Austenprose Celebrates Second Anniversary – What Would Dear Jane Say?

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“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours,

and laugh at them in our turn?”

Another year in the Austen blogosphere has passed and I’m still here musing and muddling about on my favorite author and other related Regency folly and nonsense! Milestones are a great time to look back and reflect on what I really have been blabbering about, who was hot, and not, and what you all enjoyed the most. So here goes. 

Top 10 most popular posts 

  1. Pride and Prejudice: Which Mr. Darcy Has the Noble Mien for You? 
  2. Masterpiece’s Wuthering Heights Succumbs to a Case of Bad Parenting 
  3. Zombies and Vampires and Jane Austen, Oh My! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is Haute! 
  4. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange – Preview 
  5. Preview: BBC One’s Emma staring Romola Garai Begins on Sunday 
  6. Lost in Austen: Review of Episode Four: Amanda Fixes Things at Warp Speed! 
  7. Lost in Austen: Review of Episode Three: Droolgate as Darcy Does the Dip 
  8. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan: The Sunday Salon Review 
  9. Jane Austen Short Story Award 2009 Winners Announced 
  10. Little Dorrit Recap & Review of Episode Two on Masterpiece Classic

This is a diverse mix of posts indeed as interest is all over the Austen hill and dale, and some not even in her neighborhood. It represents what was in the news, on our minds and haute in the media and culture for the past year. Some I expected, others are a complete surprise.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that many, many people are still fascinated by top hottie Mr. Darcy. He eclipsed all other posts four times over. In my mind, this proves that he is indeed a literary and pop culture icon.

The balance of posts were topical items. Controversary is still King. The review of Wuthering Heights proved that if you express your opinion decidedly and make a fool out of yourself, people will flock to watch you squirm in embarrassment. I hope that the Brontë community will forgive me for trying to apply Austen logic to a Victorian tale of craziness.

Vampires and zombies arrived at our local bookstores this year stretching Austen in totally new directions. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was the breakout surprise. Who ‘da thought a zombie and Austen mash-up would make an international best selling novel and launch a new book genre – literary rip offs – opening  the flood gates for, yes, Austen and vampires?  We were all aflutter to read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and snapped that one up too. Hope the author made a ton of money since that appeared to be the prime objective. Another book that caused bus accident gawking was Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. I will let other pens dwell on the “why,” but I have sneaking suspicion that the author is dancing all the way to the bank too.

Two new Austen inspired mini-series hit the airwaves in the UK and US. Lost in Austen was the biggest surprise hit and the new Sandy Welch adaptation of Emma that premiered in the UK last month had tongues wagging.

Last and pleasingly last, the Jane Austen Short Story Award garnered more interest than anticipated. It is gratifying to think that new short stories inspired by Jane Austen piqued Googling and readers landed on my blog. 

The rest of data is just icing, but of interest in an Austen cultural enlightening kind of way. It is a small example of who Janeites are, and why we love Jane Austen.

Top 5 most popular book reviews

  1. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan: The Sunday Salon Review 
  2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Jane Austen Ate Our Brain Long Ago: The Sunday Salon Review
  3. Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes: A Novel, by Regina Jeffers: The Sunday Salon Review
  4. The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy, A Novel by Maya Slater – A Review
  5. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange – A Review

I reviewed 59 books in the last year! Gulp – that’s a lot of Jane and her scions.

Top 5 most popular search terms

  1. Elliot Cowan
  2. Matthew Macfadyen
  3. David Rintoul
  4. Northanger Abbey
  5. Mr Darcy Vampyre

What? No Colin Firth? Abomniable.

Top 10 clicks to other sites

  1. Jane Austen Today
  2. BBC official Emma page
  3. Which Austen Heroine are You Quiz?
  4. Everything Austen Challenge at Stephanie’s Written Word 
  5. PBS Masterpiece website
  6. Jane Austen’s World
  7. Republic of Pemberley
  8. AustenBlog
  9. Naxos AudioBooks
  10. Enchanted Serenity of Period Films

Who you all want to visit – says a lot about me too!

Top 10 referrers

  1. Jane Austen Today
  2. Jane Austen’s World
  3. Molland’s Circulating Library
  4. The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide
  5. AustenBlog
  6. Elegant Extracts
  7. Becky’s Book Reviews
  8. Reading, Working, Writing, Playing
  9. Emma Adaptations
  10. Marie Antoinete’s Gossip Guide

A big thank you to fellow Janeite’s Vic (Ms Place) of Jane Austen’s World and my co-blogger at Jane Austen Today and Mags at AustenBlog. Two clever and witty ladies who keep me on my toes. Last, but first in my book – your 1,975 comments – all read and greatly enjoyed. Thanks to all for visiting my little corner of Austenland…

 where There is a monsterous deal of stupid quizzing, & common-place nonsense talked, but scarcely any wit.”

Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 21 April 1805

Austenprose on Twitter

Costume Parisien (1817)“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 

Thanks to my co-blogger and technology savvy friend Vic of Jane Austen Today, I have signed up on Twitter as Austenprose. This could be addictive! I will endeavour to Tweet on Austen tidbits, quotes, news on Austen-esque books and anything a true Janeite might find ironic or enlightening in today’s world from Jane’s perspective. 

So, what would Jane Austen think of this form of instant communication? Since she was a devoted letter writer, I think that she would love it, and be addicted too.  Ain’t technology grand? 

Join Vic and I and Tweet about Jane! 

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Austen Tattler: News and Gossip around the Blogosphere

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“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Jane Austen around the blogosphere for the week of February 1st

Hot News of the week

Definitely the upcoming release of the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which was taken the Internet by deathly storm prompting the publisher Quirk Books to move up the release date. You can read my first thoughts about it at Jane Austen Today, this week on the reaction, and the controversy regarding the author’s attitude toward Janeites at AustenBlog.

Noteworthy

Jane Austen in the City of Bath, England is a lovely article with beautiful photos at Quillcards Blog

Get ready for Valentine’s Day with snarky Austen themed valentines at Elegant Extracts Blog.

Sense and Sensibility (2008) is being rebroadcast on Masterpiece Classic on Sundays Feb 1st & 8th. You can catch up on the first episode by reading the synopsis of episode one at the Masterpiece offical site and read reviews at Jane Austen’s World and here at Austenprose. Tune in to PBS this Sunday for the conclusion.

The Excessively Diverting Blog Award recognizes seven writers of note on the Internet presented by the Jane Austen Today blogging team.

Over at Risky Regencies indulge in a little escapsism with Highwayman of the High Seas: The Romance of the Smugler by Julia Justiss. Everyone loves a naughty pirate, yo ho!

Of Books and Bicycles is reading Claire Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A Life and has some interesting thoughts on her insights.

Arti at Ripple Effects asks which Austen Heroine was Jane herself most like?

Entertainment

The Black Moth is available from GirleBooks for free. Ms Place (Vic) at Jane Austen Today and Jane Austen’s World is an ardent Heyer fan and tells us that this is one of Heyer’s first novels, and now ready for you to download and read for free from GirleBooks.

The roundup of upcoming Austen inspired books for February is available for your persual here at Austenprose

The DVD of Lost in Austen will be available for purchase in North America on April 14th.

British actress Ruby Bentall is truly an up and commer. I have recieved more hits on her name in the past month than any other Austen actress. More than Gwenyth or Kiera or Kate. No lie! You can read about her at my post Ruby Bentall – A Most Memorable Mary Bennet at Jane Austen Today.

Book Reviews

Until next week, happy Jane sighting.

Laurel Ann

Austenprose Celebrates It’s First Anniversary – What Would Dear Jane Say?

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours,
and laugh at them in our turn?”

How time flys when you are having fun!

Today is the first anniversary of Austenprose; — 365 days of celebration of the brilliance of Jane Austen’s writing in blog format. What would Jane Austen think of my gentle and sometimes sarcastic musing? I hope favourably with humor. For what do we live for but to make sport for our neighbors, right?

It has been an enlightening and joyful journey for me filled with discovery and surprises. In reflection, I can’t believe that I even created a blog, and own all the credit to its source, Jane Austen. For years I had read, admired and been delighted by her prose. When the Internet can along, I was intrigued by the possibility of creating a web site, but not being a geek, I was stifled. A big thank you to Wordpess for making it all so accessible, easy and fun.

I am fascinated by statistics, so here are a few to entertain you.

Austenprose has racked up 257 posts, 47 pages, 36 categories and 888 tags. I am very grateful for your contributions too and have happily read all 1,047 comments.

The most popular posts are…

  1. Mansfield Park Review: No Hope of a Cure
  2. Sense and Sensibility Cast Preview
  3. Northanger Abbey: Our Hero Henry Tilney
  4. Northanger Abbey Review: An Austen Adventure
  5. Persuasion Review: “almost too good for me”?
  6. Pride and Prejudice: Netherfield Ball
  7. Pride and Prejudice: The Mystique of Austen’s Mr. Darcy
  8. Lost in Austen: Droolgate as Darcy Does the Dip

If you see a trend here as I do toward the movie adaptation reviews, then you know what was of interest to Janeites this last year as we were privileged and frustrated by PBS’s The Complete Jane Austen series which aired all six of Jane Austen’s major novel adaptations between January and April. If anyone needs confirmation why a bad movie gets more attention and press, then Mansfield Park 2007 is proof. My reasons for it’s failures were obviously of interest as others also tried to figure out the mystery of the writer and directors interpretation.

We all need a little help from our friends, and I have been so grateful to other bloggers and web sites in the Jane Austen community and beyond for their advice and support. An extra big shout out to Ms. Place (Vic) of Jane Austen’s World and my co-blogger on Jane Austen Today who has been an incredible resource and wonderful inspiration! Here are some of the top referrers this last year. Thanks also for the 242 links to Austenprose!

  1. AustenBlog
  2. Jane Austen Today
  3. Jane Austen’s World
  4. Jane Austen Quote of the Day
  5. Austentatious
  6. Elegant Extracts
  7. Dovegreyreader
  8. KayeDacus

And then there are the glorious readers and your interesting and sometimes curious search engine terms that land you on my blog. Here are the top terms.

  1. austenprose – 703
  2. fanny knight – 286
  3. imogen poots – 193
  4. miss austen regrets review – 184
  5. henry tilney – 175
  6. miss austen regrets – 156 
  7. lucy boynton – 144
  8. mansfield park – 142
  9. northanger abbey 140
  10. jane austen gifts – 133
  11. sense and sensibility heroine – 106
  12. rebecca ann collins – 104
  13. lost in austen – 101

And the most frequently asked funny and surprising search engine term is for the Jane Austen bobble head, which is my holy grail of Jane Austen toys. You can read my post about it here. If you are one of the lucky few to own one and want to pass it on, PLEASE contact me!

My top click on the blog is to Kali Pappas’ quiz, Which Austen Heroine are you? Yea Kali!

In looking back over the past year, I have much to be grateful for. I reviewed 20 Austen-esque books, and 12 movie adaptations, and hosted two novel events, Mansfield Park Madness and Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey. My first post was a quote from Pride and Prejudice of Mr. Darcy’s famous line about Lizzy being tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt him. I hope that my little corner of Jane Austen, has improved upon acquaintance also.

Many thanks to all of my faithful readers and Jane Austen friends.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

The Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Blogosphere

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Around the blogosphere for the week of September 7th

The great Darcy debate continues! Is Colin Firth or Matthew Macfayden more accurate to Austen’s vision in their film portrayal of Mr. Darcy from the novel Pride and Prejudice? Read about romance author Michele Ann Young’s view on the Casablanca Authors Blog.

Speaking of Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth celebrated his 48th birthday on September 10th, and talks to reporter Benjamin Secher of the Telegram about his continuing romantic roles in films. Secher surmises that “surely the time is approaching for the secretary of the international heart-throb club to inform him that his membership has expired, freeing him from frivolous romantic roles for good“. Obviously not so, as offers keep pouring in eighteen years after he thought he would be too old to play them! Hmm. One suspects that Firth is a bit modest, wouldn’t you say?

Oxford Professor and Austen Scholar Kathryn Sutherland weighs in on her impressions of the first episode of Lost in Austen, the new ITV Pride and Prejudice inspired time travel twister.  Not quite sure if she has an opinion yet. That’s a first for an academic.

Do you remember the first time you read Pride and Prejudice? I do. So when I happened upon this post of a novice reader’s first pages into the book, it made me smile. Austenprose recommends Adopt-an-Austen-Newbie this week, so please head on over and offer a word of encouragement or share your first time reading stories. How I envy them the adventure that is ahead.

Is Pride and Prejudice (1995) screenwriter Andrew Davies a channel of Dickens and Austen for the contemporary world? English professor Laura Carroll of La Trobe University reports in from his recent session at the Melbourne Writers Festival where screenwriter Jane Sardi interviewed him last week. Is this former English professor on an educational mission on behalf of classic literature?

LearnOutLoud.com is offering a free download or streaming audio of a literary summary of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudiceas their free Audiobook of September Podcast. This is part of their Literary Summaries series that outlines classic novels in a abridged format.

Is Jane Austen a sizeist? Sparsely Kate has a few words of contention about a passage in Persusaion that may imply how Austen interpreted people of a “comfortable substantial size” were more suited to be jolly. She may have a good point. Sparsely Kate, that is!

Episode two of Lost in Austen, the new ITV television mini-series aired in the UK this week and is garnering quite a bit of discussion at AustenBlog. Episode one was fun and frolicky, with more than a few improbable surprises. Catch my review of Episode two on Monday, September 15th.

Austen-esque book reviews for the week, Pemberley Shades one & two, Old Friends and New Fancies, The Pemberley Chronicles, and Essential Austen, keep us reading and reading.

Jane Odiwe author of the soon to be released Lydia Bennet’s Story is also a talented artist. Check out her recent portrait of Jane Austen at her blog, Jane Austen Sequels.

J. K. Rowling & Warner Bros, Entertainment won their lawsuit against Michigan-based publisher RDR Books on Monday, blocking the publication of The Harry Potter Lexiconby Steven VanderArk. This is great news for authors everywhere, and I commend Rowling (one of the most financially successful authors in print) for fighting for herself, and the little guys out there. What does this have to do with Jane Austen you ask? Hmm, she is everywhere you know – influencing honor, justice and the Austen-way across the globe – but actually, we have Austen-esque author Diana Birchall to thank for being such an excellent star witness on behalf of Rowling and Warner Bros where she is employed as a story analyst. She wrote about her involvement in the case here last March, so be grateful Janeites that Austen’s is everywhere – cuz she makes all the difference to many, even after 200 years.

Cheers to all, Laurel Ann

*Watercolour engraving by Thomas Rowlandson, Jealousy, The Rival (1787)

Mansfield Park Madness @ Austenprose Preview

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Mansfield Park Madness at Austenprose August 15-31 

Seventeen days of seventeen great give-aways

and Fanny too!

 

Welcome Janeites and classic literature fans. I am pleased to announce that Austenprose will be hosting a seventeen day event in celebration and re-discovery of Jane Austen’s most complex and often misunderstood novel Mansfield Park. Please join us on our daily journey of discovery as we investigate and discuss the text, movie adaptations and sequels. Here are a few highlights of what will be featured.  

Mansfield Park, Oxford Illustrated Edition (1988)

Mansfield Park Book Editions 

Current versions of the text in print published by Broadview Press (2001), Norton Critical Edition (1998), Oxford World’s Classics (2008) and Oxford Illustrated Editon (1988), Cambridge University Press (2005), Penguin Classics (2003) and Barnes & Noble Classics (2005) book editions, and the Naxos unabridged audio version (2007).  

Mansfield Park Movie (1999)

Mansfield Park Movie Adaptations 

1983: staring Sylvestra Le Trouzel and Nicholas Farrell
1999: staring Frances O’Conner and Johnny Lee Miller
2007: staring Billie Piper and Blake Ritson
Metropolitan 1990: written and directed by Whit Stillman, staring Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman 

Cover of Edmund Bertrams Diary (2008)

Mansfield Park Book Sequels 

Edmund Bertram’s Diary, by Amanda Grange
Mansfield Park Revisited, by Joan Aiken
The Matters at Mansfield: or The Crawford Affair, by Carrie Bebris  
Central Park, Debra W. Smith 

17 Great Give-aways

Don’t miss your chance to win a free copy of the 17 items that are featured over the 17 day event. Many of the novel editions, all of the movies, and all of the sequels discussed will be offered in drawings from comments left between August 15-30. Winners announced on August 31. 

Please join us –  because gentle Fanny has requested your attendance and does not want to be viewed as insipid any longer!

Cheers, Laurel Ann 

Upcoming posts
Day 1 – Aug 15            MP Madness introduction
Day 2 – Aug 16            MP novel discussion chapters 1-8
Day 3 – Aug 17            MP 1983 movie review and discussion
Day 4 – Aug 18            MP Naxos (Juliet Stevenson) audio review 

Beautiful Mansfield Park Madness banner by the handsome, clever and rich in heart Kali Pappas at Strangegirl Designs

An Austen Addicts Temporary Fix

Image of The Complete Jane Austen LogoFOOLISH

why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation! Frank Churchill, Emma, Chapter 30

An open letter to PBS

Dear Sir/Madame:

Sunday is here, and ahem, pardon my French … but where the *&#% is my The Complete Jane Austen PBS? Now that you’ve got me totally hooked on weekly installments of adaptations of my favorite authoress’ novels, you have cut me off like Fanny Dashwood, and expect me to go cold turkey. Intolerable!

I see that you are running your quarterly pledge drive in her Sunday time slot to remind me to support my local PBS station. Torture! Now I have just witnessed those perky pledge people say Jane Austen’s name twenty times in ten minutes during the pledge breaks between the re-airing of Persuasion. They repeat ever half hour. Pure torture. Wait, now they are talking about Pride and Prejudice! Pure unadulterated torture. (moans and rolls eyes in agony)

Eureka! There is a bit of hope on the horizon. You have dangled the possibility of a new bonnet or trip to Brighton my way by offering the next-best-thing to a Jane Austen adaptation; – – a program about the making of the Jane Austen adaptations entitled Celebrating The Complete Jane Austen! Hurrah!

I am all anticipation as the familiar opening musical fanfare rolls in with the voice over.

Now enter Jane Austen’s world, and go behind the scenes for a look at the Public television event of the season.

Host Lisa Daniels gives the introduction to the program teasing us with the prospect of learning the inside story of the making of The Complete Jane Austen with interviews of the executive producer Rebecca Eaton, screenwriter Andrew Davies, and Austen scholar Dr. Marcia Folsom. She continues with exclaiming that Jane Austen is the ‘it’ girl of the twenty-first century. Ok. You’ve got my attention.

Fifteen minutes into an hour program, you cut to a local pledge drive and then jump back and forth between the two like a tennis match for the rest of the hour without much new information revealed.

This is now The Complete Jane Austen Torture.

This will not be bourne. We are seriously displeased and if you can’t play nice, we are sending Lady Catherine over to restore peace and harmony.

Regards &C

Laurel Ann

Blogmistress, Austenprose