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

Austen around the blogosphere for the week of September 21st

‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ begins on October 1st here at Austenprose, so start reading Northanger Abbey and gearing up for another great Austen novel event. I have been investigating Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho which will be our second group read and happened upon this nice article about the author and her work on PopMatters by Deane Sole.

The Austen Shopaholic deal the week is 40% off on the book New Friend’s and Old Fancies by Sibil Briton at Sourcebooks on line shop. This novel is reputedly the first Austen sequel ever published, though I do not think that scholars will ever let us believe that it was the first, but it has been claimed thus by Sourcebooks. Use code AUSTENSOURCE 10 at check out to receive your discount, and enjoy!

Austenesque author Lori Smith announces the release of her book A Walk with Jane Austen in the UK with a stunning new cover. We think that the pink Wellies are quite appropriate! Congrats, Lori!

With the movie The Duchess opening in the US theaters this week, Lady Georgian Spencer continues to be a hot topic in entertainment news. She married William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, in 1774, and they resided at Chatsworth, a grand estate in Derbyshire. Musings on Pride and Prejudice blog writes about the Jane Austen connection and similarities in the Cavendish and Darcy families. You can also get three perspectives on the movie The Duchess at Jane Austen’s World.

Austen quote of the week from an interview of actress Amanda Lisman who is portraying Elizabeth Bennet in Tom Woods new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Septmeber 20 – October 12. Read a review of a prevue on the production here.

In reading her, I realized how much Austen’s writing has influenced romantic comedy, the (mis-matched) couple overcoming obstacles after first impressions. I just think it’s so remarkable that such a young woman, so geographically isolated, had such insights into human nature. And was so witty…. And it still resonates, in specific situations and class structure, and in the humour. We were all pleased and surprised there was so much laughter in (first performances in) Banff: the humour of the characters, so many lines people love…. It’s a book that speaks to people’s hearts; it’s pretty iconic.

Austenesque book reviews for the week; The Jane Austen Book Club, Pride and Prejudice Board Game, Northanger Abbey, Me and Mr. Darcy, The Matters at Mansfield, Persuasion, Impusle & Initiative, Mr. Knightley’s Diary, Mansfield Park Revisited, Seducing Mr. Darcy, The Watson’s and Emma Watson, Jane Austen: A Life, Oxford World’s Classics: Emma, and The Darcys and The Bingleys. Wow! Lots of Austen readin’ going on out there folks. Keep it up.

Actress Brenda Blethyn who portrayed Mrs. Bennet in the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice is currently staring as faded southern belle Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee William’s classic play The Glass Menagerie at The Norwich Theatre Royal, September 22-27. Here is a great interview of actress Anna Chancellor who played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, and presently appearing in the play Creditors at Covent Garden in London.

The Becoming Jane fan site has announced that The Jane Austen Centre on line magazine has added their biography of Madame LeFroy to their section on Jane Austen family biographies. Congrats ladies!

Author of Sex and the City Candace Bushnell has delusions that she is the modern Jane Austen!?! Well, not quite, but this writer likes to sensationalize a bit to get our attention. Did it work?

Lost in Austen, the ITV mini-series pastiche of Pride and Prejudice on UK tellie continues to amaze us in a bus accident sort of way. The whiplash rubber necking abounds as the media and on line blogs are deconstructing episode 3 which aired this past week.  Jane Austen in Vermont blog has an interesting vantage from a British viewer, Jane Austen’s World has some fabulous screen caps and a review, AustenBlog readers continue to tell it like it is with their comments, of course I had to have my share of the conversation, and here is some eye candy for you all as Jane Austen Today displays the Hunks of Lost in Austen.

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England opened on September 19th and will continue through September 28th. On Saturday the 20th, Regency finerie was afoot as participants paraded about the city in the grand Promenade. Talented photographer Owen Benson contacted Austenprose to tell us he had uploaded many stunning shots of the event, including someone that you might recognize, Austen intern Virginia Claire Tharrington, who looks quite stunning in her mustard ribboned bonnet. Lucky girl to be there. Pea Green of course!

So where is Jane Austen’s true home? Chawton or Bath? The debate continues as the two cities duke it out over bragging rights in Literary Smackdowns: Jane Austen Territory on The L Magazine blog and Satisfaction Will Be Demanded at AustenBlog.

Unseen Austen an new radio play on BBC4 by Judith French imagines Pride and Prejudice through an impertinent and over the top Lydia Bennet and available by Podcast. Oh la! Go Lydia! Feeling sentimental? Then listen to a Podcast from CBC Radio from 1996 entitled Jane Mania, focusing on the wave of popularity spawned by the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. Sharon Farrell interviews novelist and film adaptor Fay Weldon (P&P 1979), Oxford scholar Marilyn Butler and Austen biographer Claire Tomalin. What an incredible group a well informed and witty women, talking about our favorite subject. Personally, I can never get enough of that!

The third annual R.I.P. reading challenge is underway until October 31st. This reading event is hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings and has a horror and Gothic theme. I have taken up the challenge and will be reading three ‘perils’ written or influenced by Jane Austen; Northanger Abbey, Pemberley Shades and The Mysteries of Udolpho. You can also join in this reading challenge since Austenprose’s two group reads during ‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ in October will qualify you for R.I.P. III. So, go Gothic with us in October y’all, cuz ya won’t regret it.

Until next week, happy reading!

Laurel Ann

Clueless about Jane Austen’s Emma? Investigate These Resources

Image of Samantha Morton & Kate Beckinsale in Emma, (1996)  



Emma wants to see her better informed; it will be an inducement to her to read more herself. They will read together. She means it, I know.” Mrs. Weston, Emma, Chapter 5


Image of the DVD cover of Emma, staring Kate Beckinsale, (1996)I hope that you all enjoyed Emma, staring Kate Beckinsale, Sunday on PBS. This movie version is my favorite of the Emma adaptations. The screenwriter Andrew Davies made some changes from the novel, and I do not agree with all of them, but I do like how he and director Diarmud Laurence brought in the Regency environment and grounded the film with glimpses of the working community. Three scenes come to mind that exemplify this; Mr. Woodhouse, the leading citizen of Highbury, showing concern for the laborers by waving at them from his carriage, the gaggle of giggling school girls in church reminds us of the rest of the families in the community, and the complete invention of the harvest festival showing the differences between the upper and lower classes of the Highbury agricultural community, and the gracious appreciation displayed by their landlord and master, Mr. Knightley.

Image of the DVD cover of Emma, staring Paltrow, (1996)My only regrets about this version of Emma is that it lacked the humor of the novel and the other 1996 film of Emma, staring Gwyneth Paltrow, and that it was not longer in length. One can always wish that film producers would aspire to adapt the entire novel, but one understands the restrictions of the cinematic medium. Being a greedy sort myself, I crave all of Jane Austen’s lovely words, characters and plot in toto!

If this adaptation peaked your curiosity, but you still feel a bit clueless about Emma, I heartily encourage you to read the novel. There are excellent versions in print and online. Like Emma, I am an imaginist and am partial to artistic creativity, prefering a good illustrated edition to visualize the story. You might also be interested in many of the sequels and pastiches about, and here are a few suggestions.

Jane Austen’s Emma through Another’s Eyes (1997)Jane Fairfax: Jane Austen’s Emma through Another’s Eyes, by Joan Aiken, St. Martins Press (1997). Emma Woodhouse feels that Jane Fairfax is too reserved, but she may indeed be the only young lady in Highbury that Emma truly envies. Read about Jane Fairfax’s back story as it is revealed through Aiken’s skilled and accomplished parallel story to Austen’s  Emma. Aiken’s style is easy and affable; – both similar and respectful to Jane Austen, and she does Fairfax due justice. ISBN: 9780312157074 Read a preview here.

Image of cover of Mr. Knightley’s Diary (2007)Mr. Knightley’s Diary: A Novel, by Amanda Grange, The Berkley Publishing Group, (2007). Relive Jane Austen’s Emma – from Mr. Knightley’s point of view. At times, I wish that Mr. Knightley had some of Emma’s energy and imagination, but you know they say that opposites attract, and in this case it is true. This perspective of a gentleman in his late thirties whose chief interests are his estates and the well being of the Highbury community reveals why Knightley is still a bachelor, and make it all the more interesting to see his transformation from friendly neighbor into Emma’s love. ISBN: 9780425217719 Read a review from Ms. Place of Jane Austen Today here.

Image of cover of Lovers’ Perjuries (2007)Lovers’ Perjuries: Or, The Clandestine Courtship Of Jane Fairfax And Frank Churchill, by Joan Ellen Delman, self published, (2007) Description (from the author) Have you ever wondered about the hidden romance contained within Jane Austen’s Emma? Written with great fidelity to the original, Lovers’ Perjuries fills in all the details of scenes only hinted at in Emma. It also introduces new characters in a substantial subplot inspired by Persuasion, but featuring a lively heroine more reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennet than Anne Elliot. ISBN: 9780615150055. Read an excerpt. Read a review by Mags of AustenBlog here.

Image of cover of Amanada (2006)Amanda, by Debra White Smith, Harvest House Publishers, (2006) Publishers description: Book #5 in White Smith’s Austen Series, is a delightful contemporary novel set in Australia that captures the wit and humor of Jane Austen’s Emma. Amanda is a bit bored-until she meets Haley and decides that she would be the perfect wife for the local pastor. Amanda’s plan is falling into place when she discovers that Haley is dating Roger…and Pastor Eldridge is seeing someone else. Not to be thwarted, she steers Haley toward newcomer Frederick West. But when Haley is attracted to Nathaniel, why is Amanda’s heart suddenly anxious? ISBN: 9780736908757 Read a review by Erin Valentine of Novel Journey here.

Image of cover of Emma and Knightley (2008)Emma and Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma, by Rachel Billington, SourceBooks (2008) Publishers description: After a year of marriage, Emma wants Knightley to stop treating her like a child. Knightley meanwhile wants his young bride to love him as a husband, not as the man she’s always looked up to. With tragedy in the offing, and events unfolding that include beloved characters from Jane Austen’ Emma, the couple must find their way to each other, and to perfect happiness. ISBN: 9781402212079 Read a review by Alison T. on AustenBlog here

Image of cover of Mrs. Elton in America (2004)Mrs. Elton in America: The Complete Mrs. Elton, by Diana Birchall, Edgerton House Publishing (2004) This amusing and often hilarious volume includes the Mrs. Elton triology of three short novels; In Defense of Mrs. Elton, The Courtship of Mrs. Elton, and Mrs. Elton in America. Inspired by Jane Austen’s presumptive and officious character Mrs. Augusta Elton from her novel Emma. Laugh out loud, and then throw things if need be, because Mrs. Elton can just do that to you! It is amazing to think that Mrs. Elton’s ego could get much larger, but it does, and happily to our abject delight! ISBN: 9781905016013 Read an excerpt here.

Image of cover of Emma Adapted (2007)Emma Adapted: Jane Austen’s Heroine from Book to Film, by Marc DiPaolo, Peter Lang Publishing (2007) Description from the publisher: This work of literary and film criticism examines all eight filmed adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma produced between 1948 and 1996 as vastly different interpretations of the source novel. Instead of condemning the movies and television specials as being “not as good as the book,” Marc DiPaolo considers how each adaptation might be understood as a valid “reading” of Austen’s text for Austen fans, scholars, and students alike.  This book is a bit pricey at $67.95 online, and will be a good library request. ISBN: 9781433100000

A Casebook (2007)Jane Austen’s Emma: A Casebook, edited by Fiona Stafford, Oxford University Press (2007) Interesting title, since it supports my theory that Emma is a mystery story disguised as a comic romance! Description from the publisher: The essays in this collection demonstrate the varied delights of reading Emma. The purpose of the collection is to introduce readers of Austen to new ways of interpreting her most substantial and rewarding novel. The collection opens with an introduction encouraging readers to re-read Emma, and to find its pleasures magnified by the critical interpretations and scholarship represented in this casebook. ISBN: 9780195175318

Image of DVD cover of Clueless (1995)Clueless, the movie, director Amy Herkerling, Paramount Studios (1995) staring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. Studio description: Loosely based on Jane Austen’s comedy of manners Emma, Clueless employs high school as a microcosm of a larger society; in this case, the sun-drenched paradise of conspicuous consumption known as Beverly Hills. Leading the pack as a rich, blonde cutie named Cher is Alicia Silverstone, in a career-making performance. With the help of her best friend, Dionne (Stacey Dash), well-meaning busybody Cher attempts to turn the school nerd, Tai (Brittany Murphy), into a teen queen — with unexpected results. Heckerling’s witty satire is dead-on, particularly in its rendering of the kids’ speech, an adolescent patois peppered with vacuous expressions like “as if!” and “whatever!” The beauty of Clueless is that, even as it makes fun of Cher’s relentless pursuit of popularity, it reveals an insightful, well-meaning individual beneath its heroine’s image-obsessed surface. Read a review by Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle here

So, read on Janeites!

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