Plans are in the works to honour Jane Austen, perhaps Bath’s most famous resident, with a life-size monument. The Jane Austen Centre hopes to erect a bronze statue of the famous author at a location in the city later this year. The statue will be based on the Jane Austen waxwork which was unveiled at the Centre to global media interest in July 2014, and which was created through work undertaken by forensic artist Melissa Dring. The sculptor of the bronze statue will be world-renowned Mark Richards, whose previous work not only includes the Austen waxwork but also Winston Churchill, Prince Philip and The Queen. The exact location of the bronze statue is currently under discussion.As part of the Be Good and Rewatch It podcast (in which Waypoint staff rewatch and reconsider the world of movies, TV, and anime with the same critical eye they’ve been bringing to video games for years) the conduct of Lydia Bennet has been reconsidered in a modern day light, and she has finally received some vindication. After rewatching the final episode of the BBC's 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the team asks "how do we approach a story that treats as a scandal the sexual agency of a teenage girl, and underplays the predatory aspect of Wickham's conduct?" They also discuss that, if the entire subplot is built on an outdated, misogynist foundation, is it still fair to find Lydia to be "a loathsome heel" by the end of it? Also discussed in the episode is:
Not only will it be good to honour Austen the author, it will also be good to go a little way to redress the fact that less than 3% of all statues in the UK are of historical, non-royal women.What do you think? Is there an ideal location for a Jane Austen statue in Bath that springs to mind?
Paul Crossey, Jane Austen Centre Managing Director
- Caroline Bingley's snakiness
- Lizzy's growing maturity and awareness
- Georgiana Darcy's role in Pride and Prejudice
Devoney Looser, a foundation professor of English at Arizona State University and an author who specializes in Austen's writing, earlier this year taught the classes on the work of Jane Austen to a rather different set of students to those who she usually does. Instead of a set of university students, or a room of filled with members of a Jane Austen society, she was teaching in Florence State Prison, in a medium-security unit that primarily houses sex offenders. “I think all of those things that make (Austen) successful in the regular classroom have a lot to offer in the prison classroom too," she said. Looser was invited as a guest speaker for the class, which was offered through the Prison Education Programming at ASU's Department of English. Following her time with the inmates, Looser wrote a piece about her experience, and what surprising discoveries she found from having taught the class.
I said yes, because I strongly believe that reading literature, and Austen in particular, may inspire readers to ask how to live a meaningful life in a world that’s often deeply unfair. What that’s meant to me in the past was a willingness to talk about her fiction with anyone, even those holding views with which I strongly disagree. I’d never envisioned teaching her fiction to a room of men found guilty of making life deeply unfair for others.The full piece can be read here.
This Month's One to Watch... DC Comics and Jane Austen is not a combination we come across very often, but later this month the series DC's Legends of Tomorrow will be combining the two in it's unusual format. The show follows a group of misfits who journey through time and space to protect history, making sure to have a little fun along the way. It's a refreshing show that not only recognises the whimsy of its premise but absolutely relishes it. As such, one episode in its new season (there have been three full seasons so far and this is its fourth), will be "Séance & Sensibility," a daring and delightful hour centering around Jane Austen in Regency England and featuring a full-on Bollywood musical number. It's due to premier on April 15th, and the show can be found as pay-to-watch episodes on Youtube here. Although if you're in the US it's debuting on the network The CW.
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