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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Film Reviews

Jane Austen News

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Film Reviews

Continue reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Film Reviews

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Jane Austen’s Matchmaker Zombies Kickstarter

Jane Austen’s Matchmaker Zombies Kickstarter

Continue reading Jane Austen’s Matchmaker Zombies Kickstarter

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Jane Austen News – Issue 67

The Jane Austen News is - move to Bath!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

  Jane Austen Avoids Clichés

New Jane Austen portraitAmong many others, one of the statistics writer Ben Blatt has included in his new book, Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve: The Literary Quirks and Oddities Of Our Most Loved Authors, is the number of clichés famous authors use in every 100,000 words.

Using modern technology to complete lots of complicated statistical calculations he has discovered that Jane Austen used 45 clichés per 100,000 words, Virginia Woolf 62, and Khaled Hussaini 71. This is relatively few when compared with the likes of James Patterson (160 per 100,000 words), Tom Wolfe (142 per 100,000 words), and Salman Rushdie (131 per 100,000 words).

An interesting statistic from a fun book, but at the Jane Austen News it did make us wonder – is part of the reason that Jane has so few because clichés simply weren’t as prevalent at the time when she was writing? After all, there weren’t nearly as many books being published then as there are now. Then again, perhaps Jane was just too filled with inspiration to need them!


Five Reasons to Follow Jane to Bath!

In the Financial Times Property Listings this week was an article promoting Bath as an incredible place to live, and advising readers to follow in Jane’s footsteps and become a resident of the city. The five reasons to live in Bath were:

  1. Wonderful views (Bath skyline and the rooftop pool of the Thermae Spa got special references)
  2. It’s commutable to London (90 minute train journey from Bath Spa to London Paddington)
  3. It’s a stable investment (In the past five years, prime property prices in Bath have increased 24.4 per cent)
  4. It has a thriving arts scene (Festivals, theatres, museums, Jane Austen….)
  5. Country get-aways close by (The exclusive Babington House to name only one)

The Financial Times kept to just the five reasons, but we can think of plenty more!


 Rarely Seen Jane Austen Portrait on Show  

In 1869, Rev James Edward Austen-Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) commissioned a portrait of her from the artist James Andrews to accompany his Memoir Of Jane Austen, the influential, first full-length biography of Jane to be written. The portrait was snapped up by a private collector for £164,500 at an auction in London in 2013. However as part of an exhibition to mark the bicentenary of Jane’s death, the portrait will be returning to the UK and will form part of an exhibition running at at The Gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre, from May 13th to July 24th. The exhibition will also feature manuscripts of some of her early writings, including a spoof History Of England, Austen’s silk pelisse coat (featuring a pattern of oak leaves), her purse and her sewing materials case.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 67

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Jane Austen News – Issue 43

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

2017 Is The Year Of Literature 

waxwork head and shoulders (low res)Next year is a milestone for quite a few heroes of British literature, and to celebrate VisitEngland has declared it the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’. Among the anniversaries being celebrated are the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, and publication anniversaries for Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Enid Blyton. 2017 will be mark the 75th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, and it will be twenty years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

As well events surrounding these, there will also be special programmes of events to celebrate the wartime poet Edward Thomas in Petersfield, Hampshire, an exhibition on writer Arnold Bennett, and a festival dedicated to children’s author Arthur Ransome – the writer of Swallows and Amazons.

So it seems 2017 is the year to visit England if you’re a fan of literature. Of course there will be plenty of special events on across the country to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death, and we’ll keep you up to date with what’s set to be going on.


A Christmas Dinner at Chawton Library        

ah-christmas-supperBest-selling author Edward Rutherfurd (his debut novel Sarum, a 10,000-year story set in Salisbury, was on the New York Times Bestseller List for 23 weeks) will add star appeal to the Christmas supper at Chawton House Library next month.

Offering an opportunity to partake of a festive meal in the atmospheric oak-panelled rooms where Jane dined with her family, the black tie event on December 3 will include the viewing of a unique manuscript and rare books. Edward Rutherfurd will talk about the inspiration that characterful 400-year-old houses like Chawton House can provide to the creative imagination, and guests at the Christmas supper will have the opportunity to view the unique ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ manuscript, written in Jane Austen’s own hand, as well as seeing a selection of her first editions.

Proceeds from the tickets (£85 per ticket or £750 for a table of ten) will go towards the library, its maintenance, and the academic work it undertakes.


Introducing Jane Austen to New Audiences (via Zombies) 
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesIt’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it has to be said that Seth Graham Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a hit with some readers, and it may have one big distinct benefit; it introduces people to Jane Austen’s work who probably wouldn’t have found her otherwise.

During the course of our Internet perusals this week, we came across a blog by Rebecca Thorne who explained perfectly what drew her to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and from there, onto original Jane Austen novels.

What interested me in the idea of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is that I’m quite in to fantasy so zombie killing sounded like fun. Additionally, I do love a strong female lead, so the Elizabeth of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a professional zombie slayer with a fearsome reputation was right up my ally. As I also quite like historical fiction, the historical setting iced the cake.

 

Personally, I think it’s a great idea to experiment with stories and secondly adapting older works may inspire audiences who wouldn’t normally be interesting in them to try them.

It may not be everyone’s thing, but if it leads people to Jane’s work, then surely that’s a positive?


Constable in Brighton   

JConstable Brighton Beach w fishing boat and crew c 1824-28 c. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg
JConstable Brighton Beach w fishing boat and crew c 1824-28 c. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A new exhibition which might be of interest to fellow fans of the Regency period will be running at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery between 8th April and 8th October 2017. It will explore John Constable’s time in the emerging seaside resort of Brighton, where he stayed with his family between 1824 and 1828.

A bit of background: John Constable (1776 – 1837) was an English Romantic painter known principally for his landscape paintings. Qualities associated with his work include a freshness of light and a delicacy of touch; he also saw landscape painting as a scientific as well as a poetic form, and believed the imagination cannot alone produce art comparable with nature. His paintings are so treasured that they hang in galleries such as the British Museum, the Courtauld Gallery, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy, Tate, V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Constable in Brighton will form part of the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Regency Summer season in 2017, which will also include Jane Austen by the Sea at the Royal Pavilion and Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate at Brighton Museum.


Jane Austen The Secret Radical – A Review     

9781785781162-293x450“Almost everything we think we know about Jane Austen is wrong.” This is the declaration from Helena Kelly, author of Jane Austen, The Secret Radical, an eminently accessible study of Jane Austen’s six major novels.

At the Jane Austen News we’re very excited because Helena will be visiting Bath this week and signing copies of her book for us. They’re available for pre-order here, and will be shipped out next week!

In Jane Austen, The Secret Radical, which is her début book, Helena argues that we’ve started to read the Jane Austen we’ve constructed through adaptations and shared wisdom, rather than Jane as she was. After 200 years she says we have strayed too far from the novels themselves, and Helena herself has been a victim of this: “When I was teaching Austen [she has taught students at Oxford University for the past ten years] I often had to go back to the text to check that what I was remembering was actually there. And I would get students writing essays on scenes that didn’t actually happen in the novels but which they remembered from somewhere else.”

Helena also puts forward the idea that Jane Austen would have expected her readers to pick up on contemporary references to politics, societal values, world events and religion. Going back and looking again at Austen’s novels with all of these things in mind will, explains Helena, reveal a writer who was spirited, opinionated and deeply concerned with the political and social issues of the times in which she lived.


Mrs Dashwood Visits the North Pole!     

The Jane Austen News spots Mrs Claus

The new Christmas adverts have started to appear on TV, and when we at the Jane Austen News watched the new M&S Christmas advert we couldn’t help but think we’d seen Mrs Claus somewhere before. It turns out we had. The actress who plays her is Janet McTeer who played Mrs Dashwood in the BBC’s 2008 production of Sense and Sensibility. So we though we’d share that fact with you in case, like us, you were wracking your brains trying to work out why you recognised her.


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 33

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 

Colin Firth Doesn’t Think Mr Darcy Is Attractive

mr-darcy-coverColin Firth has confessed that he doesn’t understand why Mr Darcy is so popular. In fact he said that he took the role not to be a heart-throb but because he “thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgemental and snobbish.”

While speaking to the Daily Mail he also said;

I didn’t have to think about bringing charm to the role – the way I saw it, I just had to stand there and make everyone hate me … then this weird thing happened where people liked him, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all! We’re 20 years on and I still don’t understand it.

He may not understand how it happened, but he most definitely did make Mr Darcy a success.


And Adrain Lukis Doesn’t Think Mr Wickham Is That Bad     

1jarw.jpg.galleryFrom one actor with an unusual take on his character to another.

Many would consider Mr Wickham, with his attempted, and later successful, elopements and his constant lying, to be the villain of Pride and Prejudice. However, Adrian Lukis who played him in the 1995 BBC production doesn’t see him that way.

While speaking to reporter Flora Thompson he said

I do not see Wickham as an out-and-out villain. People are not meant to see him as that – he is an adventurer, he doesn’t have any money – we all know someone like that. He lives on his wits.

I went about preparing for the character by using how he is described by others in the book – he is seen as an amiable man who is economical with the truth. That’s how I chose to play him, not as an archetypal villain.


Ever Jane – Jane Austen as a Role Playing Game

i927zkeoe3ecgqmucfz8Following a successful Kickstarter campaign which was begun in 2013 and raised $US110,000, the new Jane Austen MMORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game –  a type of game genre which allows thousands of gamers to play in the game’s evolving virtual world at the same time) called Ever Jane has reached its beta test stages.

The full game is set to be released next year and can involve quests such as delivering a handkerchief or wrangling a sheep, and character stats, including status, kindness, duty and reputation. One tester said of the game: “I encountered about a dozen characters total, all of whom remained dapper and spoke in proper English throughout my in-game travels, which at one point led me to an elegant ballroom.”

The lead developer of the game, Judy L. Tyrer, does make it clear that this is not your normal online game; “It’s not about kill or be killed, but invite or be invited. Instead of raids, we will have grand balls. Instead of dungeons, we will have dinner parties.”

At the Jane Austen News we’re most curious to see the finished result when it’s available next year!


Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to be Sued by Publisher  

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAlways a controversial subject among Austen fans is that of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now its author Seth Grahame-Smith is in hot water again, only this time with his publisher.

In 2010, Grahame-Smith signed a $1 million deal for two books; one a follow-up to his book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the second a novel on a new topic to be delivered in 2013. Both, unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, were meant to be entirely his own work and not a mash-up with another classic author’s work. Unfortunately after 34 months of delays, Grahame-Smith finally submitted a manuscript so disappointing that his publisher Hachette has filed a lawsuit against him for the money which they had advanced for the works.

Hachette’s legal complaint says that the new manuscript was meant to be “original with Author in all respects,” (Hachette describes the manuscript he submitted as “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”) and said that it “is not comparable in style and quality to Smith’s wholly original bestseller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Grahame-Smith is yet to make a statement commenting on the lawsuit.


If Zack Synder Did Sense and Sensibility…     

Zack Snyder – director of the films 300Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a very distinct style. He goes for moody, dark, rain soaked, shots full of slow-motion effects in his films. This is great for thrillers and action films, but not an approach we at the Jane Austen News would naturally think of using for the retelling of a literary classic.

So with this juxtaposition in mind some of his fans have made a parody imaging what it might be like if he did. Sense and Sensibility Synder-style begins in the film below at 1:30.


National Treasures That Have Nearly Been Lost   

_90941634_coronet_2A sapphire and diamond coronet given to Queen Victoria by her beloved husband Albert has been placed under a temporary export bar, just like Jane Austen’s famous turquoise ring once was after Kelly Clarkson bought it at auction.  

A temporary export bar is something which the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest can place on an object deemed as a national treasure. This bar stops the object from leaving the country for a time in order that UK-based individuals or institutions can attempt to raise enough money to buy and keep it.

The asking price for the 11.5cm wide coronet, which is mounted with 11 sapphires all set in gold and diamonds set in silver, has an asking price of £5million. The Department for Culture Media and Sport said a final decision over the export licence on the coronet will be deferred until 27 December.

We’ll have to wait and see if, like with Jane’s ring, the bar is successful in saving the coronet from being sent overseas.


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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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Film Trailer Launches

Today marks the release of the official Pride and Prejudice movie trailer from Lionsgate Films, and we have to say it’s looking like a high-quality production!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a re imagining of Jane Austen’s classic novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith. It’s the same story you know and love, with the added scare factor of hundreds of regency zombies and a fair bit of amended dialogue.

Jane Austen fans are divided on the franchise, but one thing’s for certain – the release of the movie will bring Jane Austen back into the world spotlight. That’s great news for the millennial generation, many of whom haven’t read a Jane Austen book or seen an adaptation. Continue reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Film Trailer Launches