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 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. 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.

The Sunday Salon Badge

Mansfield Park: Fun with Fanny and Friends: Day 11 Give-away!

Here’s a little humor to brighten your Monday morning Janeites! 

Can you describe your life in six words or less? That was the question that Smith Magazine asked their online readers in 2006. What developed was an amazing array of comic, tragic and poignant mini life stories that are now available in the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. 

Originally inspired by an incident in writer Ernest Hemmingway’s life, he was challenged to write a story in six words or less. He responsed 

‘For Sale: baby shoes, never worn,’ 

proving that the imagination can run with half dozen words creating a whole life story. This amazing collection of a “thousand glimpses of humanity-six words at a time.” is both contagious and addictive. Here are a few of my favorites 

Read romances. Met a man. Disappointed! 

Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said. 

Most successful accomplishments based on spite. 

No wife. No kids. No problems. 

Aging late bloomer yearns for do-over. 

Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that. 

Still lost on road less traveled. 

The Mansfield Park Six Word Review Challenge 

This creative and clever concept can be applied to almost anything we have an opinion on. So, the challenge that I am putting forward today is for Janeites to write a six word review of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen’s oft maligned and misunderstood novel! 

You can write about anything in the plot or characters that inspires you; humorous, tragic or snarky. I have written a few of my own to start you off. The most striking, funny or poignant reviews will be selected and announced in the Mansfield Park Madness roundup and deconstruction on August 31. Good luck! 

Be kind, because Fanny did mind. 

Resistance is futile. Surrender Fanny! 

The grey pony died. Fanny survived. 

Fanny Price. What becomes insipid most. 

What happens in Mansfield Park? 

Edmund Bertram sermonized. Henry Crawford womanized! 

Fanny Bashers conference in East room. 

Fanny Price? Wasn’t she on Broadway? 

Pug. Fanny Price’s Fairy Dogmother. 

Did Jane Austen write Mansfield Park? 

Poor Fanny. Rich cousins. Integrity wins. 

Mansfield Park Madness: Day 11 Give-away!

Leave a comment by August 30th to qualify for the drawing on August 31st for one

 

Jane Austen Address book, by Potter Style

Paperback, with alphabetical tabs. Image of Regency lady and Jane Austen portrait on the front. 120 pages, ISBN: 978-0307352385 

Upcoming posts
Day 12 – Aug 26          MP novel discussion chapters 33-40
Day 13 – Aug 27          MP 2007 movie discussion
Day 14 – Aug 28          MP novel discussion chapter 41-48
Day 15 – Aug 29          MP: Sequels, Spinoff’s and Retellings

Mansfield Park: Choice Quotes & Bon Mot’s: Day 8 Give-away!

The Novel

Jane Austen is renowned for her witty and sometimes cutting dialogue. Her novel Mansfield Park, though considered to contain a more darker subject matter, it still is full of them. Here are a select few that aim to amuse. Do not be surprised that the antagonist Mary Crawford gets all the best lines! 

“But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.” The Narrator, Chapter 1 

“Do not let us be frightened from a good deed by a trifle.” Mrs. Norris, Chapter 1 

“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.” Edmund Bertram on Mr. Rushworth, Chapter 4 

“Mansfield shall cure you.” Mrs. Grant, Chapter 5 

“Nothing ever fatigues me but doing what I do not like.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7 

“Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7 

“Everybody likes to go their own way–to choose their own time and manner of devotion.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9 

“It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 9 

“Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9 

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.” Fanny Price, Chapter 9 

It was a quick succession of busy nothings. The Narrator, Chapter 10 

“Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 11 

“Those who have not more must be satisfied with what they have.” Mrs. Rushworth, Chapter 12 

“Family squabbling is the greatest evil of all, and we had better do anything than be altogether by the ears.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 13 

“Let your conduct be the only harangue.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 15 

“One cannot fix one’s eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy.” Fanny Price, Chapter 22 

“There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences.” Fanny Price, Chapter 22 

“Oh! you can do nothing but what you do already: be plagued very often, and never lose your temper.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 22 

“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 22 

“Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 23 

“A woman can never be too fine while she is all in white.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 23 

The enthusiasm of a woman’s love is even beyond the biographer’s. The Narrator, Chapter 27 

“I am worn out with civility,” said he. “I have been talking incessantly all night, and with nothing to say.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 28 

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” Fanny Price, Chapter 42 

“Finish it at once. Let there be an end of this suspense. Fix, commit, condemn yourself.” Fanny Price, Chapter 44 

There is nothing like employment, active indispensable employment, for relieving sorrow. The Narrator, Chapter 46 

“Nobody minds having what is too good for them.” The Narrator, Chapter 48 

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can. Narrator, Chapter 48 

Mansfield Park Madness: Day 8 Give-away

Leave a comment by August 30th. to qualify for the free drawing of two copies of 

The Jane Austen Miscellany

By Leslie Bolton, Sourcebooks, Inc. (2006). The ultimate guide of everything Jane Austen for those who just can’t get enough! Hardcover, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1402206856 

Upcoming posts
Day 9 – Aug 23            MP novel discussion chapters 25-32
Day 10 – Aug 24          MP 1999 movie discussion
Day 11 – Aug 25          MP Oxford book review
Day 12 – Aug 26          MP novel discussion chapters 33-40

Me and Mr. Darcy, (not the book …)

Illustration of Mr. Darcy, by Chris Duke, (1980)“And that,” said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the miniatures, “is my master — and very like him. It was drawn at the same time as the other — about eight years ago.”  

“I have heard much of your master’s fine person,” said Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture; “it is a handsome face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not.”  

Mrs. Reynolds’s respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on this intimation of her knowing her master. 

“Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?”  

Elizabeth coloured, and said — “A little.”  

“And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma’am?”  

“Yes, very handsome.”

Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Gardiner & Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 43 

Darcy Sightings

The sun is shining today in the Pacific Northwest, and consequently I am quite distracted and have bloggers malaise! The temperatures are in low 80’s! I am in raptures to say the least, enjoying one of the 10 – 20 days of clear skies and warm weather that we will receive in a year. If any of you use Google Earth and have looked up your homes from a satellite view, this is a day that those geeks who take the photos jump around like monkeys to get clear pictures to update the database! Real Estate types are also busy today, snapping photos of all of their home listings to plaster on their web sites to trick out-of-towners into thinking this is usual weather in the Pacific Northwest!  I know, I know; —  I am as cynical as Jane Austen’s character Mr. Palmer to be sure! 

Image of Lake Stevens with Mt. Pilchuck in the distance (2008)

My neighborhood in the country turns into another world when the sun shines. Imagine, I actually need my sun glasses to see outside. As I walked to my car to run errands, a swallowtail butterfly fluttered across my path and almost collided with me. He was drunk on the sunshine too! I live quite close to a lake, and the road that I travel to the market skirts the shore past a public beach (so to speak) where boaters can launch their jet skis (argh) and swimmers can brave the cold water. The view to the distant Mt. Pilchuck with its patches of lingering snow is quite lovely, when we can see it. Being the eternal optimist, I bought fudge cicles to stock up for the weekend, and stopped by the beach on my way back and enjoyed one while looking at the view. There were scads of teenagers on the rocky beach sitting on towels and chairs trying to get a one day tan, hip-hop music blasting from a boom box and the roar of jet skis from the water. 

Continue reading

Jane Austen’s Lydia Bennet: Her Life Credo

Image of a bonnet from Ackermann\'s Repository, (1817)“Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better.” Lydia Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 39 

Lydia Bennet is the youngest of the five Bennet sisters being but fifteen, but by her impulsive and unguarded manner she is the most commanding of the lot, and she knows it! Jane Austen gently gives clues to the reader to the impending peril she imposes on her family through her willful actions. My first impression of Lydia was that she was a time bomb of misery and dissipation just ticking away. 

As the novel progresses, her actions become more outrageous to the detriment of the family reputation when she elopes, and then does not marry. After her patched up marriage to George Wickham, she returns to her family home at Longborne and receives mixed reactions from her family. Totally oblivious to what all the fuss is about, she saw no fault in her behavior. This passage from chapter 51 is a great clue to the nature of her feelings on her actions. 

Continue reading

Apple Blossoms in June? Austen’s Literary Mystery

Image of Jane Austen commanding the apples to bloom

It was a sweet view — sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without being oppressive…It might be safely viewed with all its appendages of prosperity and beauty, its rich pastures, spreading flocks, orchard in blossom, and light column of smoke ascending. Emma, Chapter 42 

An orchard in bloom in June? Did Jane Austen get her seasonal timing wrong? Most fruit trees bloom in May, as my apple-trees in the Pacific Northwest will confirm. This anomaly is unusual, since Austen is so correct with other facts throughout her novels according to scholar R. W. Chapman. Many have questioned this slip-up, including Jane Austen’s brother Edward, who pointed out the discrepancy to her, ‘Jane, I wish you would tell me where you get those apple-trees of yours that come into bloom in July?‘ Well, Edward, it was June but we’re splitting hairs here. 

Image of the cover of Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet, by John SutherlandThere are two possible explanations; one by a scholar and the other by a meteorologist. In the book Is Heathcliff a Murderer: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction  (new edition 2002), author John Sutherland questions Austen’s timing in chapter two, Apple blossoms in June?  His creative theory prompted a few polite objections from leading authorities; Dr. Claire Lamont and Deirdre le Faye, which are included in the next volume in the series, Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?: Further Puzzles in Classic Fiction (1999). They pretty much shoot holes in his theory. You can read the discussion here and draw your own conclusions, but honestly, I was so relieved to discover that a meteorologist Euan Nisbet of the Royal Holloway College in London was a Janeite, and has closely studied Jane Austen’s astute observance of accurate weather in her novels and wrote this enlightening articleContinue reading

Exceedingly hilarious

Illustration by Niroot Puttapipat, Emma, Chapter 39, Folio Society (2007)EXCEEDINGLY

they had suddenly perceived at a small distance before them, … a party of gipsies. A child on the watch, came towards them to beg; and Miss Bickerton, excessively frightened, gave a great scream, and calling on Harriet to follow her, ran up a steep bank, cleared a slight hedge at the top, and made the best of her way by a short cut back to Highbury. But poor Harriet could not follow. She had suffered very much from cramp after dancing, and her first attempt to mount the bank brought on such a return of it as made her absolutely powerless; and in this state, and exceedingly terrified, she had been obliged to remain. The Narrator on Miss Bickerton & Harriet Smith, Emma, Chapter 39

Jane Austen has such a sense of humour. She has taken a potentially dangerous situation for two young ladies walking in the countryside and turned it around; – -making us laugh at them instead. Miss Bickerton high tails it over a hedge, and poor Harriet unable to follow because of dancers cramp (oh my) is paralyzed with fear, throwing money at the gipsies and begging for mercy. Hilarious!

With my over-active imagination in high gear, I envision Jane Austen as a contemporary woman. No doubt that she would be brilliant at whatever profession that she chose, but I believe that she would excel as a comedy writer, testing her material on her family and friends … “a Gentleman, a Baronet, and a Clergyman go into a pub…”

If you too are feeling in the adventurous spirit and ready for a waggish romp through Regency society, check out Laurie Viera Rigler’s exceedingly hilarious new book, The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, available at Barnes & Noble Booksellers; – – and join her online at her diverting website.

*Illustration by Niroot Puttapipat, “Such an invitation for attack could not be resisted” page 296, Emma, published by The Folio Society, London (2007)