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Jane Austen News – Issue 140

The Jane Austen News has a wedding reading list this week

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Forget Books Before You Die, Try Books Before You Wed

There are plenty of lists which lay out which books you need to read before you die, but one the Jane Austen News hasn’t come across before is a list of books to read before your wedding day. However, that’s exactly what we’ve come across this week, and we were very pleased to see that Pride and Prejudice made the list of five must-read books.

The majority of the list was non-fiction books, covering a range of subjects, but Pride and Prejudice was included on the list as it “will help you understand the difference between what’s material and essential in every relationship.”

The full list was:

Mindful Relationship Habits by S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport – this book describes how to stay connected to your spouse even after being together for a long time.

The Kamasutra by Vatsyayana – tips on how to keep your sexual life varied

Every Woman by Derek Llewellyn-Jones – this book talks about female health issues like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

It’s Not You, It’s The Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson – a book highlighting the importance of communication and role-playing.

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen – a must for so many reasons!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 53

The Jane Austen News is Dan and Lisa's Wedding

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Pride and Prejudice Comes to Bath 

photo09This week in Bath we had the cast of Regent’s Park Theatre’s touring production of Pride and Prejudice on stage at the Theatre Royal, and we were lucky enough to be able to ask Ben Dilloway who plays Mr Darcy a few questions about performing in the city.

 

JAC: What has been the highlight of embarking on this tour during the 200th Anniversary year so far?

Ben: Bath has to be a highlight. The words of the play flow so easily in such a place and it feels great to have the Jane Austen Centre just around the corner, especially on such an important anniversary year.

JAC: Have you had to fight off many Mr Darcy fans?

Ben: Not as yet! Luckily the Austen crowds are utterly distinguished and keep all extremities of emotion firmly under their bonnets.

JAC:  How does it feel to be performing in Bath, considering its connection to Jane Austen? Has the cast felt a greater sense of connection with her while staying here?

Ben: I would say so, with such a city, steeped in history, its almost second nature to speak these words and adhere to the otherwise seemingly dated social norms.

JAC: How does adapting Pride and Prejudice for the stage add to the story and its themes?

Ben: It’s a real challenge to fit such a huge amount of information from the book into a mere two hours and thirty minutes. It’s certainly added to the energy of everyone’s desires.

JAC: Why do you feel Jane’s work is still important and relevant today?

Ben: If anything it is more modern than old. It talks of timeless things such as love, and debunks the trivial social expectations of the time. 

JAC: Well said. Thanks Ben!

 


New Jane Austen Statue Planned 

_93667520_mediaitem93667519A maquette (a wax or clay model from which a work is elaborated) for a new statue of Jane Austen has been unveiled. The maquette is about two thirds the size of the £100,000 life-sized bronze sculpture which is to be placed in Basingstoke town centre in July to mark the bicentenary of the author’s death.

the team We’re looking forward to seeing the final work and having a look at what similarities the statue has with our own Jane Austen – a waxwork completed by an FBI-trained forensic artist and her award-winning, internationally renowned team in 2014.

The maquette has been made by sculptor Adam Roud who said that he wanted his vision of Jane to have “poise and dynamism”.

She is walking in the square and someone has just said ‘good morning Jane’. She was a real person with her own character and hopefully I can get across she was a headstrong woman of her time, but is relevant to us today because of her novels.


Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 53

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The Regency Wedding Breakfast

During the Regency, weddings were often held first thing in the morning with the bridal couple and their guests returning home to celebrate with a wedding breakfast, a precursor to the modern wedding reception, before departing to their new home, or perhaps on their honeymoon. A noisy family breakfast… Jane Austen’s niece Caroline (daughter of James) gave a wonderful description of her sister Anna’s wedding to family friend Benjamin Lefroy on November 8, 1814: “My sister’s wedding was certainly in the extreme of quietness… The season of the year, the unfrequented road to the church, the grey light within… no stove to give warmth, no flowers to give colour and brightness, no friends, high or low, to offer their good wishes, and so to claim some interest in the great event of the day – all these circumstances and deficiencies must, I think, have given a gloomy air to the wedding…Weddings were then usually very quiet. The old fashion of festivity and publicity had quite gone by, and was universally condemned as showing the bad taste of all former generations…. This was the order of the day. The bridegroom came from Ashe, where he had hitherto lived with his brother (the Rector), and with him came Mr. and Mrs. Lefroy, and his other brother, Mr. Edward Lefroy…. My brother came from Winchester that morning, but was to stay only a few hours. We in the house had a slight early breakfast upstairs, and between nine and ten the bride, my (more…)
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Sealing Your Letters Like a Georgian

Everyone knows the feeling of importance that comes from receiving a hand written letter– especially when decoratively sealed with a specially chosen seal and wax. In Jane Austen’s time, the wax was even sometimes used to hide a coin to pay the postman (thereby costing the recipient nothing; postage was originally paid by the receiver). Traditionally, sealing wax was used to not only seal the letter against tampering, but also to identify the sender, as people maintained personal and family seals for the purpose. The idea of using a personal seal for identification dates from the earliest civilizations and survives today in the form of rubber stamps and embossers. Still, there is nothing quite like a wax seal for adding a bit of Regency elegance to your notes and letters. A pile of sealed letters. Painting Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts (1665). The Jane Austen Centre giftshop sells personalized sets of seals and sealing wax in the traditional style, a stick of red wax with a wick. When lit, the flame melts the wax, which is then dripped onto the portion of the letter to receive the seal, before stamping in the pattern with a small metal seal. The whole process is, to a novice, a bit tricky and the results are not always quite as perfect as one would hope. The Jane Austen Centre’s seal and wax set is available in the giftshop. I recently received a wedding invitation with just such a seal attached. Considering the tediousness of this exercise (more…)
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Mrs. Weston’s Wedding Cake

In Jane Austen’s day, weddings were often held first thing in the morning, after which the bridal couple and their guests returned home to celebrate with a wedding breakfast like that served to Anna Austen and Benjamin Lefroy in 1814: “The breakfast was such as best breakfasts then were. Some variety of bread, hot rolls, buttered toast, tongue, ham and eggs. The addition of chocolate at one end of the table and the wedding-cake in the middle marked the speciality of the day.” Though rich fruit and nut cakes had been used for centuries, in 1786 Elizabeth Raffald was the first to publish a recipe for a cake specifically for weddings. The cake was served not only at the wedding breakfast, but also shared with the household servants and sent in pieces to friends and relatives who had not attended the ceremony. These wedding cakes were single tiered, double frosted confections, though by no means small. Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding cake measured 9 feet around and weighed 300 pounds, although it was only 14 inches high. A period depiction of Queen Victoria’s wedding cake. This recipe makes an enormous cake. I have quartered the ingredients and it fit nicely into my 12 ½cm/ 5in deep, 25cm /10in springform pan. To Make a Bride Cake Take four pounds of fine flour well dried, four pounds of fresh butter, two pounds of loaf sugar, pound and sift fine a quarter of an ounce of mace the same of nutmegs, to every pound (more…)
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Host a Regency Tea Party

Regency TeaHosting a Regency Tea Party Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating the ritual of afternoon tea sometime in the early to mid 1800’s as a remedy against the “sinking feeling” she felt between luncheon and the late hour of Court dinners. The practice soon caught on among her friends in the upper class circles and the rest is history. Taking tea during Jane Austen’s day was nothing like what the term implied a few decades later with the advent of Afternoon Tea. During the Regency, Tea was produced about an hour after dinner, signaling the end of the port and cigars in the dining room and gossip and embroidery in the drawing room. The lady of the house, or her daughters, if she wished to show them off to advantage, would make and pour the tea and coffee, seeing to it that all guests were served. After tea, the family and any guests might remain in the drawing room to read aloud, sew or play games together until supper (if served) or bedtime. Sir John never came to the Dashwood’s without either inviting them to dine at the Park the next day, or to drink tea with them that evening. Sense and Sensibility If dinner had been late, supper might be replaced by light refreshments served with the tea, such as toast, muffins, or cake. Tea or wine and refreshment of some sort or other would be offered to visitors who stopped by throughout the day. During (more…)
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Weddings During the Regency Era

regency era weddingWeddings During the Regency Era The bride was elegantly dressed; the two bridesmaids were duly inferior; her father gave her away; her mother stood with salts in her hand, expecting to be agitated; her aunt tried to cry; and the service was impressively read by Dr Grant. Mansfield Park Say the word “wedding” and most of us think about a bride dressed all in white, half a dozen brides maids (or more), a big bash with loads of guests and a huge cake. But what kind of weddings where common during the Regency era and Jane Austen’s lifetime? Did the bride wear white? A Family Affair Royal weddings tend to be big and there was no exception when Princess Charlotte married Prince Leopold in 1816. As we have been gratified with a sight of the wedding dresses of this amiable and illustrious female, a particular yet concise account of them cannot but be acceptable to our fair readers. The Royal Bride, happy in obtaining him whom her heart had selected, and whom consenting friends approved, wore on her countenance that tranquil and chastened joy which a female so situated could not fail to experience. Her fine fair hair, elegantly yet simply arranged, owed more to its natural beautiful wave than to the art of the friseur; it was crowned with a most superb wreath of brilliants, forming rosebuds with their leaves. Her dress was silver lama [lamé] on net, over a silver tissue slip, embroidered at the bottom with silver (more…)
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Wedding Cakes

The compliments of his neighbours were over; he was no longer teased by being wished joy of so sorrowful an event; and the wedding-cake, which had been a great distress to him, was all eat up. His own stomach could bear nothing rich, and he could never believe other people to be different from himself. What was unwholesome to him he regarded as unfit for any body; and he had, therefore, earnestly tried to dissuade them from having any wedding-cake at all, and when that proved vain, as earnestly tried to prevent any body’s eating it. Emma In her Life of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, references a letter from 1812 that tells how Maria Branwell and her cousin “intended to set about making the wedding-cake in the following week, so the marriage could not be far off.” In Emma, Mr. Woodhouse is appalled by the consumption of such rich food…and in his own house! But what would a Regency Wedding cake have looked like? How was the tradition of a wedding cake even started? The wedding cake has been part of the marriage ceremony ever since medieval times. Originally they were made of wheat which was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. As a relic of once performed fertility rites, this ‘wedding cake’ would have been thrown at the bride. Around 1900 years ago the Romans began baking wheat and salt into a small cake to be eaten. During the ceremony the groom would eat part of a loaf of (more…)
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