What's the Jane Austen News this week?Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen This week one of the favourite things that the Jane Austen News came across was a forgotten gem from the archives. In January 1924 Virginia Woolf published a review of Jane's novels, and it made for most interesting reading. In it Woolf suggests that Jane was getting bored and, had she lived, she would have taken gone through a significant change in her writing style.
It is impossible to say too much about the novels that Jane Austen did write; but enough attention perhaps has never yet been paid to the novels that Jane Austen did not write. There is a peculiar dullness and a peculiar beauty in Persuasion. The dullness is that which so often marks the transition stage between two different periods. The writer is a little bored. She has grown too familiar with the ways of her world. Had she lived a few more years only, all that would have been altered.The full article of Woolf on Austen can be found here.
Why Screenwriting is Not For Austen Screenwriter Anymore Acclaimed scriptwriter Maggie Wadey, who has written some of the major Austen productions of previous years, such as the BBC's 1987 Northanger Abbey and ITV's 2007 Mansfield Park, has announced that she can't see herself ever returning to the world of scriptwriting.
That industry has changed so much over the past ten years. Before you used to go to a director and pitch your idea. He would ask you for another and another and then decide which one he liked best. Then you would be left to go off and work on it. Now it is completely different. First of all the production team comes to you. They have set criteria for you to check off on what they are looking for, and then you are under this enormous pressure to write up someone else’s idea and huge deadlines. It’s not for me anymore.At the Jane Austen News we want to wish her well with her new project (a memoir/novel about her mother) and say that her unwritten future work will be missed and her previous work will be treasured.
Jane Inspiring Congress What does the political world need? More fans of Austen maybe? One endorsement of Jane Austen this week came from Mark Takano, the first openly gay and Asian member of congress, who says that one thing that those who are young and gay should do is read Jane Austen:
I look at so many young gays, and I think: You know what? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Before you rush into anything, read Jane Austen. A good man is really hard to find, you know?If only more people read Jane Austen, perhaps the world, the political one included, would be a better place.
Why We Should Love Austen's Heroes (hint: it's not for their looks) On the blog of Oxford University Press, blogger Talia Schaffer has been asking when Mr Darcy became sexy. After all she says, in Pride and Prejudice he is described as a “fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien,” and Austen says that his bad manners give him “a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance.” Edward Ferrars is similarly not described as an Adonis, he has “no peculiar graces of person or address. He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing.” So why were Austen's heroes so heroic? Because they were what a women wanted in a man back then.
When a woman married in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, she consigned herself wholly into a man’s power. The moment she married, she ceased to be a legal person of her own. With no right to custody, no capacity to keep any money she earned, no legal capacity to sign her name to any contract, and no possibility of divorce, she was absolutely dependent on the man she had chosen for her entire lifetime.Today physical attraction is more important says Talia, but in Austen's time, finding a man who would treat you as a human being was hard enough!
Lizzie has learned at last that “gratitude and esteem [are] good foundations of affection.” The alternative, love at first sight, is so distasteful it can hardly even be named.
Jane Austen Regency Day Goes Off In Style! We're delighted to see that the 2016 Jane Austen Regency Day in Alton was a huge success this year. Along with market stalls there were petting animals from Mill Farm Cottage, horse-and-carriage rides from Gosport Carriages, Maypole dancing performed by the pupils from Alton Convent School, and singing from the Roughditch Folk Group. Then in the evening the Regency Ball at Alton Assembly Rooms was completely sold out! We look forward to see what next year's event has in store!
Four Reasons To Watch Love & Friendship As if we needed an excuse to watch anything Jane Austen related, Verily have published four very good reasons why we ought to watch Love & Friendship. First, it's really very funny (Verily have equated it to Monty Python!) thanks to Austen’s dialogue and the cast’s substantial and discreet acting abilities. Second, it's not Austen as you've ever seen her before. Love & Friendship is a sharp departure for Austen, as the story is told from the perspective of the narcissistic antagonist. Third, "Austen captures human frailty like no other." And fourth, the characters who ought to, get their comeuppance! Endlessly satisfying!
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