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

The Austen Tattler: News & 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 1st

The first reviews for Jane Odiwe’s Lydia Bennet’s Story are in, and honestly not a suprise!

Austen-esque author Marsha Altman is featured at Jane Austen Today and Jane Austen in Vermont discussing her new book The Darcys and the Bingleys published by Sourcebooks, and now available at bookstores.

If you are as excited as I am about the premiere of the movie Duchess, staring Austen actress Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice 2005), check out The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th-century. This informative and slightly sardonic blog is like a gossip rag from the 18th-century but with a modern twist. I particularly enjoy the Tart of the Week posts, and the recent Hunk alert on Richard Brimsley Sheridan written as a hip singles ad. Jane Austen would have been amused!

Some people understand what makes a Jane Austen heroine tick, they just don’t want to be one! And then, a few days later they change their mind!

Austen-esque author Diana Birchall is interviewed about her two books currently in print, Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma and Mrs. Elton in America by Vic (Ms. Place) at Jane Austen’s World. Discover what makes Diana one of the most admired sequel authors in print, and where she got her wicked sense of humor from.

Join the Jane Austen Book Club Online as they read a novel a month. September is Emma month, so break out your copies and delve in to Highbury again!

Lost in Austen, the new time travel inspired slant on Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice was televised in the UK on September 3rd. The advance reviews have been mixed, to put it kindly. AustenBlog has all the scoop and updates, so check it out.

Do you know the 7 key elements to Jane Austen’s writing success? Romance writer Tina M. Russo does and explains it all for us in her clever an insightful post, What Would Jane Do?, at The Seekers blog. Enter a comment for a chance to win a copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict or The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

The Becoming Jane Fansite chose one of my favorite quotes from Emma for their quote of the week.

Austenprose is happy to announce a new weekly column entitled ‘An Austen Intern Reports In’ running on Saturdays until December from Virginia Claire Tharrington, the newly appointed intern for The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. This very lucky young Janeite will be sharing with us her weekly news and insights from Bath, England, the heart of Jane Austen’s world and the home of The Jane Austen Centre. Please return on Staurday, September 6th for her first installment as she shares with us how she turned her passion for Jane Austen into a once in a life time opportunity. Stay tuned for this very exciting Austen adventure. Woundn’t Catherine Morland be jealous?

Cheers to all, Laurel Ann

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

Jane Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September 2008

The Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that Austen inspired books are heading our way in September, so keep your eyes open for these new titles. 

First up is the third book in the Pemberley Chronicles series by Rebecca Ann Collins, entitled Netherfield Park Revisited. In this continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the story starts in 1859, Queen Victoria has reigned for twenty-two years, England has undergone an industrial revolution and is one of the most powerful and influential nations to rule the sea and colonize the globe. Once again we are introduced to many of the characters central in the novel Pride and Prejudice, the Darcy’s and Bingley’s and their children. Handsome Jonathan Bingley, son of Charles and Jane Bingley, takes center stage, returning to Netherfield Park whose traditions and history runs strong in his family. In this ongoing historical saga, Ms. Collins continues to delve into themes that Jane Austen never approached in her secluded early 19th-century world of three or four families in a country village, but these expansions of plot and characters seem only natural as they parallel the progress of England’s social, economical and industrial growth. Check out my previous posts on Book 1 & Book 2 of the Pemberley Chronicles, and hold on to your bonnets, cuz there are still seven more books in this series to go! 

Speaking of the Bingley’s, how often is the best friend of the hero in a novel given a promotion to co-star in the sequel? Scratches head! Not sure if there is an example except in Marsha Altman’s new book, The Darcys & the Bingleys: Pride and Prejudice Continues. Ms. Altman recently shared with me that she adored Charles Bingley when she originally read Pride and Prejudice in high school, thinking that he was the main character for quite some time until Darcy gave Elizabeth the Huntsford letter. Now Altman has her chance to give Bingley his due as the story continues with his friendship with Darcy and the two special sisters that they married, Jane and Elizabeth. You can read two recent contributions by Marsha Altman on Jane Austen Today and Jane Austen in Vermont blogs. She has a wonderful way of telling a story, and I know that you are really going to enjoy watching Caroline Bingley evolve, er well, try to evolve into a sympathetic character! 

Next up, and one I have been dying to get my mits on for ages is the re-print of Pemberley Shades: A Lightly Gothic Tale of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, by Dorothy A. Bonavia-Hunt. Originally published in 1949, it is the second sequel to Pride and Prejudice ever written and has a surprising Gothic subtext that intrigued me from early descriptions of the book. Original editions of this novel command exorbitant prices from antique books dealers, so I am very happy that Sourcebooks has re-issued this novel for us non-millionaire types who can now experience a story that was the precursor to a genre. 

If you like sexy re-tellings of Austen novels with a twist, Impulse and Initiative: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds might be your cup of tea. It asks the compelling question, “What if Mr. Darcy…instead of disappearing from Elizabeth Bennet’s life after she refuses his offer of marriage, follows her back to her home at Longbourn and endeavors to change her mind. What if…their passion anticipates their wedding? I’ll let that simmer for a while until I write my review, but Reynold’s is a prolific and incredibly popular Austen-esque writer whose Pemberley Variations series has a very loyal and devoted fan base, so it is well worth a try. 

Cassandra and Jane, A Jane Austen Novel, by Jill Pitkeathley has an intriguing premise. Why was it necessary for Cassandra Austen to burn her sisters letters after Jane Austen tragically died at age 41? Well, older sister Cassandra explains it all for us as she shares many of their stories and remembrances of their life together as beloved sisters and BFFL. As Cassandra reminisces, we see Jane Austen as only Cassandra would know, share in their romantic aspirations and disappointments, understand their frustrations on the financial dependence of their relations, and rejoice in her early success as a writer. Author Jill Pitkeathley skillfully interweaves fact and fiction into an interesting and believable story that Austen purists might balk at, but Janeites will adore. 

Happy reading to all.

Further reading