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Jane Austen News – Issue 36

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Jane Austen’s Daily Quote App

Jane-Austen-app1Good news! The android version of the Jane Austen quote app has been updated!

As with the older version of the app it is still free and provides a new Jane Austen quote straight to your phone at a time to suit you every day. However, it now loads much faster, with quicker quote loading and a smoother user experience all round. Plus the app is still loaded with lots of other Austen goodies; free articles from the Jane Austen Centre online magazine and easy access to the Online Giftshop and Centre news.

To get the update users with the old version will have to uninstall their version and install the new one. On the other hand if you don’t have the app yet but would like to download it, you can get the Jane Austen Daily Quote app for Apple and Android devices from iTunes or Google Play.


Jane Austen – Master Beer Brewer   

spruce2This week the Jane Austen News has come across a lovely little blog post which talks about Jane’s penchant for brewing beer – perhaps not the first thing to come to mind when you think of Jane.

Here are a few great facts from Nick Hines’ post on VinePair:

  • Beer was safer than water and was considered a daily necessity just like food.
  • It was the woman’s role to provide the beer.
  • Jane’s beer of choice was spruce beer; a beer brewed using the buds of a spruce tree, which give off citrus and pine flavours.

A timeless author and a master brewster?! (As the female brewers of the age were called.) Jane really was one talented lady.


Six Ways Jane Austen Has Shaped My Relationships    

What's the Jane Austen News this week asks EmmaJane Austen has sometimes been accused of giving people unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships. After all, not everyone can be so devoted as Colonel Brandon, or as (eventually) eloquent in their devotion as Mr Darcy, but one post on Bustle caught the eye of the Jane Austen News because it was extolling Jane’s novels as being a help, not a hinderance, when it comes to forming good relationships. And how?

  1. They make you more forgiving of your family’s quirks (e.g. “thank goodness my mother is not Mrs Bennet”).
  2. They prove that character is more important than charm.
  3. They make you more understanding of your friend’s choices (Lizzy on Charlotte’s marriage anyone?).
  4. Look after your siblings.
  5. Appreciate second chances.
  6. Patience is a virtue.

We’re know there are more reasons why reading Austen is helpful for relationships, but this is certainly a good starter list!


Bridget Jones Needs A Man Like…   

first-photos-from-the-new-bridget-jones-s-baby-movie-rumor-has-it-she-doesn-t-know-who-763555…Always? That’s the conclusion of some disheartened Bridget Jones fans this week having seen the new film.

In the most recent Bridget Jones film, Bridget is pregnant and unsure who the father is. Bridget is a strong, modern woman, and yet she spends the film trying to choose which of the two potentials she needs to have as the father of her baby. The implication being that she is unable to cope alone.

When Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice (which was the inspiration for Bridget Jones) the sad fact was that unless Lizzy wanted to become a poor spinster then she did need a man so Austen can’t be criticised for her fixation on marriage. Things have changed a lot in 200 years though, and so it’s a shame that despite major advances in gender equality (female suffrage anyone?) it would seem that the mainstream message for women is still the same: you need a man. At least this is the conclusion of quite a few disappointed Jones fans. Thoughts?


Colin Firth Too Ginger?!   
colin-firth-pride-and-prejudice-darcy-colin-firth-16177744-700-771Fans of the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice have this week been shocked to discover that Colin Firth was nearly dismissed for the part because he was too ginger! Scriptwriter Andrew Davies said, “I was a bit doubtful about Colin at the time because of his colouring…He didn’t have those dark curls back then.”

Luckily producer Sue Birtwhistle was a very vocal supporter of Firth and was “absolutely convinced that he would be wonderful”. She persuaded Davies and the team agreed that Colin would have to dye his hair for the part. “He did go dark and he stayed dark ever since,” Davies said.


Poldark Vs. Darcy     

ross_poldark_had_a_mr_darcy_moment_in_series_2_episode_4___but_who_wore_the_white_shirt_best_Poldark took a leaf out of Mr Darcy’s book this weekend as in episode 4 of series 2 he went rushing into the water at Nampara Cove to aid Demelza; while wearing a white shirt that very much echoed the one Colin Firth was wearing when leapt into that lake in Pride and Prejudice.

Now the Radio Times are asking who wore it best? Colin or Aidan? (Though there are surely a few people asking whether we have to choose between them. Let’s have both!)


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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Jane Austen’s Spruce Beer

Spruce beer!

“But all this,” as my dear Mrs. Piozzi says, “is flight and fancy, and nonsense, for my master has his great casks to mind and I have my little children.” It is you, however, in this instance, that have the little children, and I that have the great cask, for we are brewing spruce beer again; but my meaning really is, that I am extremely foolish in writing all this unnecessary stuff when I have so many matters to write about that my paper will hardly hold it all. Little matters they are, to be sure, but highly important.
Jane Austen, to Cassandra
Southampton, Wednesday, January 7, 180

Portrait of Jeffrey Amherst (1717-1797), By Joshua Reynolds, 1765

In the June, 1759, orders for the Highland Regiment in North America stipulated that: “Spruce beer is to be brewed for the health and conveniency of the troops which will be served at prime cost. Five quarts of molasses will be put into every barrel of Spruce Beer. Each gallon will cost nearly three coppers.” Winter orders that year instructed that each post should keep enough molasses on hand “to make two quarts of beer for each man every day.”

Spruce beer was a common drink in Georgian England and was brewed for reasons including those of health (it was cleaner than water in many cases), holiday drinking, and sometimes simply as a tasty option. Brewed along similar lines as Root Beer and Ginger Beer, it could be drunk fresh or allowed to ferment.

The British Army’s recipe for Spruce Beer:

Take 7 Pounds of good spruce & boil it well till the bark peels off, then take the spruce out & put three Gallons of Molasses to the Liquor & and boil it again, scum it well as it boils, then take it out the kettle & put it into a cooler, boil the remained of the water sufficient for a Barrel of thirty Gallons, if the kettle is not large enough to boil it together, when milkwarm in the Cooler put a pint of Yest into it and mix well. Then put it into a Barrel and let it work for two or three days, keep filling it up as it works out. When done working, bung it up with a Tent Peg in the Barrel to give it vent every now and then. It may be used in up to two or three days after. If wanted to be bottled it should stand a fortnight in the Cask. It will keep a great while.
From the Journal of General Jeffrey Amherst (1717-1797), Governor-General of British North America

Spruce Beer

5 gallons of water
1/8 pound of hops
1/2 cup of dried, bruised ginger root
1 pound of the outer twigs of spruce fir
3 quarts of molasses
1/2 yeast cake dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water

  1. In a large kettle combine the water, hops, ginger root and spruce fir twigs.
  2. Boil together until all the hops sink to the bottom of the kettle.
  3. Strain into a large crock and stir in the molasses.
  4. After this has cooled add the yeast.
  5. Cover and leave to set for 48 hours.
  6. Then bottle, cap and leave in a warm place (70-75 degrees F) for 5 days. It will now be ready to drink.
  7. Store upright in a cool place.

Other options include:

  • Replacing the hops in any home-brew recipe with a doubled amount of the new needles of Sitka spruce gives a wonderfully tasty, slightly resiny brew.
  • You can use Spruce essence, but it is extremely powerful and can over power your brew to the point of being undrinkable. Here’s a good basis for a Spruce Beer. Modify to your own desire.

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