Jane Austen News - Issue 153
A Surprise Newcomer Beats Pride and Prejudice
To mark Valentine’s Day, Goodreads have announced their top romance novels of all time, based on the ratings of their 80 million members.But it wasn’t one of the well-known and much loved romantic tales that came out as number one. Even though Pride and Prejudice regularly tops lists of the best books of all time! The book which took first place as the top romantic novel of all time in this latest poll is Coleen Hoover’s It End With Us, which is a relative newcomer given its release in 2016. The New York Times bestseller It Ends With Us is all about successful business owner Lily, who meets a neurosurgeon called Ryle. And although the pair are clearly attracted to one another, she’s left flummoxed by his aversion to relationships. Later, thoughts of an old love only confuse Lily more. It does sound like a good read, but we were amazed to find that Pride and Prejudice only reached number four on the list! Second was Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and in third place was Jojo Moyes bestseller, Me Before You. Having said that, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre fared far worse, only making it to number 13 on the list... Well, Pride and Prejudice will always be the winner in the eyes of the Jane Austen News!
We are delighted to have such a multicultural group of speakers and texts this year, especially presentations by authors Soniah Kamal and Uzma Jalaluddin, as we celebrate and analyze the rich reverberations of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in contemporary culture.Attendees will be able to partake in an English tea, to dance at a Regency-style ball, to attend Austen-inspired theatricals, and to visit special exhibits and workshops tailored to the conference.
Inger Brodey, Program Director
Jane Austen And The Cheltonians If you live near to Cheltenham, this may well be of interest. As part of the Anthology Extended Literary Weekend at the historic Parmoor House in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, a new play called Jane Austen and the Cheltonians will be performed on Sunday 24th March. It's May 1816 and Jane Austen and her literary muse Emma Knightly (née Woodhouse) find themselves in Cheltenham for the 100th anniversary of Cheltenham Spa. Left to fill her days, the temptation to indulge in matchmaking again proves too great for Emma with the arrival of Eloisa Fairweather, the widow of a wealthy ship owner from Bristol, and a young army officer, who claims to be a war hero from the Battle of Waterloo. Delicious complications follow as love letters go astray and Emma finds herself the attention of the young army officer. The novel The Cheltonians, provides a witty commentary on marriage, morals and love. The premise is that The Cheltonians was an unfinished novel which remained unpublished in Jane Austen's lifetime as she passed away in 1817, and the work in progress was believed to have been burnt immediately following her death by her sister Cassandra . In this new work by playwright Caroline Summerfield the "lost manuscript" now receives its world premiere in a dramatised reading. Tickets can be purchased from The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop in person or by phone on 01242 361362.
This Week's Recommended Read We know that there are dozens of retellings of Pride and Prejudice out there, but this one is rather more political than most. It's called Pride and Prejudice and Passports and is set just two years ago during the tumultuous 2016 presidential election. In Pride and Prejudice and Passports, three Latina sisters navigate life and love in Southern California. * The synopsis: Elisa Benitez is happy to help her undocumented immigrant family clean cabins for the summer, but when her older sister falls hard for one of their rich guests, Elisa expects heartbreak. Her sister is a dreamer, and an undocumented immigrant to boot, while he's an elected state representative in the Republican party. Even worse than her sister's beau, is his infuriating friend Darcy! He's arrogant, rude, and based on a comment Elisa overheard, probably racist. He's one of those guys who get by on money and looks, and she wouldn't mind poking a hole in his self-image. Darcy certainly didn't intend to fall for a beautiful, well-spoken Latina on his short vacation to the mountains. Elisa would sooner turn off his hot-water heater than agree with him about anything. Why is debating with her more fun than agreeing with anyone else? But when Elisa's little sister runs away, and her parents are scared to go to the police, Darcy realizes just how serious she was. And how serious his own feelings have become. *
Rather than embarrassing relatives, elopements, or, in the case of one notable retelling, zombies - this modernisation asks whether Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet can overcome the obstacles thrown in their way by modern politics. The book touches on immigration, trafficking, racism, and polarisation as the classic Darcy/Elizabeth story is woven into the real-life events of 2016; from a Trump rally in San Diego (that ended in a riot) to the unexpected smash-hit of Pokémon Go.
While set two years ago, the topics and book are still relevant to this day.
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