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Jane Austen News – Issue 147

The Jane Austen News looks forward to Sanditon

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Happy Public Domain Day! 

On January the 1st 2019, hundreds of works of art entered the U.S. public domain following a delay of two decades!

Thanks to a bill which extended copyright terms in 1998, one which was urged in by the Walt Disney Company (in a bid to protect Mickey Mouse) this huge release of early twentieth century works into the public domain hasn’t happened for 21 years. This created a “bizarre 20-year hiatus between the release of works from 1922 and 1923.”

At the Jane Austen News, we really enjoy seeing how out-of-copyright works (such as Pride and Prejudice) can be used to be the basis of, and the inspiration for, new works of art – both literary and visual. Thanks to public domain laws we’ve been able to see stage productions of Jane’s books, new films, and new fiction (What Kitty Did Next and Death Comes to Pemberley for example). We’re therefore highly keen to see what the new release of work may lead to.

Some of the works which are now in the public domain include:

  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Two of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Murder on the Links
  • A Son At The Front by Edith Wharton
  • Poetry by Robert Frost
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Sydney Gardens, Bath

Sydney GardensI join with you in wishing for the environs of Laura Place, but do not venture to expect it. My mother hankers after the Square dreadfully, and it is but natural to suppose that my uncle will take her part. It would be very pleasant to be near Sydney Gardens; we might go into the labyrinth every day. Jane Austen to Cassandra Wednesday, January 21, 1801 Sydney Gardens is the oldest park in the City of Bath. Planned and laid out by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795, it quickly became a popular place to see and be seen by the ever arriving crowds of fashionable people freqenting the city. In 1909 the gardens were purchased by the city and in the same year a replica of the Temple of Minerva was built to commemorate the Bath Historical Pageant. The Gardens were reached via the Sydney Hotel, in Sydney Place, at the end of Great Pultney Street. In 1801, the Austens, newly arrived in Bath, took lodgings at Number 4, Sydney Place, directly opposite the gardens. In describing their location to her sister, Jane Austen jokingly wrote, ‘There is a public breakfast in Sydney Gardens every morning, so we shall not be wholly starved.’ The public breakfast was only one of the many attractions the Gardens had to offer. Small orchestras performed on the balcony overlooking the grounds, and dining boxes, “a series of little shelters where private groups could take refreshments throughout the day” extended on either side of (more…)
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June in Regency Bath

“It would be very pleasant to be near Sydney Gardens. We might go into the labyrinth every day!” This month, Jane Austen intends to give us the slip. We’ll have to be both nimble-footed and nimble-witted if we are not to lose sight of her in a maze of irony. For the well-bred, dutiful Miss Jane, the younger daughter [though not so very young at twenty-five] of the Rev. George Austen, is putting on a brave, bright face on her parents’ decision to retire to Bath. She fills her artificial days with busyness. There is so much to do – should her meagre allowance stretch to it. On the Fourth of June, for example, there will be the annual concert with illuminations and fireworks for his majesty King George’s birthday – you know, that royal personage with a rather slender hold on reason.   “Even the concert will have more than its usual charm with me as the gardens are large enough for me to get pretty well beyond the reach of its sound,” comments Jane, rather sourly. At the far end of Pulteney Street, just across from the smartest pleasure grounds outside London’s Vauxhall, we’ll find 4, Sydney Place. It bears the only plaque to Jane in the entire city. Here she lived from 1801 until late 1804. The architect responsible for this part of Bath, Thomas Baldwin, clearly wore out his set-square when he did his planning. A balloonist’s view would resemble nothing so much as a pair (more…)
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