PBS to Connect Jane Austen Community

Illustration by Miroot Puttapipat, “Boxhill Picnic”, Emma, Chapter 44CONNECTION 

I congratulate you, my dear Harriet, with all my heart. This is an attachment which a woman may well feel pride in creating. This is a connection which offers nothing but good. It will give you every thing that you want — consideration, independence, a proper home — it will fix you in the centre of all your real friends, close to Hartfield and to me, and confirm our intimacy for ever. This, Harriet, is an alliance which can never raise a blush in either of us.” Emma Woodhouse, Emma, Chapter 9 

In Jane Austen’s 18th-century society, personal alliances fueled the social strata, connecting families in marriage, and in business. And so it continues today, as PBS reaches out to the Jane Austen community to promote its upcoming series The Complete Jane Austen, through its online guest blogger project Remotely Connected.

Eight Austen enthusiasts and authorities from the online community have been invited to write about each of the upcoming Jane Austen adaptations and a new biography being presented by Masterpiece Classic, beginning Sunday, January 13th with Persuasion, and concluding in April with Sense & Sensibility.

Uniting these eight unique Austen resources brings together a talented and diverse group of Janeites, who have created the most informative and lively web sites and blogs on the internet to honor and discuss their favorite author. Here is a list of the accomplished writers in order of their contribution to Remotely Connected, and their online entities.

Image of Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot, PBS presentation of Persuasion (2008)Victoire Sanborn (Ms. Place) of Jane Austen’s World: This blog brings Jane Austen and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th-century historical details. Enjoy thoroughly researched and enlightening posts about everything from netting a reticule to Jane Austen’s timeless insights. Her other blog Jane Austen Today explores how we see Jane Austen today through movies, print, sequels, web sites and modern day media. The talented and knowledgeable Ms. Place will be writing about Persuasion, which airs on Sunday, January 13, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Felicity Jones s Catherine Morland, Persuasion (2007)Heather Laurence of Solitary Elegance: This web site is a collection of educational and research resources relating to Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen’s often overlooked and underrated work. It also prominently features a beautiful collection of watercolor illustrations from all of Jane Austen’s novels by the renowned artist, C.E. Brock. Heather also shares her unique sense of humor, Jane Austen passions, and family exploits on her clever Gimletblog, (more fun than a poke in the eye with a stick). The accomplished and elegant Heather will be writing about her favorite novel, Northanger Abbey, which airs on Sunday, January 20, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Billie Pier as Fanny Price, Mansfield Park (2007)Lori Smith of Jane Austen Quote of the Day: This blog features daily wit and inspiration from Austen through quotes from her novels and letters, with such gems as “I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible” and “Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.”. Lori is a freelance writer and recent author of the lovely and favorably reviewed book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love and Faith. You can read the latest news about its release on her other blog, Following Austen. Lori’s sensitive and patience nature will serve her well when she writes about Mansfield Park, which airs on Sunday, January 27, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Olivia Williams as Jane Austen, in Miss Austen Regrets, (2008)Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose: My blog is a daily celebration of the brilliance of Jane Austen’s writing, including passages and quotes from her novels and letters, and focusing on her ability to write of the society in 19th-century rural England with keen observation, irony and wit. Also featured are vintage and contemporary illustrations from her novels. I am a life-long Austen devotee who now augments my passion by introducing others to the delights of Miss Austen as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. I also co-blog with Ms. Place at Jane Austen Today. I will be writing about the new biopic, Miss Austen Regrets, which airs on Sunday, February 3, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, in Pride & Prejudice, (1995)Myretta Robens of The Republic of Pemberley: As the co-creator of the pre-eminent Jane Austen site on the web, Myretta has an acclaimed and established history as an authority of our authoress, and  online communities. Author of two Regency era novels, Just Say Yes, and Once Upon A Sofa, you can read further about her accomplishments at her web site: Myretta Robens, Regency Romance. Myretta will be writing about her favorite novel Pride & Prejudice (1995), staring Jennifer Ehle & Colin Firth, which airs on three consecutive Sundays, February 10, 17 & 24, at 9:00 pm

Image of Kate Beckinsale as Emma Woodhouse, in Emma, (1996)Jessica Emerson (Janefan) of Austen-tatious: A Jane Austen fan blog, “marked by, or fond of, conspicuous or vainglorious and sometimes pretentious display of all things related to Jane Austen“, that is always light, entertaining and filled with news and personal insights about movies, books, print media and news around the web concerning Jane Austen. Jessica is a professional writer in the communications industry and an avid reader. Visit her other blog, The Bookworms Hideout, for her perspective on current book publications and the classics. Jessica will be writing about the adaptation of Emma (1996), staring Kate Beckinsale & Mark Strong, which airs on Sunday, March 23, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood, in Sense & Sensibility, (2008)Laurie Vera Rigler of A Great Deal of Conversation: The Blog & Forum: Calling all Austen addicts, be prepared to (almost) satisfy your obsession at Laurie’s beautiful web site and blog, featuring conversation (blog & forum), passions (links), many charming views (videos) and information about her latest book, The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. Laurie is a freelance book editor who teaches writing workshops, and is a popular guest blogger. Her vibrant comedic style and high energy will serve her well when she writes about Sense & Sensibility, one of Austen’s most moving and humorous novels, airing on two consecutive Sundays, March 30 & April 6, at 9:00 pm.

Image of Hattie Morhan as Elinor Dashwood, in Sense & Sensibility, (2008)Margaret Sullivan (Mags) of AustenBlog: A compendium of news about Jane Austen in popular culture, because (as she should be) …”She’s everywhere.” Mags’ unique wit and waggish voice will keep you laughing and shaking your head at the foibles of the news media, writers and movie makers who attempt to interpret Austen in their ‘own’ light. Her recent book, The Jane Austen Handbook: A Simple Yet Elegant Guide to Her World, received high praise within the industry and Austen community. Her other online accomplishments include web sites Mollands and Tilneys and Trap-doors. Mags will be writing about Sense & Sensibility, airing on two consecutive Sundays, March 30 & April 6, at 9:00 pm.

I am sure that you will join me in congratulating each of these talented and devoted Janeites, visit their sites and blogs, and bookmark the PBS blog Remotely Connected to have your share of the conversation after each adaptation airs.

(Post Script) Did you notice that each of the ladies personalities match the heroine of the novel/adaptation that they are writing about? Hah! I did. Present writer excluded since saying I was like Jane Austen would, – – like be so totally fer sure not true babe,  – – as if!

*Illustration by Niroot Puttapipat, “Pardon me – but will you be limited as to number – only three at once”, page 336, Folio Society, London, (2007)

Solitary elegance

Illustration by Hugh Thomson, Chapter 12 Heading, Pride & PrejudiceELEGANCE 

I had great amusement among the pictures (Somerset House); and the driving about, the carriage being open, was very pleasant. I liked my solitary elegance very much, and was ready to laugh all the time at my being where I has. I could not but feel that I had a naturally small right to be parading about London in a barouche. Letter to Cassandra Austen, 24 May 1813, The Letters of Jane Austen

Well this is an amusing vision of Jane Austen, the gad-about of London, parading in an open carriage in the month of May with the breeze pulling at her bonnet! She seems quite in raptures! In modern day terms, cruising in a barouche-landau would be the equivalent of a convertible Bentley 2008 Silver Tempest . Not bad.

According to the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen, the definition of a barouche is as follows…

Barouche: accommodating two couples facing each other, the barouche was considered a very exclusive carriage – accounts state that the Prince Regent owned one drawn by six horses. Vulgar Mrs. Elton cannot cease to publish her rich brother-in-law’s ownership of a barouche-landau (Emma, Volume 2, Chapter 14).

Elegance indeed, to be transported about with such pomp and finery! But one of the most remarkable parts of this passage is the phrase, solitary elegance. It evokes such promise of pleasure and enjoyment, that I was not surprised to find an entire web site on-line named the same, and dedicated entirely to Jane Austen. Oh joy! And to top off, it is beautifully designed and packed with an incredible amount of useful and informative information. Be sure to visit the gallery of Jane Austen book illustrations by C.E. Brock circa 1908. They are stunning! A big thank you to the accomplished web-mistress, Heather L. for all of her excellent work.

*Illustration by Hugh Thomson, chapter 12 heading, page 41, Pride & Prejudice, published by Robert Frederick, Ltd., Bath (1998)