As we sit down to our turkey tonight, perhaps in company with relatives or acquaintances whom we carefully avoid the rest of the year, let us turn our thoughts to a similar ordeal faced by the Dashwood sisters. Invited for dinner at the London home of their selfish, neglectful half-brother John and his equally grasping wife, Elinor and Marianne endure a dinner party that may remind one or two of us of Thanksgivings past: “The dinner was a grand one, the servants were numerous
The new year is shaping up as a happy one for Janeites, at least American ones, since it will usher in two new Austen adaptations – the controversial British mini-series based on Sanditon, the novel Austen left unfinished at her death; and a new feature film of Emma, with a screenplay by Booker Prize-winning novelist Eleanor Catton. The past two weeks have brought smidgens of news about both projects: * By now, any Janeite with an internet connection has probably heard all ab
Disaster averted! Collision avoided! Christmas catastrophe curtailed! Last month, as blog readers will recall, it appeared that the Hallmark Channel’s latest Jane Austen-themed Christmas movie – Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen – had been scheduled in a pre-holiday time slot that overlapped with that of a different saccharine Christmas confection. How was this possible? What could be done? Reader, they changed it. Instead of airing at 9 pm on Friday, November 29, a mere hour afte
Forty-ninth in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters.
For devotees of the Tom-Lefroy-was-the-love-of-Jane-Austen’s-life-and-the-inspiration-for-all-her-best-material school of thought – and blog readers will recall that I am not a member of this gushy clan -- the letter that Jane Austen finished writing exactly 221 years ago today is a crucial piece of evidence.
Almost three years earlier, Lefroy had spent a few weeks in the neighborhood, visiting his
Why do people keep trying to mess with Clueless? Amy Heckerling’s 1995 movie, which updated the story of Emma to high school in Beverly Hills, is about as perfect a Jane Austen adaptation as there is – witty, clever, and true to the spirit of the original. The most appropriate response to perfection ought to be . . . admiration. Respect. Keeping your hands off. But first came talk of a Clueless remake. (The horror!) Then came the Heckerling-created off-Broadway Clueless jukeb
By now, Jane Austen has made so many top-novel lists that it’s hard to come up with anything new to say when she makes yet another one. (Indeed, you’ll note from the links that half the time I can’t even come up with an original headline.) But it’s always entertaining when Our Jane strays into unexpected company, as she does on the BBC’s latest Book List Designed To Court Controversy And Thus Pump Up Viewership. Oh, sorry – I meant the BBC’s list of “100 Novels That Shaped Ou
Music plays intermittent cameo roles in Jane Austen’s novels: think of Mary Bennet delighting us long enough in Pride and Prejudice, or Anne Elliot wearily cranking out dance tunes for the oblivious Musgrove girls in Persuasion. Music is even more important in making the many screen adaptations of Austen’s work memorable and distinctive, from the jangly ‘90s pop of Clueless to the yearning innocence of Marianne Dashwood singing her way into Colonel Brandon’s heart in the 1995
By now, we’ve gotten used to seeing Jane Austen in rather. . . um . . . interesting company. She’s been paired with zombies and sea monsters, mentioned in the same breath as pulpy romance writers, and been transformed into a shill for scented candles and knitting patterns. Still, the past month or so has turned up a couple of Austen pairings calculated to give even the most jaded among us a frisson of startlement: * Jane of Arc: Inspired by the example of sixteen-year-old Gre