They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. So perhaps the definition of Janeite insanity is repeatedly watching Austen-inspired Hallmark Channel movies and expecting them to be any good.
This rumination was occasioned by my Saturday night viewing of Christmas at Pemberley Manor, which kicked off Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas,” a dizzying series of holiday-themed entertainments scheduled to tak
Can I get half credit?
As blog readers will recall, last week I predicted (correctly, as it turned out) that Pride and Prejudice, despite making it into the top ten finalists in PBS’s Great American Read competition, would not win.
On the other hand, I picked Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to sweep a field dominated by twentieth-century historical and fantasy epics, and by books most readers encounter in childhood. I was wrong: as PBS revealed on Tuesday night, Harper Lee’
In September 1813, Jane Austen wrote to her sister, Cassandra, from their brother Edward’s library at Godmersham Park in Kent. As regular blog readers will recall from last month’s post, Austen seemed to be enjoying her momentary peace and quiet: “I am now alone in the Library, Mistress of all I survey,” she told Cassandra. The Godmersham library, both the room and the book collection, were grand enough to suit a prosperous landowner like Edward Austen Knight: At a time when
When midnight strikes on the west coast tonight, something momentous will take place: Voting will close in PBS’s Great American Read competition. OK, it’s not really that momentous. In fact, if you ask me, the GAR has been pretty silly all along – from the “statistically representative survey” used to draw up the pool of one hundred nominees (how did they account for the roughly one-quarter of Americans who don’t read books?) to the vote-every-day-if-you-feel-like-it policy,
The transformation of Chawton House from purely academic destination into full-service Janeite tourist draw continues: The stately home where Jane Austen’s brother once lived, and which now houses a library of early English writing by women, is bidding farewell to its English-professor executive director and looking for a new CEO. Chawton’s board hopes to find someone with “a strong track record in commercial delivery and fundraising” and “experience in positive stakeholder m
Thirty-eighth in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters. Some writers fill their letters with detailed responses to the works they read, providing a fascinating record of their literary tastes and influences. Alas, Jane Austen was not such a writer. Her surviving letters offer only occasional tidbits about the books she has read, allowing us to deduce her love of, say, Richardson, Crabbe, and the anti-slavery activist Thomas Clarkson, but offering few det
Jane Austen’s books – usually Pride and Prejudice, sometimes Emma, occasionally one of the others -- perennially land on those ubiquitous, completely meaningless “best novel” lists (for instance, see here, here, here, and here). Currently, P&P is duking it out with the dubious likes of Fifty Shades of Grey and The Da Vinci Code for the top spot in PBS’s Great American Read series. A bit of a shock, then, to see Austen’s entry in the PBS sweepstakes coming in at #5 on someone’
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Jane Austen’s novels are filled with marital mismatches. Clever, sardonic Mr. Bennet treats Mrs. Bennet with thinly veiled disrespect. In Sense and Sensibility, Mr. Palmer has discovered “like many others of his sex, that through some unaccountable bias in favor of beauty, he was the husband of a very silly woman.” The long-dead mothers of Anne Elliot and Henry Tilney seem to have suffered in their marriages to selfish, difficult men. As we close each novel, we trust that our