Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor, by Fitzwilliam Darcy & Emily Brand – A Review

Mr. Darcy's Guide to Courtship 2013 From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder

In the modern era, more than 200 years since Jane Austen’s time, there is still a strong and robust following and appreciation of her works. Most notably, there is a nod to her forward-thinking views about women and how they should behave and act, which were at odds with the conventional wisdom of the time. What if we stood this entire paradigm on its head and acted as though these conventions were true? What would men of this era have to say about women, and more importantly how would they rationalize these opinions? We must look no further than Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship by Emily Brand, which offers up a very tongue-in-cheek view on this very subject.

Written from the point of view of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy himself, Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship is a work loosely based on Regency-era advice publications, which instructed readers on how to behave and the socially acceptable guidelines to which men and women should adhere. Of course, it speaks volumes on how men perceived women in that time period, and it still remains relevant today as we see the implications of these points of view on how men act in the present day. Additionally, the reader is treated to sections written by other characters, such as Mr. Collins and Wickham, as well as Darcy’s own personal correspondence with other characters.

First off, this book is downright hysterical. Of course, I kind of saw this coming, as the back cover of the book states, “For two hundred years, the mere mention of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has caused hearts to flutter and bosoms to heave. The feeling has not been reciprocal.”  I was already laughing at that, and thus knew I was in for a fun time. I especially enjoyed a piece in the work entitled “Complementing With Delicacy, W. Collins” which, according to Darcy, is a list of “ludicrous examples” of complements put forth by Mr. Collins. The one that really got me was “Your noble forehead is like a rock of alabaster.” Swoon! Unfortunately, Collins ended up crossing that one out, but he leaves in many other excellent examples of how to give the most hysterical compliments ever. I also enjoyed Darcy’s “Dear Abby” type section, where other literary characters wrote to him for advice. The things that Darcy would come up with are both exactly what I imagine he would say; just as condescending as ever. Emily Brand does a wonderful job of taking the spirit of Darcy’s character and infusing it into her own pen, as her words seem to flow effortlessly out of his consciousness. This is definitely a fun and quick read that will keep you laughing for a while. I heartily recommend it. Continue reading

Jane Austen @ the Super Bowl with Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash

Not only is signer-songwritter-author Rosanne Cash best friends with actress Jennifer Ehle (Lizzy Bennet in another life), but she is a wicked Jane Austen channeler on Twitter. Here are some of her tweets in Austenesque fashion during the Super Bowl yesterday.

@RosanneCash

  • Regarding the Legume Chorale, it grieves me to note that the spectacle exceeds the musicality.
  • Some ladies are determined to sport bonnets made of cheese. I must take to my bed.
  • The manly vigor is indeed impressive, but I don’t have the pleasure of understanding the purpose.
  • One hopes the unfortunate incident involving the lady’s corset is not repeated on this occasion.
  • The gentleman in the stripes? A known blackguard! I send no compliments to his mother.
  • There is a uniformity of ill-favor in the appearance of the spectators. Who are their families? Tradesmen, surely.
  • Word arrives that there will be a longish pause midway through the event. One hopes to be excessively diverted.
  • Such lust for possession of an inanimate object so entirely lacking in aesthetic merit does not bode well.
  • Are they to be murdered on the field?! Such an ill-advised display of manhood is indeed alarming.
  • The proscribed repast is an abomination! Could we not conceive of a tea more pleasing and refined?

You can find more tweeps tweeting our Jane during the game by using the hashtag #JaneAustenAtTheSuperBowl

We love Roanne Cash and wish she would write a short story for our Jane Austen anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It.

She is the very talented American singer-song writer, author and eldest daughter of of the late country music singer Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin. Passionate Twitterer, she occasionally channels our Jane to much hilarity and acclaim. Bravo Rosanne. Janeites everywhere salute you for your conceited independence and unruly impertinence. Her new biography Composed: A Memoir was released last August to rave reviews.

Further reading and tweeting

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Two Guys Read Jane Austen, by Steve Chandler and Terrence N. Hill – A Review

Two Guys Read Jane Austen (2008)“Jane’s got more adoring female fans than Brad Pitt, and my guess is they’re more intelligent too!” Terrence Hill 

Given the choice of reading Pride and Prejudice or watching a football game, which do you think the average all American male would choose?  If this is a no brainer, you have recognized the male/female divide of how men and women think and feel differently, and the reason why the “Two Guys”, Steve and Terry were lured by their wives into writing their new book Two Guys Read Jane Austen in the first place. 

Lifelong friends for over fifty years, these “Two Guys” are a perfect pair to chat about a subject where most men fear to tread. Both professional writers with impressive resumes, Steve Chandler is a best selling author, business coach and corporate trainer, and Terrence Hill, award winning adman, poet, short story and stage play writer,  adding clout and experience to their observations. This is their third book in the critically-acclaimed “Two Guys” series and may be their biggest challenge yet – Jane Austen, who the guys admit is a hot property and hope might garner big royalties ala best selling author John Grisham! They are of course only kidding between themselves, typical of this epistolary missive that is formatted like an e-mail in box with actual correspondence between the two authors as the read Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park together. What evolves is not only an insightful and funny male perspective of two typically female favorite classic books, but their views on Jane Austen’s impact on modern culture, and pretty much all around story swapping guy style. 

What I found most enjoyable about this book was their open attitude to read and understand Austen without prejudice. They give honest opinions of her strengths and weaknesses in her plot, characters and style, but do not bash or berate her because her themes of marriage, romance and view of her society appeal mostly to women. Instead, she has become androgynous, and enjoyed for her brilliant style, biting wit and memorable characters. Add to that the “Two Guys” special anecdotes and personal stories from their lives and modern media, and you have a hilarious and ‘Austentatious’ combination. A quick fun read, this book would be an excellent gift for any Austen fan, or Austen fan who wants to prove to their significant other that their admiration of all things Austen is not just a girl thing! 

4 out of 5 Regency stars 

Two Guys Read Jane Austen
By Steve Chandler and Terrence N. Hill
Trade paperback (126) pages
Robert D. Reed Publishers, Brandon, OR
ISBN: 978-1934759172 

Read my other in-depth review, Two Jane Austen Fans Review Two Guys Read Jane Austen, Part One & Part Two with my co-blogger Vic (Ms. Place) at Jane Austen Today.

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