Is it possible to have too much Jane Austen? Apparently, the good citizens of Winchester, England, think it is. Last fall, Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen is buried, launched a curiously muted campaign to raise £250,000 (about $328,000) to erect an outdoor statue of her designed by a prominent sculptor. What followed was a storm of public criticism -- much of it aired in the local newspaper's letters column -- from people who disliked the look of the proposed statue,
Among Janeites, the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice is . . . controversial.
Purists, especially those old enough to have seen an earlier adaptation of P&P in their youth, dislike its Brontesque romanticism and its exaggeration of the Bennet family’s comparative poverty: pigs in the backyard, Matthew Macfadyen’s Darcy striding across the dawn fields half-dressed to tell Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth that she has bewitched him body and soul – that kind of thing.
Production of the new television adaptation of Sanditon, the novel Jane Austen left unfinished at her death, is moving along even more quickly than I realized when I wrote about it earlier this month: PBS, which will air the eight-part mini-series on Masterpiece, reported recently that filming has begun and – squee! – provided details of casting. Many of the names are unfamiliar to me, but Anne Reid, who will play the grasping and imperious Lady Denham, is a wonderful actress
It’s always enjoyable when the mass media provide opportunities for us Janeites to snark about everyone else’s Austen ignorance. Today’s exhibit: The February 12 episode of NBC’s Today show, during which co-host Savannah Guthrie and two guests picked their favorite literary love stories. First category: Historical romance. First guest pick: The Remains of the Day, Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 masterpiece, set in 1930s Britain. Second guest pick: Destiny’s Embrace, Bever
Valentine’s Day, the celebration of lovers, dates back to the Middle Ages. Yet Jane Austen – often described as the mother of the romance novel, albeit by people who haven’t read her very carefully -- never mentions today’s most romantic of all holidays. Or does she? At least as far back as R.W. Chapman, the legendary editor who brought out the first scholarly editions of Austen’s work in the 1920s and -30s, Janeites have scoured Austen’s novels for hints to the dates on whic
Jane Austen is popular, but is she pop? This pressing question presented itself irresistibly when, just in time for Valentine’s Day, I happened across a gift-recommendation listicle on the women’s-magazine-ish site SheKnows.com. The piece -- “15 Galentine’s Day Gifts for Your Pop Culture-Loving Crew” – offers a corrective to the relationship-focused view of the holiday, suggesting that you spend February 14 appreciating family and platonic friends, instead of significant othe
Jane Austen wrote only seventy pages of Sanditon before her final illness left her unable to work. In the intervening two centuries, her promising start has inspired plenty of fanfic (six years ago, I reviewed a dozen examples) but no screen versions.
Last year, however, exciting news broke about a planned Sanditon television adaptation by revered screenwriter Andrew Davies, of Mr.-Darcy-in-a-wet-shirt fame. We Sanditon fans have been burned before – it’s been nearly a year
It’s not every day that Jane Austen turns up in a teen sex comedy. So imagine my pleased surprise last week as I was watching the final episode of the new Netflix series Sex Education. For the uninitiated: Sex Education chronicles the sexual, romantic and parent-related problems of teenagers attending a British high school that resembles nothing so much as an American high school, à la John Hughes. It is funny, clever, and touching, as well as a bit raunchy. (Let's just say t