Saturday, 29 November 2008

Birthday gifts and wishes for dearest Jane Austen

Dearest friends,

16 December is just two weeks away so to speak, so Team Jane have been thinking of what to do to celebrate Jane's birthday. We came up with the idea of "Birthday gifts and wishes for dearest Jane Austen".

The idea is: every one who wishes to can submit their birthday gifts and or wishes to Jane Austen prior to 16 December 2008 (Jane's 233rd birthday). For instance, Rachel can take out some pics from Chawton or whatever for Jane... Linda can write a letter to Jane... Maria can make a special music video (or fanfiction) for Jane... Marianne can do a short analysis or whatever... Michelle can put a special music note for her on the blog... The gentlemen... Bilbo can do a simple birthday wish if he wishes to... etc etc etc (sorry for the regulars who are not mentioned here, it's just an example).

I myself might end up with a one-shot fanfiction about Jane's birthday. I said might... due to my deadlines, but Jane has given me so much that I think "Happy Birthday, Jane!" is insufficient, at least for me.

Interested? Again, submit your gifts or wishes to me AND Rachel before 16 Dec, and we will post them regularly here.

Pic: Jane and Cassandra Austen, by Jane Odiwe

Jane Austen Quote of the Week- Week 32

This week I have been a little cheeky. In the comments section of Jane Austen Quote- Week31, Linda, our dear friend and fantastic librarian, brought our attention back to the wonderful The loiterer passages which are a selection of favourite passages taken from Jane's six novels. They were chosen and the page constructed by Linda and a group of fellow Janeites.

I was browsing the Sense and Sensibility passages and I came across a favourite part of the novel for me. In chapter 6, Marianne has not heard from Willoughby even though he knows that she is staying with Mrs Jennings. Marianne and Elinor attend a social gathering and Willoughby is there. This bit of the novel captures my heart every time. It sends shivers down my spine and I am with Marianne so completely as a woman and almost as her friend. I think that the readers feel her pain. In the Ang Lee adaptation (1995), I think that this scene is captured so perfectly by Kate Winslet (playing Marianne) and it made me feel like I wanted to jump in to the scene myself and get some answers from Willoughby for treating her this way.

"But have you not received my notes?' cried Marianne in the wildest anxiety. 'Here is some mistake, I am sure--some dreadful mistake. What can be the meaning of it? Tell me, Willoughby; for Heaven's sake tell me; what is the matter?

He made no reply: his complexion changed, and all his embarrassment returned; but as if, on catching the eye of the young lady with whom he had been previously talking, he felt the necessity of instant exertion, he recovered himself again, and after saying, 'Yes, I had the pleasure of receiving the information of your arrival in town, which you were so good as to send me,' turned hastily away with a slight bow, and joined his friend.

Marianne, now looking dreadfully white, and unable to stand, sunk into her chair; and Elinor, expecting every moment to see her faint, tried to screen her from the observation of others, while reviving her with lavender water.

Go to him, Elinor,' she cried, as soon as she could speak, 'and force him to come to me. Tell him I must see him again--must speak to him instantly.--I cannot rest--I shall not have a moment's peace till this is explained--some dreadful misapprehension or other.--Oh, go to him this moment."

Doesnt this last line from Marianne to her sister Elinor tug at the heart. She is trying to be strong but inside she is melting and her heart is aching.

Thanks Linda for bringing my attention back to this.

Pic: The excellent Boots and Bonnets site

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Austen Adaptation Trivia

I was reading the national newspaper, The Daily Mail, at the weekend and I spotted a section with interesting bits of trivia related to various films. There were a few Jane Austen adaptations mentioned and as I am a sucker for film trivia (particularly when it is related to our Jane), I thought I would share with you.

Pride and Prejudice- Anna Chancellor who starred as Miss Bingley in the 1995 adaptation with Colin Firth is actually a direct descendant of Jane's elder brother Edward.

With a little research I also found out my own piece of interesting trivia about her; she was married to a man named Nigel Willoughby! Do you think there was a subconscious desire there to keep a bond with Jane and her work.

Persuasion- This refers to the 1995 version of Persuasion which stars Amanda Root as Anne. The last shots of the departing ship of Captain Wentworth were actually taken from The Bounty (1984)

Emma- Gwenyth Paltrow played Emma in the brilliant 1996 adaptation of the novel. Mrs Bates and Miss Bates in the film were actually played by Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson who are real life mother and daughter. Interestingly they are also the mother and sister of Emma Thompson who plays Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995) which brings me nicely to the final interesting fact........

Sense and Sensibility- Allegedly the Jane Austen Society actually opposed the casting of Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars and actually contacted the producers to make a complaint. The reasoning was that Hugh Grant was too handsome to be our Edward Ferrars.....?!
Comments are welcome.

Pic 1: Miss Bingley (on the left): period movies site

Pic 2: Captain Wentworth: jane austen on film

Pic 3: Mrs Bates (Phyllida Law) and Miss Bates (Sophie Thompson): blogspot

Pic 4: Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars: xanga site

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Lefroy, Wentworth, Thornton. What a feast!

Thanks to Maria, here's her new music video combining the charms of Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy - Becoming Jane 2007), Capt. Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones - Persuasion 2007), and John Thornton (Richard Armitage - North & South 2005). With CRAVATS!

Drool away, ladies...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Jane Austen Quote – Week 31

Sorry for the late installment for this week; well - it would be last week for ANZ and Asia. Anyway, I was just rummaging through Jane Austen's letter when I realised that there was a gorgeous Austen gentleman who wrote such an excellent letter to a very fine lady, and that letter was worth quoting.

I am speaking, Ladies and Gents, of Captain Frederick Wentworth, whose calm and grounded demeanour paired with his charming appearance did nothing to appease the thirst of this Austen fan. Chapter 23 of Persuasion, as he wrote the letter to Anne Elliot:

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."

And the fact that I recall Rupert Penry-Jones' Wentworth letter to Anne Elliot did absolutely nothing to reduce my fondness of replaying Persuasion 2007 over and over again just to get a glimpse of that pair of blue eyes and blond hair.... Sigh...

Is it a wonder that Anne Elliot/Sally Hawkins sprinted across half Bath just to find that very fine young man? Heh, I would sprint the entire England to find that gorgeous gentleman in my embrace; to appease my foolish passion with his beautiful blue eyes!

Pic: Rupert Penry-Jones (aaahhh...) as Capt. Frederick Wentworth, Persuasion 2007, from Boots and Bonnets
Video source: TSOM90's YouTube channel

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

New Emma mini-series from the BBC in 2009?

Gosh! This is just in from an Administrator at the C19 Message Board:

I have heard from a very reliable source that Sandy Welch is just finishing writing a 4 part adaptation of Emma for the BBC! It should be shooting in April to be transmitted on the Beeb next September/October. No news on casting or the director yet but............Yay!!

you will have to register to access the C19 link, and I highly recommend the board - it's fantastic!)
So ... what do you think? I hope it's true. I adore A&E's Emma but the novel is long overdue for mini-series treatment. I wonder if the other three novels (Mansfield Park, Persuasion, & Northanger Abbey) will be remade by BBC in the next couple of years? I hope so!

And ... if the rumours of Emma 2009 is true - who would you cast?
Icha is presently somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere suffering 'such tremblings, such flutterings' after surfacing to say: "Richard Armitage for Mr. Knightley!"

I would love to see Armitage as Knightley. (!!!!) He could be the new Firth. (Hmm, and if so, would it launch him in Hollywood, as P&P did for Firth??) If they do remake Emma, it has to be GREAT.

Last year Icha and I were discussing which Austen hero Armitage would play in an ideal world and we both agreed Knightley. If only!!! Oh no ... the more I think about it, the worse it will be if he never gets to plays Knightley in his career ...

And Emma herself? I hope they cast an unknown straight out of drama school (as they did with Ruth Wilson/Jane Eyre) ... someone fresh and exciting and new ...

So, what do you think? Who would you cast, in a perfect world?

Pic 1: Emma from: Team Sugar
Pic 2: Richard Armitage in North & South from: Photobucket

Monday, 17 November 2008

Bollywood's Emma- Anil Kapoor

After the highly acclaimed Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice; Bride and Prejudice (2004 and staring Aishwarya Rai Bachman), another offering in the form of Emma must be brought to our attention!

Reknowned Indian director Anil Kapoor is said to be making a version of Emma for his Economics graduate daughter Sonam Kapoor, who, although has made her Bollywood debut in the 2007 film Saawariya, it yet to make it 'big'!

The rest of the cast have not been finalised but it is close to confirmation that Sonam will be the new Emma in this version of the classic novel. It has been suggested that Emma's fiery character of will be well suited for this young actress.

Although it has been confirmed that this film will only be 'loosely-based' on Emma, What do you think about the prospect of this take on one of our favourite novels??

All comments are most welcome.

Watch this space.....

Pic 1: Film web- Bride and Prejudice

Pic 2: Sonam and Anil Kapoor

Jane Austen Entertains- Music From Her Own Library

I wanted to make you all aware of my find. I have not received the CD itself yet but I think this would be the most wonderful present for anyone who wishes to buy their loved one (who of course shares our adoration for all things Jane!) a different, yet rewarding present.

Jane Austen Entertains presents music taken directly from the rooms in which Jane shared with her mother and her sister Cassandra at Chawton. With a selection of talented musicians playing the piano, flute and singing, we are to be transformed into a world which would have been experienced by Jane and her loved ones.

On Amazon it displays an extract from the memoirs of Jane Austen's niece Caroline, 1867.

"Aunt Jane began her day with music - for which I conclude she had a natural taste; as she thus kept it up - 'tho she had no one to teach; was never induced (as I have heard) to play in company; and none of her family cared much for it. I suppose, that she might not trouble them, she chose her practicing time before breakfast - when she could have the room to herself - She practiced regularly every morning - She played very pretty tunes, I thought - and I liked to stand by her and listen to them; but the music (for I knew the books well in after years) would now be thought disgracefully easy - Much that she played from was manuscript, copied out by herself - and so neatly and correctly, that it was as easy to read as print."

Here is the list of the tracks included

1. Flute: The Yellow Hair'd Laddie - Anon
2. Song: Hooly & Fairly - Anon
3. Song: Waly, Waly - Anon
4. Adagio non troppo - Ignace Pleyel, Sonatina No 5 in G major for pianoforte solo
5. Un poco piu moto Pleyel, Sonatina No 5 in G major for pianoforte solo
6. Rondo Allegro Pleyel, Sonatina No 5 in G major for pianoforte solo
7. Flute: The Egyptian Love Song - Anon
8. Song: Betsy Bell & Mary Gray - Anon
9. Song: Polwart on the Green - Anon
10. Flute: For Tenderness form'd in Life's early day - Anon
11. Allegro con brio - Johann Sterkel, Sonata No. 2 in G major for flute and pianoforte
12. Rondo Andante - Sterkel, Sonata No. 2 in G major for flute and pianoforte
13. Song: The Last Time I came O er - Anon
14. Song: The Banks of Forth - Anon
15. Song: Katharine Ogie - Anon
16. Andante Grazioso Pleyel, Sonatina No. 10 in B flat major for pianoforte solo
17. Menuetto Allegretto - Pleyel, Sonatina No. 10 in B flat major for pianoforte solo
18. Song: My deary, if thou die - Anon
19. Allegro - Pleyel, Sonata No. 4 in A major for flute and pianoforte
20. Andante - Pleyel, Sonata No. 4 in A major for flute and pianoforte
21. Rondo Allegro assai - Pleyel, Sonata No. 4 in A major for flute and pianoforte

To see pic and to find out more, see here: Jane Austen Entertains, Amazon

Anatomy of a Janeite - the results are in!

In June I blogged about the Jane Austen Survey being conducted by Jeanne Kiefer. The results are in! Here is the opening of Kiefer's summary:

What is a Janeite? If someone had asked me that a year ago, I would have blithely reeled off a description of the “typical” Austen enthusiast. After all, as a life-long admirer of the author, I’d rubbed elbows with hundreds of fellow fans at countless Jane-oriented gatherings. But were my assumptions accurate? I had some doubts. As a professional researcher, I knew that anecdotal encounters do not constitute valid data.

In 2008 a prime opportunity arose for taking a more systematic look at this interesting community of Austen readers. The theme for the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) annual meeting was to be “The Legacy of Jane Austen.” Believing that Jane’s greatest legacy is her devoted readership, I decided to find out as much as possible about this group.

Click here to read the summary of the survey: Jane Austen Survey 2008

The survery results really surprised me - particularly that a large majority of participants did not major in English Lit (I guess that was a stereotype I expected) and the higher education achieved by percentage of participants (really exciting) and the percentage of liberal v. conservative participants. It's really worth a read!

Pic: Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen from: Indie London's Becoming Jane Gallery

Friday, 14 November 2008

Jane Austen Quote – Week 30

This week's Jane Austen Quote is taken from Emma, chosen by dearest Linda. Thank you Linda for the speedy posting!

The action takes place on Box Hill where Mr. & Mrs. Elton have just excused themselves from the party for a walk. Here is the comment made by Frank Churchill:

"Happy couple!" said Frank Churchill, as soon as they were out of hearing: "How well they suit one another! Very lucky -- marrying as they did, upon an acquaintance formed only in a public place! They only knew each other, I think, a few weeks in Bath! Peculiarly lucky! for as to any real knowledge of a person's disposition that Bath, or any public place, can give -- it is all nothing; there can be no knowledge. It is only by seeing women in their own homes, among their own set, just as they always are, that you can form any just judgment. Short of that, it is all guess and luck -- and will generally be ill-luck. How many a man has committed himself on a short acquaintance, and rued it all the rest of his life!"

Jane has a way of tucking the most profound thoughts that will catch you unawares if you are not paying attention. These thoughts are often very good advice for the many situations we find in our lives. It is my opinion from my studies that she read and gathered information from a lot of authors such as Samuel Johnson's "The Spectator", etc as well as her Bible. We should read more of such like ourselves. We just might learn something. I suspect those people in past ages were not as dumb as I used to think.

This one is very good advice for unmarried folks. It is directed to the men for choosing a wife; and, I might add, it goes double for women when choosing a husband. It would be a nice project for someone to go through her works and collect all such good advice. Jane always has a gem or two for us on almost every page.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Kate Beckinsale as Emma in the 1996 A&E Emma. The gorgeous picture is by olde-fashioned from DeviantArt

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 29

This week my quote is from Pride & Prejudice, and it's quite long! It's taken from chapter 42, as Lizzie is about to go on holiday with the Gardiners.

Upon the whole, therefore, she found, what has been sometimes found before, that an event to which she had looked forward with impatient desire, did not in taking place, bring all the satisfaction she had promised herself. It was consequently necessary to name some other period for the commencement of actual felicity; to have some other point on which her wishes and hopes might be fixed, and by again enjoying the pleasure of anticipation, console herself for the present, and prepare for another disappointment.

Ah, dear Lizzie. (And of course Jane once again at her finest. Look at that gorgeous syntax! Read it aloud and you'll see what I mean ...)

'Enjoying the pleasure or anticipation' - I try to live like this because I find there is nothing quite like having something to look forward to, and the further on the horizon, the better. I always enjoy the 'anticipation phase' the best; it never fails.

There's another reason I love Jane - her novels always surprise. Every time I re-read one of her texts, I am constantly finding new truths and beauties and they always re-excite me. Jane never fails. I re-read many novels, and I haven't yet found another author who has given me that level of constant surprise.

Have a great week!

Pic: Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle from: smh

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 28

Sorry for the late installment of quote of the week, but I’ve been having a hard time trying to tie it up with the Halloween theme. So anyway, in line with the Halloween, I pick quotes from Jane Austen’s Gothic Northanger Abbey. Volume II chapter 7, Penguin edition 2003. The story in Chapter 6 is that Catherine tried to open a drawer inside her room in the Abbey, and she could not do that though she had been trying all night long. Then, right at the next morning, she got up, inexplicably opened the drawer without resistance, and found a roll of disjointed sheets which contain linen ordering and other non-Gothic stuffs.

“She felt humbled to the dust. Could not the adventure of the chest have taught her wisdom? ... How could she have so imposed on herself?- Heaven forbid that Henry Tilney should ever know her folly!”

Poor Cat. And I understand her, for in the past I had lots of fanciful thoughts that turned out to be incorrect, and I had to swallow my pride and admitted I was sooo wrong! Teenage time. Surely those things happened to one of you as well? One thing for sure, Jane Austen captured the fanciful thoughts of a Gothic-loving teenager very well.

Pic: Catherine scared herself by reading ‘Udolpho’, by CE Brock 1907 from Solitary Elegance