Emma Starring Emma A new Audible Original dramatisation of one of Jane Austen's novels is due out in September. In 2017 Audible released a dramatised production of Jane's Northanger Abbey featuring, among others, Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood and scriptwriter of the 1995 Sense and Sensibility film adaptation) and Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza in the BBC's Poldark series) as two of the narrators. To follow on from this hugely popular release, Audible have once more enlisted Emma Thompson to be the narrator of their new Austen adaptation - that of Emma. Other cast members include Joanne Froggatt (Anna in Downton Abbey), Morgana Robinson (Pippa Middleton in The Windsors), and Aisling Loftus (Sonya Rostova in War & Peace). The new Audible production of Emma is due for release on September 4th, and at the Jane Austen News the date is firmly marked on our calendar!
Jane Austen's Ring and Charles Dickens's Table Jane Austen fans will probably be well able to recall the controversy which arose in 2012 when singer Kelly Clarkson bought Jane Austen's iconic gold and turquoise ring - a ring which is one of only three surviving pieces of Austen’s jewellery. The ring was cited as being a "national treasure" and so a temporary export ban was placed on the ring until enough funds could be raised in order to buy the ring and keep it in the UK. The UK government doesn't often place export bans on items, but recently it has done so again, this time on a study table formerly owned by Charles Dickens. The table is a William IV mahogany piece valued at £67,600. It was used by the author in his library at Gad’s Hill Place in Higham, where he died in 1870. Less than a year after buying it themselves, the table's private owner put the item up for sale, but failed to find any serious British interest. It was then bought at a sale at Christie's in London for £65,000 ($87,000), and was due to leave the country. It has been barred for export until October 26th, giving UK institutions a chance to raise £67,600 - the amount needed to keep the table in the country. Michael Ellis, minister for arts, heritage and tourism explained the reason for the ban:
As one of Britain’s most famous novelists, it is only right for there to be great expectations on us to protect Dickens’s study table for the benefit of the nation. This substantial piece of furniture was a central feature in whatever household he lived in through most of his adult life. It is another significant item related to one of Britain’s cultural icons.
Good Reads and Rereads If you're a devotee of the site Goodreads, then you probably already know that you can save books into different categories, or "shelves", "to-read" and "currently reading" for example. "To-reread" is one such shelf which you can file books onto, and as we were browsing the list of books which are most commonly shelved under to-reread we were shocked to find that Pride and Prejudice only appeared at number nine on the list! That is, if all except the first Harry Potter book are counted as one. If not then Pride and Prejudice only makes it to number fourteen! 1- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 2- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 3- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling 4- 1984 by George Orwell 5- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 6- Harry Potter books 7/6/5/4/3/2 - J.K. Rowling 7- The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien 8- Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury 9- Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 10- Brave New World - Aldous Huxley As the book which comes out at the top of the nation's most popular book lists on a regular basis, and one which we know is read on a yearly basis by many Jane Austen fans, we found it extraordinary that Pride and Prejudice wasn't higher up the list. However, we have two theories. One is that those who regularly re-read and love Jane Austen are not so prevalent on Goodreads. Or perhaps it is simply that Pride and Prejudice is not a book which readers feel the need to remind themselves to read by filing it in a to-reread list - it's a natural instinct!
This Week's Recommended Read This week the Jane Austen News came across an excellent article on JSTOR Daily, which was exploring the topic of circulating libraries in Regency England. The article was based on a scholarly paper written by Lee Erikson in 1990. Happily, given that Erikson was analysing a historic subject, his analysis and insights still hold true to this day.
The libraries, which were found in fashionable watering holes like Jane Austen’s fabled Bath, began as offshoots of bookselling. They became social gathering places that people subscribed to as soon as they got to their vacation destination. They weren’t just for books, either—they held raffles and social events, and the subscription record books were a good place to figure out who was in town. Since anyone with enough money for a subscription could use a circulating library, it became a way for women to gain knowledge without asking a man for permission to use his library or borrow his books.The article summarising Erikson's paper can be found here, while the paper itself - should you wish to read the source material in its entirety instead (or as well as) can be found here.
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