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Mr Darcy, dreaming – fiction

Mr Darcy

Mr Darcy, dreaming.   By Rani Jhala

Rani Jhala

Last year I turned thirty. I was unmarried and worse had no prospect of marriage looming in the near future. I was not picky nor did I ever think that I was better than any of the men I had met. I just wanted a special man, my own Mr. Right.
From the moment I had read, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I knew what that Mr. Right would be like. Also with that moment, I had set myself up for a decade of disappointments. The boys I met at school, did not have ‘that quiet elegance’, the teenagers I met at University, treated me as an ‘equal and not as an object to worship. And the men that I came across in my working career, simply never turned up say “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
And so I led the life of a single woman, happy with my romance books, busy with my job and enjoying my time with my family and friends. That was until, one by one, they each got married and made it their prime occupation to find me a husband.
They each, knew of a man who was just right for me. And everyone made the same comparison, “He is just like your Mr Darcy” They were never anything like ‘my’ Mr Darcy.
For over five years I gave in to their pleas and met the men they introduced me to, but ultimately, I had enough. Enough of the eagerness in their voices, of the anticipation in their looks and of the sheer disappointment in their words, as they said “Oh well, back to the drawing board.”
The only person, who never got flustered, was my brother. And it was he that came up with the brilliant plan to dupe the matchmakers in my life. He booked me onto a tour aptly called ‘Twenty days in Jane Austen’s footsteps’. And on my return I was to create this fictitious long-distance relationship that was to stretch over the next five years and give me the much needed breathing space.
My trip to England was amazing. I got to see the little table Jane Austen sat at as she created her wonderful stories. I touched the doorway she had once walked through and I looked at the sky from exactly the place she would have stood at. I read the letters she had written and I looked at the volumes of her books that now graced the bookshelf.
And for the first time I saw the reality behind each of those wonderfully woven stories. The power of a woman to be able to create a perfect man in her imagination, and of her inability to find such a man in her own life! Yes she knew love, but marriage and motherhood remained at bay.
During the last days of the trip, I pondered on my own life. Would I have been happy with any of the men I had been introduced to in the past? Was I foolish to believe that somewhere, there was someone just for me or was I stupidly embracing a life of loneliness and pain?
I got my answer when we attended a series of plays in London. As I sat and watched an actor perform the role of Mr Darcy, another of Captain Wentworth and a third of Mr Knightley, the truth finally hit me. Jane Austen’s men were embodiments of decency and chivalry. They were honest, caring and just. They were protective and strong, yet each came with the usual human failings of jealousy, anger, pride and arrogance. But what set them truly apart was that they loved their heroines beyond anything and everything.
I realised then that I did not want Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth. I wanted someone to come into my life and make me the reason for his existence. And I was determined not to settle for less. And until that man waltzed into my life, my brother’s little game sounded ideal.
At the end of the tour, I stayed with his girlfriend’s family in London. Her younger sister was to be my partner in crime. We became good friends almost form the time we were introduced but it was the quite man in the background that gave me a sense of the Deja vu.
The original plan did not involve the existence of a real love interest. I was to write the letters and she was to email them back to me but somewhere along the translation of this plan, things changed. She suggested that we use her cousin as the model for the photographs and to make things realistic, he would send the letter. It was also agreed that he would call me once a week, because that was what fiancés do.
And so we spent the next week making our fantasy real. We toured the city and took photographs. We researched the best love letters and copied lines from there and we spoke honestly about our personal dilemmas. I learnt from him that men too face the same social pressures.
Did we fall madly in love? Absolutely not but he and I did became very good friends. As I bid him goodbye I even felt that maybe I was leaving behind someone who given the chance could have meant more.
Back at home, I established my fictitious romance. I told everyone of this wonderful man that I had met and showed everyone the photographs. To make it even more authentic, I wore a diamond ring on my engagement finger. All asked the one question, “When is the wedding?” I gave them the same reply “We will decide the date after his visit at the end of this year.”
I had bought myself a year of peace or so I had thought. In the months that followed, a new game began. He would ring and I would take the call outside pretending to need privacy. I would carelessly leave his email open ensuring that everyone was aware of it. I constantly dropped photos from my handbag. I even brought bridal magazines and went through this whole charade of trying to pick the perfect wedding outfit. It actually was quite a lot of fun and I looked forward to his emails noting that as time went our carefully drafted letters were being replaced with his personally written ones. I could not complain, because his letters were far better than the ones we had drafted together.
Mr DarcyEverything was running to perfection, until one day, I stopped receiving his phone calls. His emails ceased as well and mine did not get a reply.
It took me a month of silence before I realised that I was missing more than a friend. I asked my brother if he had any idea of what had happened. His only reply was “Don’t worry sis, we will find someone else to write the letters.”
“Well you better, Valentine’s Day is next week. I need my ‘fiancé’ to send me roses otherwise no one will believe he exists anymore” I replied in anger but in my heart I knew what was really wrong.
The day before Valentine’s Day, and with no replacement found, I went and ordered a dozen long stem red roses and a huge box of chocolates and addressed it to myself.
When the doorbell rang on the morning of the 14th of February, I knew my order had arrived. Calmly I opened the door but instead of my twelve long stems, the man held a massive bouquet of a hundred beautiful blooms and instead of the local florist, there stood my fiancé.
And how could I say no to what he asked next, when he began with the words “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire …………”

First published in Indian Link. See the original HERE

 

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Gin Austen – An Exclusive Mr Darcy Recipe!

Gin Austen - Mr Darcy's Demise

We have an exclusive additional Mr Darcy recipe for you Gin Austen fans!

The marvelous Colleen Mullaney, author of the run-away success ‘Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen‘, has created an exclusive bonus recipe just for us at the Jane Austen Centre and Online Gift Shop.

Gin Austen Mr Darcy's Demise

Continue reading Gin Austen – An Exclusive Mr Darcy Recipe!

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Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today

Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today Continue reading Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today

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Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

Jane Austen News

Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

Continue reading Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

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Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Colin Firth! 


Colin Firth Broods Again

Colin Firth as DarcyIf you’re reading this then in all likelihood the role that you most associate with Colin Firth is the brooding Mr Darcy from the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Well, good news, Firth-Darcy fans: Colin’s next big role is another classic brooding character.

Film companies StudioCanal and Heyday Films are currently working on a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful novel, The Secret Garden. Colin Firth will play the mysterious and complex character of the bereaved Archibald Craven. Julie Walters is also set to star as strict head housekeeper Mrs Medlock. Filming begins this month but there’s no firm news on a release date as of yet.

However, just an aside, it’s not The Secret Garden you might recognise from the book or the 1993 feature film which featured Maggie Smith as Mrs Medlock. The book is set in the Edwardian era in which it was first published, but the new film will be start in 1947 as the partition of India began and Britain was in the post-war aftermath. As well as welcoming Colin Firth back to our screens, it will be interesting to see what the change of setting brings to the story!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

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Pride and Prejudice Rehearsals Weeks 1-6

Pride and Prejudice rehearsals

 With four proposals, three Regency dances, two confrontations with Lady Catherine and one kiss with Mr Darcy, rehearsals are well under way.

 

It has been 6 weeks since our Pride and Prejudice journey began and oh so much has happened!

Including all of this…

 

Meet the Bennet sisters!

Jane Bennet (Alicia)
Lydia Bennet (Jess)
Kitty Bennet (Rose)
Mary Bennet (Chloe)
(And me!) Lizzie Bennet

 

And when we’re not in regency dress we like to relax with our other favourite cast member, the Athenaeum’s giant bear, aka Mr Darcy’s understudy…

 

With less than 7 weeks to go before our first performance, rehearsals have been in full swing. .We started by blocking the play whilst we had use of the stage, focusing on projection, space and entrances and exits. From here we rehearsed in the Function room three times a week, looking at the closer details of each scene. So far I have been particularly focusing on my more ‘main’ scenes including the famous first proposal from Mr Darcy… ‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you’. Johnathon (Mr Darcy) and I have been working closely on this scene to achieve the maximum emotion that is portrayed. It has been challenging and at times tiring (as I’m in every scene!), yet we are all thoroughly enjoying this exciting journey!

We have all been very busy trying to learn lines…

We even had a competition to see who could take a picture with their tote bag in the most interesting place. I believe Sir William Lucas won when he captured this in Venice!

 

And how are the Directors feeling so far…

“We are very happy with the progress made so far. The cast are working very hard to get “off book” and their hard work is beginning to show. Behind the scenes things are coming together nicely. Our producer is getting props organised. We have a soundtrack. We have a little over 6 weeks to go and I am feeling confident about the standard of this production. Tickets sales are coming in as people take advantage of the early bird offer.”

 

 until next time…

Zoe B

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Finding Happiness, Austen Style: Party with Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice

Welcome to the third of a multi-part series of posts on how to lift yourself out of the blues, Austen style.

Kindly reproduced here with permission from its author, Laurie Viera Rigler, who is also the author of the popular Jane Austen Addict novels.

 

The days are getting shorter. Winter is coming. A dragon has been turned. But are we sad? No. Because we have the cure, and now so do you.

It’s called Bride and Prejudice, the life-affirming, Bollywood-meets-Hollywood tribute to Pride and Prejudice.

Not only is it a clever, spirited, heart-opening adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but there are also two other very important reasons for you to watch:

1. Nathan Riggs from Grey’s Anatomy. That’s right, Martin Henderson plays Darcy.

2. Naveen Andrews from Lost. He plays the Bingley role.

Need I say more? I needn’t but I will: There’s the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai in the Elizabeth role; Ellaria Sand, that is, Indira Varma, in the Caroline Bingley role; and the most hilarious portrayal of Mr. Collins (by Nitin Ganatra) since David Bamber’s brilliant work in the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle P&P.

Just watch the trailer and see if you can resist. Come on, grumpypants—I dare you.

This film merits a party. At the very least, invite at least one friend over to watch with you. Or have a party all on your own. You deserve it. To prepare:

  • Be sure to bring in plenty of Indian food.
  • And don’t forget to get some floaty scarves to wave around while you dance along with the various musical numbers. That’s right; dance. You didn’t think you were going to be a couch potato, did you? How would that help the endorphins flow?

Keep the party going long after the credits roll: Download the soundtrack.

  • Play it in your car or while commuting to work.
    Play it while you do otherwise boring stuff like folding laundry.
  • Play it just because.
  • And sing along.

Most important: Keep these immortal words from Pride and Prejudice in mind whenever the blue devils strike:
“But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits…”

This quote is from the Netherfield Ball scene, when Elizabeth first realizes that the then-object of her affections, Mr. Wickham, is a no-show. Instead, she gets stuck dancing with the odious Mr. Darcy. Remember how that ultimately turned out for her? If that doesn’t cheer you up, I’ll give the next two dances to Mr. Collins.
I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.

(Fun fact: Another hit by Bride and Prejudice director Gurinder Chadha, Bend it Like Beckham, is also super uplifting. Make haste and add it to your cinematherapy arsenal.)

Laurie Viera Rigler is the author of the Jane Austen Addict series.

Visit her at her website www.janeaustenaddict.com

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Jane Austen News – Issue 29

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 

Austen and Shakespeare – Pop Culture Throughout Time
05WILLJANEJP4-master675The new exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity includes some of the more goofy material objects that have been made to celebrate Shakespeare or Austen in recent years. Some are more corporate than others – empty shoe boxes with Jane’s name on them, sticking plasters, etc etc, but all show what an amazing influence the two writers still have on the world. What really caught the eye of the Jane Austen News though, were the antique pieces of memorabilia; some of them over 100 years old.

Some antique memorabilia included in the exhibition are; a series of 18th-century porcelains showing famous actors as Richard III, a signboard for the Shakespeare’s Head tavern from the late-17th or early-18th century, and antique bellows carved with Shakespeare’s face. We are by no means lacking items celebrating Austen and Shakespeare today, and not all of them are received with open arms; some may be considered tacky or overly commercial. So it’s interesting to see what passed for commemorative merchandise in the past, and to consider what of today’s memorabilia may end up in a similar Austen/Shakespeare exhibition a couple of hundred years in the future.

Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is on show at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street S.E., Washington until the 6th of November 2016.


JASNA Announces Essay Competition Winners  
writing-a-letterTo foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen, JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest. The 2016 Essay Contest Topic (which was in line with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Emma at 200: “No One But Herself””) was education.

The complete essay brief was:

Education is a running theme in Emma. For instance, there are teacher/pupil relationships, a school, and former and aspiring governesses.  Discuss how this emphasis shapes the plot, develops characters or reflects the views of the period.

Essay writers were asked to submit their essays in the hopes of winning; a $1000 scholarship, free registration and two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Washington DC, recognition at the AGM and on the JASNA web site, publication of the essay on JASNA’s web site, one year’s membership in JASNA for both the winner and his or her mentor, and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels. Second and third place were awarded similar smaller prizes.

The submissions were divided into three age groups: high school, college/university, and graduate, and the winners of the first, second and third place in each age group have now been announced. Their essays can be found on the JASNA website here.


Cast Announced For Pride and Prejudice Tour     
Tafline-SteenIn a previous edition of the Jane Austen News we announced that Matthew Kelly is set to star as Mr Bennet in the 2016/2017 UK tour of Pride and Prejudice. Well now we’re pleased to say that the full cast has been announced.

In addition to Mr Kelly, the cast will also include:

What a cast!


Are You Bromley’s Mr Darcy?      
mr-darcy-coverGood news for any Jane Austen fans living in or near Bromley in London! To celebrate the national tour of Pride and Prejudice coming to Bromley’s Churchill Theatre in September,  a competition is being held to find Bromley’s very own Mr Darcy.

The competition asks for nominations to be made of husbands, boyfriends, sons, brothers, or just friends who are as dashing as Darcy. To nominate someone you need to email a picture and short reason for your nomination to jim.palmer@london.newsquest.co.uk by August 19, 2016.

The finalists are decided by public vote, which opens on the News Shopper website from August 22nd.

The finalists will then be announced on August 31, 2016 and they will take part in “a fun regency themed competition” (intriguing) on the afternoon of Saturday 10th September.

The winning Mr Darcy will receive a prize of:

  • A pair of tickets to Pride and Prejudice at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 7.30pm
  • Pre-show meal and bottle of prosecco at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 6pm
  • Overnight stay for two including breakfast at Bromley Court Hotel Friday, September 23.
  • Return taxis from Bromley Court Hotel to the Churchill Theatre Friday, September 23, provided by Cannon Cars.
  • £50 Intu Bromley shopping voucher

Stephanie Barron On Her New Book and Why Jane Is So Popular 

"Jane and the Waterloo Map" book cover

While speaking in a recent interview to promote her latest book, Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie Barron (author of thirteen  Jane Austen mystery novels) explained why she thinks that Austen is still so popular today.

When asked by Jane Ammeson, who was reporting for nwitimes.com, what the key to Jane Austen’s continuing popularity might be, she had this to say:

Part of Jane’s enduring appeal is that she understood how women think, and just as importantly, that women like to be appreciated and valued for their intelligence as much as their physical appeal. Austen had an acute understanding of the human heart and human motivation; this allowed her to fashion complex and compelling characters, both male and female. Her perceptions remain true to human lives today—we’re still learning from her acute understanding.

We at the Jane Austen News completely agree.


Airing Jane’s Early Work 

history-englandjpgv1376562490.jpegPride and Prejudice has to be the novel which comes up most often when talking about Jane Austen. However, while it is undoubtedly a fantastic work, many Austen fans feel that more ought to be done to promote Jane’s other writing. For this reason we were delighted to read that at the recent Holt Festival (Norwich, UK), when The Archers actress Emerald O’Hanrahan performed readings of Jane’s work in a white gown and mob cap, she dramatised not only passages from most of Austen’s novels, but also performed readings from Austen letters and several humorous snippets from her juvenilia, including her History of England.

It’s wonderful to hear that Jane’s early writing is getting some of the publicity it deserves.


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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