I really should cease being surprised by how indiscriminately purveyors of goods and services slap the name “Jane Austen” onto items with virtually no link to her life or work. And yet, I still shook my head last month when I learned of the Austen Coat, now available from the British clothing company Boden. The coat, which retails for £220 (about $276), comes in fetching shades of navy and red, with two interchangeable faux-fur collars, one in navy and one in leopard print. T
Jane Austen’s work is, of course, a priceless gift to world culture. But she also pays some more quantifiable dividends, as the latest auction news makes clear. Last week, a September 1813 letter from Austen to her sister, Cassandra ((#88 in Deirdre Le Faye’s standard edition of Austen’s correspondence) sold at auction for more than $200,000 -- far above the predicted sale price of $80,000 to $120,000 -- and apparently set an auction record for an Austen letter. No word yet o
Forty-eighth in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters.
When Jane Austen sat down to write a letter to her sister, Cassandra, exactly 211 years ago today, her family was in the midst of transitions both tragic and auspicious.
Two weeks earlier, thirty-five-year-old Elizabeth Austen, the wife of the third-oldest Austen son, Edward, had died suddenly, twelve days after giving birth to her eleventh child. And soon after her death, Edward had offered his si
Once again, it’s time to cue a chorus of “If I Were A Rich Janeite”: another Austen artifact is on the market, set to be auctioned on Wednesday in New York. This time, it’s a September 1813 letter (#88 in Deirdre Le Faye’s standard edition of Austen’s correspondence) that Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra at Chawton while visiting their brother Henry in London. In the letter, Austen reports on her nieces’ hair-raising visit to the dentist -- Regency dental care: another reas
Last month, as blog readers will recall, we jointly pondered a Jane Austen Christmas mystery: why a made-for-TV movie named Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen – allegedly based on Austen’s novel of the same title, minus the snowmen – had vanished from the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas schedule.
But thank goodness! In keeping with the spirit of the season, joy can now spread across the land! The movie will air after all, albeit as part of Hallmark’s Miracles of Christma
We Janeites may love Austen’s heroes and heroines, but it’s her secondary characters who make us laugh out loud. Fanny Dashwood’s selfishness, Mr. Collins’ sycophancy, Isabella Thorpe’s insincerity, and [insert your favorite here] never fail to divert us. So it’s encouraging to hear that the gifted character actress Bebe Neuwirth, whom some of us remember fondly as the toxic ex-wife in Frasier, has a part in the upcoming movie Modern Persuasion, which recently completed filmi
In David Lodge’s classic 1975 academic novel Changing Places, the English-professor characters discuss a game of intellectual chicken called Humiliation. The rules are simple: Name a book you’ve never read, and earn a point for every person in the group who has. The more glaringly unusual the gap in your reading, the higher your likely score – but the greater your helping of the titular state of mortification.* Judging from a recent poll conducted by the British TV channel Sk
I recognize that not everyone craves another Jane Austen-themed screen drama. Some may have balked at the all! sex! all! the! time! hype surrounding Sanditon, the British TV series based on the novel Austen left unfinished at her death, which wraps up its eight-part UK run on Sunday night. Others may have reached saturation point earlier, with last year’s onslaught of terrible Austen-influenced Hallmark movies, or with the 2016 release of the appallingly bad Pride and Prejudi
It’s that time again, Janeites: The Jane Austen Society of North America is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) over the next four days. This year’s gala – theme: “200 Years of Northanger Abbey: ‘Real, Solemn History’ ” – is taking place in the period-appropriate setting of Williamsburg, Virginia. At this point, I’ve been to a lot of AGMs – if memory serves, this one will be my eleventh. But even when the offerings in the shopping emporium seem over-familiar, I always en