Sometimes, the Jane Austen mentions you find on the internet are seriously stupid. Other times, they’re just seriously weird. This month, I happened across two examples of the latter: * Tariffs and Tantrums: China’s state-controlled media has responded with defiance and ridicule to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese products, reported the Associated Press. "Pride makes it impossible for other people to love me, while prejudice makes it impossib
Forty-fourth in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters.
In May of 1817, the gravely ill Jane Austen left her home at Chawton for the last time and traveled to the nearby city of Winchester, where she hoped (vainly, as it turned out) that a new doctor could finally cure the illness that had plagued her for at least a year.
Although Austen survived for another eight weeks, only two letters written from Winchester have come down to us, and one of those onl
To a reader, books are an essential feature of any home. A concept taken rather literally by Dutch artists Jan Is De Man and Deef Feed, whose amazing trompe l’oeil mural has transformed the side a three-level apartment building in the Dutch city of Utrecht into. . . a bookcase. De Man and Feed, who co-own a tattoo and piercing shop in the city, asked people in the neighborhood to nominate favorite books for the painted shelves, with only religious and political choices off-li
Today on “Making Fun of the Internet,” a roundup of the latest Jane Austen-related stupid stuff that has crossed my cyber-transom recently: -- “ ‘We are all fools in love’ wrote Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice.” Such is the inauspicious first sentence of a meditation on love by Pakistani journalist Shah Nawaz Mohal, who goes on to name-drop Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Sartre, Ayn Rand, and the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz while arguing . . . something or other. I have no idea
To read the news these days, you’d think that attics across the world were bursting with the previously unsuspected memorabilia of famous English writers. Earlier this year, we were treated to the news of a newly discovered family album containing photos of Victorian descendants of Jane Austen’s family. And now comes word that a Welsh woman has stumbled across a memorial ring containing a bit of Charlotte Brontë’s hair. Last month, an episode of the British edition of Antique
Most Janeites don’t need to hear, yet again, that Jane Austen was not a kindly maiden aunt whose sweet, insubstantial little romance novels provide a wholesome escape from reality. But it’s still enjoyable to listen as smart people discuss her life and work, and thus it is that I can recommend a recent half-hour episode in the BBC’s “Great Lives” radio series. The segment, which aired last week, features Caroline Criado Perez, the British journalist and activist whose campaig
Among London’s many delights are the blue plaques that mark buildings associated with historical personages both famous and obscure. Spotting these plaques, with their mini-history lessons, enlivens the walk through neighborhoods across the city. Sadly, if unsurprisingly, women are grossly underrepresented on blue plaques, featuring on only 14 percent of the more than 900 placed since the program began 153 years ago. In 2016, English Heritage launched a campaign to encourage
Some weeks, the Austen-related news tidbits that come my way are scattered and disparate, lacking any unifying theme. And then there’s last week: * E.L. James, author of the phenomenally popular and extraordinarily badly written Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, is a Janeite. Or so we learn from her recent interview with the Arizona Republic, undertaken to promote her new novel, the first not to feature the brooding, insanely sexy twenty-something billionaire Christian Grey and h
When I visited the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England, in July 2011, Martin Salter had the day off. At the time, I didn’t know what I was missing. But since then I have learned that a Janeite who visits Bath without meeting Salter is a pathetic loser who should turn in her library card and stay home knitting sweaters for her cats. Salter dresses in a homemade Regency ensemble for his job as the Jane Austen Centre’s official greeter, and after twelve years posing for selfies