – Issue 46

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Jane Austen’s Mother Not a Fan of All Her Work…     

images-6Mansfield Park is probably Jane’s least popular novel, and it appears that readers of today are not the only ones to hold that opinion. From January 2017 the British Library will put on display Austen’s handwritten notes of what friends, family and correspondents thought of the novel. They’re not all complimentary.

Of the documents on display is one which shows that Jane Austen’s mother Cassandra, thought that Mansfield Park was not as good as Pride & Prejudice and found the heroine, Fanny Price, “insipid”. On the upside, Jane’s sister Cassandra was “fond of Fanny” and “delighted much in Mr Rushworth’s stupidity”.

That’s not the worst review of Mansfield Park on display though. Other writings of Austen’s show that she recorded the thoughts of a lady called Augusta Bramstone, who thought Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice “nonsense … but [she] expected to like M.P. better, & having finished the 1st vol. – flattered herself she had got through the worst”.

Poor Jane! We can’t help but feel at the Jane Austen News that it’s a little ironic, given these reviews, that Mansfield Park was the novel which made her the most money within her lifetime!

 Jane Austen Could Make You £20,000   

There was a lot of buzz around the first batch of the Winston Churchill £5 notes which were released back in September, but jane-austenthey’re out now so it would make sense that the next batch of notes to be released wouldn’t have the same level of excitement surrounding them. However, we at the Jane Austen News are looking forward to the new release of notes more than the last one, because four of the new plastic £5 notes which have just been released into circulation carry a tiny engraving which could make the note worth as much as £20,000. That engraving is of Jane Austen.

World famous “micro engraver” Graham Short, from Birmingham, was commissioned to etch a microscopic image onto four of the polymer notes, and he has carved tiny portraits of Jane Austen onto the special notes, next to the images of Sir Winston Churchill and Big Ben. On some of the notes will also be classic quotes from Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park. We hope we’ll get to see one or two at least; so if you happen to find one do take a photo and show us!


A Kind of Jane Austen Panto  
image-5It’s definitely panto season, and the production from LipService which is currently touring sounds like a great Jane Austen version of a panto. A good one to watch over the next month or two if the opportunity arises.

Mr Darcy Loses the Plot has been reviewed to be a “quirky, side-splitting comedy”, which tells the (alternative) story of Jane writing Pride and Prejudice. Jane is writing but then she hears someone approaching, so she hides her work and goes to see who has come. Now Mr Darcy sees his chance and rewrites his storyline….and it’s rather different from the one Jane had in mind.

Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding of LipService have gained a number of plaudits over the years since their first performance together in 1985. They are now one of the most firmly established touring companies in the UK, and will be visiting Manchester, Lancaster, Leeds and Keswick with Mr Darcy Loses the Plot over the coming weeks.

Persuasion Minus Bonnets   

However, another Jane Austen stage production for those who prefer their Austen to be more true to the original is the persuasionupcoming production of Persuasion, which will be adapted and directed by renowned dramatist Jeff James, and staged at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre from the 25th of May 2017 to the 24th of June 2017.

The theatre had this to say of the production so far; “In 2017, the bicentenary of Persuasion’s publication and of Jane Austen’s death, this bold new adaptation brings all the sharp observation and quick wit of Austen’s novel to the stage, without a bonnet in sight.”

There’s not much information on the production currently available, but the “without a bonnet in sight” statement has certainly got us intrigued…

When Dating Gets You Down…Turn to Austen   
Are Jane Austen's Heroine's Ideal Women?The Jane Austen News found a good reminder this week for why Jane Austen is such an excellent author to read when real life is getting you down. Amy Smith writing for the online magazine Verily told readers why, around Christmas, she as a single girl finds reading the novels of Jane a comfort;
1. Change can come – Just think of Mr Darcy overcoming his pride. “Who among us single gals doesn’t need a reminder that our mistakes don’t define us and that change can often lead to love?”
2. Second chances happen – As shown with Anne and Captain Wentworth in Persuasion.
3. No two are the same – All of Jane’s heroines are distinctly different, but they all get a happy ending that’s right for them.
4. Good trumps games – When doing the wrong thing looks tempting we’re shown that bad guys like Willoughby and John Thorpe get their comeuppance.
5. Hope wins out – Jane’s prayers are especially full of hope and thankfulness.
So if the holiday season gets you down, it’s time to open one of Jane’s novels.

A Visit From Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon    

When celebrities come to the city to perform at Bath’s Theatre Royal, they sometimes use some of their time in Bath to come and visit us at the Jane Austen Centre. This week we had the pleasure of welcoming the comedian and TV personality Ricky Gervais, and his partner, writer and producer Jane Fallon, to the centre. Ricky was in Bath for a one-night only performance of Ricky Gervais and Guests – Work in Progress.

Here’s Jane meeting our Lizzy Bennet:


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.

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