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Jane Austen News - Issue 140

What's the Jane Austen News this week? 


Forget Books Before You Die, Try Books Before You Wed

There are plenty of lists which lay out which books you need to read before you die, but one the Jane Austen News hasn't come across before is a list of books to read before your wedding day. However, that's exactly what we've come across this week, and we were very pleased to see that Pride and Prejudice made the list of five must-read books.

The majority of the list was non-fiction books, covering a range of subjects, but Pride and Prejudice was included on the list as it "will help you understand the difference between what’s material and essential in every relationship." The full list was: Mindful Relationship Habits by S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport - this book describes how to stay connected to your spouse even after being together for a long time. The Kamasutra by Vatsyayana - tips on how to keep your sexual life varied Every Woman by Derek Llewellyn-Jones - this book talks about female health issues like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. It’s Not You, It’s The Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson - a book highlighting the importance of communication and role-playing. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen - a must for so many reasons!

The Favourite A New Favourite? Fans of period dramas might like to know about a new film being released in a few weeks time. It's called The Favourite and it depicts the behind-the-scenes politics between two cousins jockeying to be court favourites during the reign of Queen Anne in the early 18th century. It has some big name stars featuring in the film, including Olivia Colman who plays Queen Anne, Emma Stone plays Abigail Masham, Rachel Weisz who plays Sarah Churchill, and Mark Gatiss who plays her husband, John Churchill. Filming took place in Hertfordshire last year between March and May and we can't wait to see it! Although, we'll have to wait a bit longer than those period drama fans in the US, as the film is released on November 23rd in the US, and not until January 1st in the UK. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqYlnvghV-U[/embed]  
Jane Austen in Italy A few days ago, on October 20th, dozens of Jane Austen enthusiasts descended on an Italian hotel to celebrate her life and work. The Janeites gathered in period dress at the Hotel de la Ville in Monza, near Milan for the two-day event. "A Weekend With Jane Austen", as the event was called, was organised with the support of the Jane Austen Society of Italy (JASIT), the Italian cultural association that intends to promote in Italy the knowledge and the study of Jane Austen.     It looks like it was an amazing event!
The Genius of Mansfield Park Writing for The Federalist this week, Nathaneal Blake explained why he feels that Mansfield Park is Jane's best novel, and he had some excellent points which the Jane Austen News feels are well worth sharing. Nathaneal began by saying that "modern readers aren’t quite as interested in a tale where virtue is rewarded and vice punished, but it's her best regardless". Some of our other favourite points were:
  • "Mansfield Park is almost an anti-romance novel, as it is full of couples who should not be wooing, let alone marrying, each other."
  • "Many readers find the timid Fanny Price difficult to relate to. Her secluded life as the poor cousin living with her wealthy relatives also gives her less scope to develop and shine than the lively and charming Elizabeth Bennet."
  • "She [Fanny] is intelligent, kind, principled ... But her intellect is hidden by her shyness, her kindness is taken for granted, her principles are misunderstood, and her beauty is often overshadowed by others’."
  • When Fanny rejected Henry Crawford she displayed her strength of character in a realistic and important way. "Standing one’s ground is an action, but it is harder to dramatize than the alternatives."
If you'd like to read Nathaneal's full article in praise of this underrated novel you can find it here.

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