New this week: The latest entry in the annals of Jane Austen Bizarro World (or, to be honest, Jane Austen-Adjacent Bizarro World). Three years ago, it seems, a high-powered literary couple – prominent Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, provost of Oxford University’s Worcester College; and his wife, Paula Byrne, author of the well-regarded 2013 biography The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things – received the first of an eventual seventeen very nasty anonymous letters. The
The delightful Jane Austen Quilt project culminated earlier this month with the unveiling at Jane Austen’s House Museum of two beautiful quilts made from blocks contributed by Janeites across the globe. As blog readers will recall, the museum – aka Chawton Cottage, the house where Austen wrote or revised all six of her completed novels – launched the quilt project last year to mark the bicentenary of Austen’s death. The design was inspired by one of the treasures of the museu
For generations of teenagers, including me, reading the young-adult novels of S.E. Hinton – classics like The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now – has been a beloved rite of passage. Hinton published her first book in 1967, while still a teenager herself, and her raw honesty about the intense emotions of adolescence has never lost its freshness. Didn’t know she was a Janeite, though, until earlier this week, when the coordinator of my local chapter of the Jane Austen So
Jane Austen, writing instructor. Intimidated much? I wouid be. Although Austen gave kind and useful novel-writing advice to her scribbling niece Anna Austen Lefroy, it’s hard to imagine what she would have made of a classroom full of first-year American college students raised on a diet of five-paragraph essays, text-speak abbreviations, and emoji-studded Snapchats. And, indeed, learning to write from Jane Austen is “challenging,” reports Dartmouth College first-year student
The Watsons -- the novel Jane Austen began, probably in 1804, but never finished -- is a fascinating fragment. It’s bleak and wintry, centering on a once-genteel family facing economic disaster and a heroine, Emma Watson, who struggles with feelings of displacement, loneliness and rejection.
Although The Watsons has inspired its fair share of fanfiction – I reviewed ten Watsons completions in a 2014 blog series – as far as I know, it’s never been adapted for the stage or scr
The definitive screen adaptation of Mansfield Park has yet to be made. We’re still waiting for the first full-length movie of Sanditon, once planned for a 2017 release. And yet we are a mere three months away from the broadcast of a sequel to Unleashing Mr. Darcy, a deeply terrible Austen-themed TV movie from 2016.
Life is filled with unfathomable mysteries.
You remember Unleashing Mr. Darcy. It was a badly written, poorly acted Hallmark movie, based on a mediocre Austen fa
Thirty-first in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters.
Two centuries ago, Jane Austen had spent her day productively.
“Do not be angry with me for beginning another Letter to you,” Austen wrote to her sister, Cassandra, in a letter finished exactly 204 years ago today (#98 in Deirdre Le Faye’s standard edition of Austen’s correspondence). “I have read the Corsair, mended my petticoat, & have nothing else to do.”
To put myself in the correct frame of m
In your average general-interest bookshop, a majority of the titles have probably been authored by men. No surprise there – historically, to quote Anne Elliot, “men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. . . . the pen has been in their hands.” So I took a certain visceral satisfaction in learning that, for the next five days, London readers will be able to browse through the shelves of an all-women-all-the-time pop-up bookstore. The Like A Woman Bookshop,
Do Jane Austen’s characters keep bars of soap handy for washing? This is one of the many details of Regency life that Austen does not discuss. My electronic search found not a single mention of the word “soap” in any of the finished novels.
Presumably, contemporary readers knew what hygiene habits were typical for the gentry class that populates her novels. Modern readers must rely on historical research, such as the account in this helpful blog post, which suggests that, in