This week we came across a wonderful new video on the TED-Ed website. TED-Ed are original lessons published on the TED website, only instead of an on-stage talk given by a speaker, the Ted-Ed videos feature the words and ideas of educators, that are then brought to life by professional animators. This video below is given by Iseult Gillespie, who explores the sly societal satire and unique tongue-in-cheek humor of Jane Austen. At the Jane Austen News we thought the video utter charming. https://www.ted.com/talks/iseult_gillespie_the_wicked_wit_of_jane_austen?language=enWriting for History Extra magazine, Derek Wilson choose to explore some of the worst years in English history this week, and Austen fans may be surprised to read that one of the five worst years which Wilson chose was 1812 - the same year which saw Jane Austen putting the finishing touches to her manuscript of Pride and Prejudice. Considering how many Austen fans wish that they could have been around during her era, and how much fun many of us get from recreating Regency balls and attending Regency events, it might seem baffling that 1812 was chosen as a "worst year". Especially given that 1812 was among the likes of the year 1349, when the Black Death was rampant throughout the land, or 1937, which saw fear and extremism reigning ahead of the second World War. The reasons which Wilson put forward for 1812 being such a bad year were that;
- The Midlands and much of the North were in revolt thanks to new machines seemingly taking jobs. “Sheer insurrectionary fury has rarely been more widespread in English history,” wrote EP Thompson The Making of the English Working Class.
- In the previous year George III had finally succumbed to illness and his indolent and unpopular son was vested permanently with full regency powers in February 1812.
- The country was at war against Napoleon and his forces.
- On 11 May the prime minister, Spencer Perceval, was shot dead in the lobby of the House of Commons.
- On 19 June, the United States of America declared war on Britain.
Focus Features has announced Love Actually icon Bill Nighy and Call the Midwife actress Miranda Hart have joined the ensemble of a new film based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel, Emma. They will play Mr. Woodhouse and Miss Bates to Anya Taylor-Joy's depiction of Emma Woodhouse and Johnny Flynn's George Knightley. Rounding out the romantic comedy's cast will be Mia Goth as Harriet Smith, Josh O'Connor as Mr. Elton, Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston, Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston, Amber Anderson as Jane Fairfax, and Tanya Reynolds as Mrs. Elton. Autumn de Wilde is the film's director, working from a script by Man Booker Prize-winning Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton of The Luminaries. Filming is now underway, with Emma expected to be released in 2020.
The Best Austen Hero Award Goes To... This week we came across a list which we've often had debates about at the Jane Austen Centre - who is the best hero of the Austen heroes? Kathleen Keenan, writing for BookRiot.com, has published her own list of the worst and best Austen heroes, and we thought it was very well thought out. Her rules were that to count as a "hero" or love interest, the male character in question must begin one of the novels as a single men, and end the novel either married or engaged. However, Kathleen's main criterion was is “this man someone you would actually want to be with in real life?” Although his estate and annual income did also play a part in the rankings after this consideration was taken into account. And in reverse order (worst to best) the Austen heroes hierarchy ran thus: Mr Wickham Willoughby Robert Ferrars Mr Elton Mr Collins Edmund Bertram Captain Benwick Henry Crawford Frank Churchill Edward Ferrars Robert Martin Mr Bingley Colonel Brandon Mr Knightley Mr Darcy Captain Wentworth And the number one best hero title was awarded to.... Henry Tilney Keenan's reasons for putting Mr Tilney top were that:
Mr. Tilney is the Austen hero who feels most real. Therefore, he wins the prize of “the one you’d actually want to be with in real life.” He’s sarcastic and funny, which makes him quite entertaining in a ballroom, but he’s able to turn on the polite social skills or be serious when necessary. He seems like a great judge of character, but he also enjoys poking fun at people. He likes to read, he’s handsome, he’s smart… Plus, he doesn’t rush into love, and takes his time to get to know Catherine. On a modern and not a Regency-era courtship timeline, that definitely works in his favor.
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