Friday, 24 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 137 by Linda

For our Christmas quote this year, I searched Pride and Prejudice for a mention of Christmas. What I was particularly looking for was something that resembled what we do during the season in today's world. In Chapter 25 I found this instance where Mrs. Bennet's brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, are introduced:

On the following Monday Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure of receiving her brother and his wife, who came as usual to spend the Christmas at Longbourn...

The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business on her arrival was to distribute her presents and describe the newest fashions...

Here we see two customs mentioned, namely, the family gathering and the giving of presents. As a matter of fact, that is what my family does even today.

"Christmas" is alluded to 5 times in P&P to indicate the time of year when something else occurred. So now I am happy that times haven't changed so very much in all these years.

We, here at the Becoming Jane Fansite, wish to take this opportunity to wish you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years!! Blessings to all.

Yrs affectionately,
Linda the Librarian

Pic: Regency family Christmas scene from

Friday, 17 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 136

This week was meant to be Tom's turn but considering it was Jane's 235th birthday yesterday we thought that Tom would not mind if we recognised Jane instead!

I was looking for a quote that would link in nicely with Jane's birthday celebrations but I have found one which instead links in nicely with this time of year and the weather situation in the UK at the moment! As readers from the UK will know we have had our fair share of snow these past few weeks. I have heard alot of moaning and there is more due to arrive this weekend - I have found this lovely quote taken from a letter written by Jane to her sister Cassandra which echoes these views. The letter was written on December 2nd 1815 (two weeks before her birthday) at Hans Place (Henry Austen's home in London).

"I am sorry my mother has been suffering, and am afraid this exquisite weather is too good to agree with her. I enjoy it all over me, from top to toe, from right to left, longitudinally, perpendicularly, diagonally; and I cannot but selfishly hope we are to have it last till Christmas -- nice, unwholesome, unseasonable, relaxing, close, muggy weather."

I love the sense we get of her wanting to wrap herself up in the warm weather. She seems happy and I love the excitement in her tone. Such great use of adjectives in only two sentences. I am going to try to mimic the same excitement when I go out today in my coat, scarf, gloves and hat!

Happy Birthday Jane.

Pic: thesecretunderstandingofthehearts blog

Eliza de Feuillide at Jane Austen Centre UK!

Our deep gratitude once more to Laura Boyle of the Jane Austen Centre UK for using one of Becoming Jane Fansite articles in their prestigious website. This time, Eliza de Feuillide nee Hancock is the Christmas feature of the year. JA Centre has taken this article, excellently written by Rachel in July 2007 (dear Lord, that long ago?!).

Once again, thanks to Laura for the adaptation and Rachel for the article!

Pic: Eliza (Lucy Cohu) and Henry (Joe Anderson) in 'Becoming Jane' (2007)

Happy Birthday Jane!

Roxana reminded me that yesterday (Australian time) was Jane Austen's 235th birthday (thanks Roxana!). Since it's still 16 December in U.S., I can still safely wish Jane a very happy birthday without being ashamed of being late.

And Maria provided me with a Google picture of what looks like Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy here, so thanks to Maria as well!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

More Austen dresses

Nicole from Etsy gave me this link to a very pretty dress (right side) that might be desirable for some of us. It's not truly faithful to Regency style, but still has a high empire waist and overall Regency look. For $10, it's a big bargain!

There are some more dresses in Etsy (search for 'Austen dress' or 'Regency dress'), but this blue velvety one also attracts me (left side). It's too hot for my city and I'm not fond of long sleeves, but who knows it fits Austenites in Northern hemisphere?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A beautiful painting of Austen dresses

I should stop visiting Etsy; but in my defense, if I didn't visit that place, I wouldn't find my Austen dress. There was another item I found a few days ago that I'd like to share: A very beautiful painting of Austen Dresses by Janet Hill. She's a very talented artist and I wish I have enough money to buy the original oil painting of this print; but I am certain another lucky soul has snatched it up to adorn her/his abode...

Oh how I wish I have those dresses... and opportunities to wear them!

Pic: 'Austen Dresses' by Janet Hill

The Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest

In conjunction with the publication of the new anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Ballantine Books,, and The Republic of Pemberley are pleased to announce an online short story contest. Enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize: publication of your entry in the anthology – a collection of original short stories inspired by the life and works of popular English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817). Hosted by the Jane Austen web site The Republic of Pemberley, the contest begins on January 1, 2011. Publication of Jane Austen Made Me Do It is tentatively scheduled for publication by Ballantine in Fall 2011.

Contest Highlights

· Eligibility: Previously unpublished U.S. residents over the age of 18
· Entries must be approximately 5,000 words in length
· Manuscript submission January 1 – February 13, 2011
· Voting for the Top Ten finalists February 14 - 28, 2011
· Top Ten finalists announced on March 1, 2011
· One Grand Prize winner receives $500.00 and a contract for publication in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It
· Grand Prize winner announced Fall 2011 in conjunction with the official release by Ballantine Books (Random House, Inc.) of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Jane Austen Made Me Do It contains more than twenty best-selling and popular authors who have contributed short stories inspired by Jane Austen, her novels and her philosophies of life and love. From historical continuations of her plots and characters to contemporary spinoffs and comedies, the stories encapsulate what we love about our favorite author: romance, social satire and witty humor. Contributing to the line-up are best-selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation series), Laurie Viera Rigler (The Jane Austen Addict series), Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen), Stephanie Barron (Being A Jane Austen Mystery series), and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Many Austenesque authors and others from related genres have also contributed stories to the project. One spot in the anthology remains open for the lucky Grand Prize winner.

The anthology’s editor, Laurel Ann Nattress of, is very excited at the prospect of discovering the next star in the burgeoning sub-genre of Jane Austen sequels and inspired books. “Jane Austen has been inspiring writers for close to two hundred years. It seems quite fitting that she should be the witty muse of our anthology and short story contest. Encouraging writing and discovering new talent is in spirit with her true legacy. I am ‘all anticipation’ of what will develop, and am honored to be part of the selection team.”

Visit the official Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest web page for official contest rules and eligibility requirements. Best of luck to all entrants.

“[S]uppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 60

Monday, 13 December 2010

Another Austen dress for sale!

Oh, I found another Austen dress for sale in Etsy! Click here for the said Etsy shop. I bought mine from the same shop. This green dress looks stunning, particularly with the mock buttons (authentic Regency dresses have real buttons at the back), but this lady has promised to shop no more, hence this lovely green Regency dress can be another lady's companion. Besides, green is not really my colour...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 135

Actually, it is my turn to do a Tom quote this week but having re-watched Pride and Prejudice (both 1995 and 2005) this week, I want to do a PP quote. I hope dearest Rachel will cover a Tom quote for us next week.

This PP quote was taken from Volume III Chapter I (Chapter 43), directly taken from Elizabeth and the Gardiners were visiting Pemberley for the first time. They were very impressed by the sight of the great house and the following was her first thought:

"And of this place,'' thought she, "I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt. -- But no,'' -- recollecting herself, -- "that could never be: my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me: I should not have been allowed to invite them.'' This was a lucky recollection -- it saved her from something like regret.

Then, we fast forward to after Lizzy and Darcy confessed their love to each other. That night, Jane asked Lizzy when she knew that she loved Mr Darcy (Volume III Chapter 17/Chapter 59).

"My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?''

"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.''

Another intreaty that she would be serious, however, produced the desired effect; and she soon satisfied Jane by her solemn assurances of attachment. When convinced on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing farther to wish.

"Now I am quite happy,'' said she, "for you will be as happy as myself. I always had a value for him. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley's friend and your husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more dear to me. But Lizzy, you have been very sly, very reserved with me. How little did you tell me of what passed at Pemberley and Lambton! I owe all that I know of it to another, not to you.''

I have no doubt that Lizzy loved Darcy instead of his money. But there is another question here: Did the grandeur of Pemberley add to her increased acceptance of Darcy? Bearing in mind that it wouldn’t hurt to marry well as long as she loved him first and foremost?

Or at least, did Jane Austen herself tease us here? She was never in a good financial situation, but she wouldn’t marry if not for love. Hence it was natural for her to make her heroines marrying for love… with another benefit: rich and prospective husbands.

Pic: Pemberley in PP 1995

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 134

This week's quote was provided by Linda. It is a Jane quote, but it is heavily related to Tom Lefroy. Enjoy!

JA Letter to Cassandra, Saturday 9 - Sunday 10 January 1796:

" . . . I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together."

Using the Memoir as a reference, I hope to point to some information contained therein, but not as a quoted passage as we have been doing here. This information answers a question that has been on my mind for quite a while.

Jane Austen has been quoted as calling Tom "her Irish friend". I accepted that without question until one day it hit me that his uncle and aunt Lefroy were in England thereby making them "English". That led me to do some digging for their 'roots' to find out just who they were.

In chapter 1 of the Memoir we find this place named: Cambray, Netherlands and Flanders. So I tried looking that up on a map, as a matter of fact several maps, only to find that the area changed nationality several times. Then Tom's father ended up in Ireland in the army where he chose to remain until his death. Now Tom's mother was from Ireland which makes our Tom at least half Irish. So deducting from all that information, since Tom was born in Ireland, lived in Ireland, and his mother was an Irish native of Doonass in the County of Clare, we might get away with calling him "Irish" also.

I guess my problem is that I was looking for a truly Irish persona and now I discover that he is only half 'Irish'. This is of interest to me since I became interested in discovering my own roots. Needless to say I was surprised to find out that this "American" is "English" with one "German" thrown in for good measure. So what does that make me? Your guess is as good as mine.

One other item that the Memoir is sure to shed some light on is the financial situation of Tom's family. I shall be taking notes on that subject also as I read, mainly because all those bios of Jane want to claim that he was too 'poor' to marry Jane. I believe there is more to the story than that. So this group of posts is 'to be continued' as we look into 'Tom'.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian
Pic: Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) and Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway), 'Becoming Jane'

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Crack myself on a Jane Austen dress!

Forgive my indulgence Ladies and Gents... but I have a story to tell. I know this humble Jane Austen fan who could not help herself when she saw a beautiful 1960s empire dress that resembled a Regency dress being sold on an online shop called Etsy (weird shopping habits, these creatures of the 21st CE!). She must have it, although not at any cost (what with being a student), and after much deliberation (which lasted only a few minutes actually), she bought it!

In her defense, she had been searching for a decent Austen dress which would not make her ample bosoms look larger and would still fit her rather uhm... healthy frame. Several talented dress makers in Ebay (that is another online site, weird 21st CE citizens, very accessible through the famous Google Avenue!) have tempted her in the past, only to have her deterred by the excessive price (of over $100!). In recollection, it is only fair that we must forgive this rather reckless young lady, for indeed she had done her homework of researching better prices in the past, to no avail of course. Also we must consider her plan to visit a certain dear Miss Kingston in Surrey en route visiting Chawton and Bath, and what dress more proper to wear than this (old but) new blue 60s dress?

Do forgive her, Ladies and Gents... for she promises that she would publish the weekly quote in time this week (after one dear Mrs Fern supplies her one). And she solemnly promises not to be so impulsive in purchasing any other Regency artifacts next time, lest she would not have the means to visit the aforementioned Miss Kingston!