A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 51-66

Image from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie and Darcy porposal scene

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

This week I will be looking at episodes 51-66 of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries starting with Lizzie’s life while she is visiting Collins and Collins. We get to meet several knew characters and get to see some of the most beloved ones in a new setting. Did I also mention that we get to see DARCY for the first time!

Lizzie goes to visit Charlotte at Collins and Collins. She meets Lady Catherine and her dog Annie Kins (though we never get to see Lady Catherine we just see Lizzie’s impressions of her). We also get to meet one of my favorite characters in the novel and in the series, Fitz, who comes with Darcy to look at Collins and Collins and give Lady Catherine a report on its progress. Darcy finally shows up in the videos and tells Lizzie he loves her. She flatly rejects him and tells him off for his rude behavior towards her and others and she also tells him to watch her videos. He returns later with a letter and having watched videos. Lizzie reads the letter but refuses to share its contents even with Caroline who comes trying to snoop and find out what is in the letter. Lizzie and Charlotte face off against Caroline and call her out for her manipulation of Bing. Collins flits in and out of several episodes mostly causing havoc by making Charlotte dress as a condiment or trying to make Charlotte work over Thanksgiving. By the end of these episodes Lizzie is ready to go home because home would probably be less stressful. In episode 62 Lizzie says, “This is definitely messing with my world view. Its like I don’t know myself anymore” (I consider this line akin to Austen’s “Till this moment, I never knew myself.” It is the turning point in the book for Elizabeth’s character)

Here are some highlights from Episodes 51-66:

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Fitz and Lizzie care package

We meet Fitz:

Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my favorite characters from the novels. I have always had a crush on him because I found him to be so much nicer than his cousin. In some alternative universe I really think he and Lizzie would work out (even though he is a younger son and has no money).

In the alternative universe of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries Fitz (Craig Frank) and Lizzie can’t work out as a couple because he is gay. I think this modernization is BRILLIANT because it allows Fitz and Lizzie to be good friends, but it is known from the start that they will never be more than friends. Fitz in the LBD is a smart and well-established business executive (he can see two bridges from his corner office) but he is also super fun. I automatically want to be his friend and so does Lizzie. Lizzie wonders why Darcy can have such nice friends when he is so cold and stiff. Fitz explains “The guy doesn’t always make the best first impression, and he has the social skills of an agoraphobic lobster.” (episode 56).  Fitz does a fabulous impression of haughty Darcy and really enjoys goofing off on the videos. He says “Well what is life if you cant have a little fun? Am I right Lizzie B? You know you should meet Gigi… because she is a cool kid and I think you too will like each other” (episode 56). Fitz seems to be a nice guy who cares about his friends and has his head on straight yet a guy who can also loosen up and have a lot of fun.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Annie Kins

Catherine de Bourgh and Annie Kins

I hate that we never to get see Catherine de Bourgh but Lizzie’s impressions of her make up for this loss. Her daughter Anne is transformed into a snaggletooth, asthmatic dog named Annie Kins that Catherine dotes on. Mr. Collins prepares Lizzie for dining with Catherine de Bourgh by giving her a long list of dos and don’ts and by telling her “so if you will simply choose the least offensive outfit you have brought along with you, I am certain that will be more than satisfactory.” (episode 53). Catherine still tries to but into everyone’s conversations and adores Caroline Lee for her accomplishments even though it is unclear what Caroline does or if she even has a job or goes to school.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: staff spirit costumes

Charlotte and Mr. Collins Dressed as condiments

Mr. Collins is full of hair-brained ideas about improving the company morale. One if his ideas involves a “spirit week” of sorts culminating in a Halloween party where he and Charlotte dress up as condiments. Seeing Charlotte as a giant ketchup bottle is pretty amusing, but Mr. Collins as a giant mustard bottle takes the cake. His sincerity and seriousness make him even funnier. Collins tries to make Lizzie come to the party but Charlotte steps in and shows her control and handling of him. Mr. Collins might be the head of the company but Charlotte is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she chooses.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: proposal scene

Darcy:

Darcy, Darcy, Darcy… everyone freaks out when Darcy is finally shown. Not this girl. I am going to try and keep my talk of Darcy to a minimum for several reasons:

  1. We don’t see that much of him.
  2. I don’t like Darcy Hype.
  3.  He does come off as a pretty big jerk.
  4.  I agree with Lizzie about him.

The viewership of the Darcy episode almost doubled compared to other episodes. Episode 60 (where we first see his face) has had over 466,000 views. Don’t get me wrong– he will improve, and I do think the writing on his episode is fantastic; I just hate Darcy hype. These are called the LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES and that is who the story is about, so I applaud the writers and creators for putting off introducing Darcy till 3/5 of the way through the series.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: DarcyBot

Ok, now on to Darcy. Daniel Vincent Gordh plays Darcy and does a very good job. He comes off as haughty and austere early on but does loosen up in later episodes. The writing for the proposal episode is a wonderful modernization of the scene from the book. I was worried that they would stray too much from the novel in his insults to Lizzie or that they wouldn’t have him insult her, but they did. Darcy says “I have been fighting against this for months now but Lizzie Bennet I am in love with you… I cant believe it either; that my heart can completely overwhelm my judgment.” Lizzie responds, “I hope that your judgment can be some solace in your rejection because those feelings are not mutual.” (Episode 60) In his video about the episode, one of the creators of the series Hank Green talks about how much effort and time went into writing this episode because they knew it was so important. Hank and his wife Katherine had a lot of input into who they chose for Darcy and the scene. Overall I applaud the series portrayal of Darcy because he does come off as a pretty big jerk at first and then starts to soften so that maybe you think he is just super awkward instead of a jerk. I could also do without the suspenders and skinny jeans, but I see why they did it.

Darcy hand writes and wax seals his letter to Lizzie, which is pretty cute and shows his quaintness. I thought they might do his letter as an email but I like that Darcy hand writes it and says that sometimes he has trouble expressing himself in words so he has to write things down. I think this is just the beginning of Darcy opening up. He also watches Lizzie’s videos because she tells him about them. He says, they were “illumining… you called me a robot and a newsie.” (Episode 62)

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Caroline v Lizzie and Charlotte

Lizzie and Charlotte v Caroline

Caroline Lee shows up to try and see what was in the letter. Charlotte and Lizzie question her motives in befriending Lizzie and helping Lizzie with her videos since Caroline hasn’t spoken to Lizzie since they left. This betrayal by Caroline seems worse than in the book because in the book Lizzie never thought that Caroline was her friend. The fact that Lizzie and Jane are both hurt by Caroline’s lack of communication with them shows Lizzie’s vulnerability in a new way. Caroline comes off as manipulating, conniving and superficial. The nicest thing I can say about her is that she has great hair. Lizzie and Charlotte call Caroline out for her behavior, and I say, “You go GRILS!” If only Lizzie got to tell Mrs. Bingley off like that in the books. I think it would be very therapeutic to her.

I am leaving out Lydia’s videos from this weeks article because I want to be able to do them justice in an article all to themselves.

Next Week 67-76

Favorite Quotes of the Week

If Lydia ends up with in anyway involved with someone who traces back to Darcy I swear I am going to steal a plane and crash land onto a desert island. I can totally survive on coconut and crabs… assuming there is wifi.” (Lizzie in episode 54)

He is like a robot with buggy programing for social interaction”– “Darcy- bot Malfunction” (Lizzie on Darcy in episode 55)

He was probably just looking for an air conditioned place to drink his probiotic hemp latte”- (Lizzie guessing why Darcy keeps stopping by to see her in episode 57)

I am pretty sure the guy read Tolstoy for you

Even if that is true the virtues of reading Russian literature are far out weighted by the fact that he disinherited George. Oh yeah and he broke up Bing and Jane” (Charlotte and Lizzie talking about Darcy in episode 61)

You should see the texts I have been getting from Lydia about this OMG… WTF… WHATEVS… YOLO… FTS… PQZ!!!!” (Lizzie talking about Lydia’s reaction in episode 62)

Awesome Links:

“If you are in the Raleigh, North Carolina area this weekend please join JASNA NC for a discussion of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The talk will be held on Sunday March 17th at 2:00 at the Cameron Village Regional Library. Virginia Claire Tharrington will be showing clips and leading a discussion about the adaptation. We would love to see you there. Thanks VC”

Images courtesy © The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 2012; text © Virginia Claire Tharrington 2013

Austen at Large: Isabella Thorpe as a modern blogger!

Northanger Abbey, Vintage Classics (2008)In this past week I have been finishing Northanger Abbey and as wonderful as the romance is in it, I think one of the most important lessons is about friendship. Catherine learns throughout the novel how to better read people, in particular her friends. She starts out completely fooled by Isabella Thorpe. Catherine thinks that they have a mutual friendship while Isabella is most likely just using Catherine to get closer to her brother James. For me Isabella has always been that friend that every young girl has. She is completely self consumed, silly, hyper sensitive and mellow dramatic. (What 16 year old hasn’t known someone like this?). Isabella’s false friendship with Catherine revolves around Gothic novels, shopping and young men. All of which point out, though slowly to Catherine, Isabella’s failure as a true friend.

In thinking about Isabella this week, my Jane Austen class was writing short papers on topics of our choice for Northanger Abbey. One of my friends Maggie Lally, decided to make a modern day Isabella. Her reincarnated Isabella was a teen blogger who oozed about everything from shopping to young men. The new “Bella” had most of my Jane Austen class roaring with laughter when Maggie read it aloud so I thought I would pass it on to the world at large. Maggie was so nice to let me share this wither everyone and I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did. It was pretty clever!

Maggie says of Isabella; “It seems that, given her love for both fashion and creating drama, she might best appear in the modern world as a teenaged blogger, such as xx_cutiepie22_xx, a “writer” on the fictitious site http://www.blogalot.com. Evidence of xx_cutiepie22_xx resembling Isabella Thorpe is as follows in this selected blog entry

Modern Day Isabella Thorpe

March 10th, 200-

Title: OMG!!!!!!!!1!!! New friendzzzzz!!!!!!!1

So, like, I was totally bummed when Mom said that we had to travel so she could “get over” Dad… like, I don’t get it, but whatev. At least I got some new clothes and stuff. I spent a ton of my money at like my two favorite stories EVER, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret. Like, OMG, I could totally shop there every day! Both places, I mean, cause like, they make me look so amazing and really, my sisters are just OK next to me. Daddy always said I was the pretty one, so I’m glad that Mom’s letting me spend his money… I just have to like find a guy that will let me spend his money too, cause, like, what else are boyfriends for????

So then, I get to go shopping and when I get back she’s all like “hey we’re going to Bath, which is a spa town” and I was all excited because, like, um the spa? Fabulous! I’ll come back looking better than I usually do! But then Mom was all, no, it’s the ancient city with “healing waters”-whatever, I am so not there for that. And the club scene is pretty happenin’ too and that will keep me busy. She said there’s like, a ton of shops and stuff too, so I can look totally HAWTTTTTT.

BTW, I totally met this really sweet girl, Catie, the other day. She’s pretty, like, you know, innocent, cause I think she came from one of those, you know, really big homeschooled families or something, because, like, she doesn’t know anything about fashion or what life is like in her little country town. It’s kinda a bummer, but then, like, it’s kinda fun too because I get to tell her, like, everything. I totally think we’re gonna be BFF, but maybe that’s just cause most of the people here are totally too full of themselves and like, I don’t know many people yet. So we get together to hang out every day because, like, seriously, we don’t have much else to do. I mean, my feet start hurting after all the walking I do here-shopping takes so much out of me. For realz.

I guess that’s all for now. We’re gonna go hike for a while with my brother Jack and her brother, Jimmy, who is so totally GORGEOUS! He’s an absolute babe and I think he’s got money too-apparently their family is rich, so that whole ton of kids thing is just cause the parents are weird.

Xoxo, Bella.

EDIT: OMG!!!1!! I totally hate Catie right now! She’s totally unfair cause, like, she was supposed to go hang out with this super rich girl named Eleanor (like, for real? Who names their kid that? Her parents obviously hate her) and we were all gonna go for a drive, me and Jack and Jimmy (BTW, I totally think that Jimmy is gonna ask me out, like to be his girlfriend for real, which would be totally amazing, cause like I said, he’s a babe), but Jack threw a total hissy fit because, like, it’s unfair for him to be alone while Jimmy and I are gazing into each other’s eyes (we’re going to have beautiful babies, like, I swear!) and I totally see his point, but stupid Catie wouldn’t give in and was all “oh, no I need to do this. I like Eleanor” blah blah blah. She’s just selfish and self-centered because even when I told her that we were BFF and that, OMG, I just couldn’t go without her, she insisted on having things her way. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE her!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!!

Xoxo, Bella

Guest blogger Maggie Lally

Guest blogger Maggie Lally

As the blog entry demonstrates, young women of Isabella Thorpe’s temperament still exist, since phony, fashion-conscious girls did not cease to exist after Jane Austen’s day. Bloggers like xx_cutiepie22_xx demonstrate, however ignorant they might be of Austen’s characters, that the fictional characters bear great resemblance to real life characters.

Austen was not writing merely of Bath society but showing the ignorance and folly of youth. Overall I loved Maggie’s Bella. I can just see her typing away on a blog pouring over gossip columns much like Isabella Thorpe poured over the Bath Arrivals book! Guess the world really doesn’t change. Until next week!

Virginia Claire

Virginia Claire our Austen at Large roving reporter is a college student studying English literature and history who just returned from her time studying abroad in Bath England and working as an intern at the Jane Austen Centre. She is the Regional Coordinator of JASNA North Carolina and a lifelong Janeite. She will be sharing her thoughts on all things Austen this semester and remembering her travels in Austenland.

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 15 Farewell!

Virginia Claire Tharrington and Jane Austen (statue) at the Jane Austen Centre, Bath (2008)

It has been a wonderful adventure, but Jane Austen Centre intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in for the last time before she departs for home in the US. Please give her a big hand and lots of thank you comments  for her weeks of wonderful commentary and photos that we all have enjoyed during these past three months!

By the time this blog is posted I will be on a plane home to the US. I truly can’t believe that my time in Bath is over. It feels like I have been here forever and yet at the same time it seems like I only left yesterday. This last week has revolved around turning in my dissertation, packing and saying good bye to everyone in my program and at the Jane Austen Centre. Here is a quick rundown of my days

Tuesday I was so excited to turn in my dissertation which ended up being 79 pages!! I cant believe I wrote that much. The body of the paper was only was about 39 pages and the rest was appendixes. (In which I included all of these articles I have been writing!). My dissertation was on Jane Austen adaptations and after I turned it in we of course went home and watched Pride and Prejudice, though I will never be able to fully enjoy and adaptation again without analyzing and critiquing it.

Virginia with the staff of the Jane Austen Centre (2008)

Virginia and the staff of the Jane Austen Centre at her farewell dinner.
L to R Virginia, Donna, Glynis, Terry, Chris, Clare, Sue and Judith.

Wednesday I had my Jane Austen exam which is the first exam that I can ever say I enjoyed writing. After my exam I went to the Jane Austen Centre to guide for the afternoon and then go out to dinner. We had such a wonderful dinner at the Italian restaurant next door. There were 9 of us from the Centre  and we had a fantastic dinner.

Chris, Virginia and Clare (Austen Centre staff)

Virginia (center) with Chris and Clare from the Austen Centre

I truly felt so loved in leaving dinner because everyone was so sweet and thoughtful to me. One of the highlights of this semester for me has been getting to know everyone at the Jane Austen Centre. They are too good to me and gave me so many wonderful gifts including a first edition copy of the Watson because that was what she started in Bath.

Virginia Claire Tharrington and Jackie Herring, Director of the Jane Austen Centre (2008)

Virginia and the Jane Austen Centre Director Jackie Herring

Thursday was my last day guiding at the Centre and I gave an excellent final talk yet avoided giving one after close to all the staff. Jackie was threatening me because none of the staff had heard my talk but luckily I didn’t have to because I would have been either really scared or laughing hysterically all throughout the talk.

Virginia Claire Tharrington and a close friend (2008)

Virginia and a close friend

After I carried Jane in for the last time (the statue out front of the Centre) I went home to pack up all my life here in Bath and get ready to head home.

Friday was a busy day full of packing, prepping and weighing my bags trying to keep them under weight yet to no avail. I just have too much stuff to pack, but I guess it is worth it. I have so much wonderful stuff from the Centre and all over England. We had our final ASE tea which was so lovely and internship coordinator teared up when I was talking to him. Of course I stopped by the Centre to tell everyone bye and to take a few more pictures! I will miss them all so much!

I can’t believe how fast the semester has gone and how much has happened. It feels almost surreal that I have been here for 3 1/2 months. I have learned so much about Jane Austen and about myself. I never thought I would have the guts to leave home and go abroad for the semester yet I did and it has been the best experience. Jane Austen has brought me to Bath and it has been so rewarding. I have gained confidence, as a public speaker and as a Jane Austen student. I have been giving introductory talks since September 18th and have been improving witheach one. I think what I have really gained most from the Centre was the experience of working with such wonderful and knowledgeable people. Each person in the Centre brings something new and different to the group which makes is so refreshing to know so many of them. They do not all fit into the mold of Janeites, yet they do all fit into the mold of passionate people. I have tried to reach out to everyone I work with and get to know them. The most wonderful part is that they all have reached out to me as well.

“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is  your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas. Henry Ford

I think this Henry Ford quote perfectly expresses what I have learned at the Jane Austen Centre. Passion is so important to everything we undertake. It can make something dull seem exciting and something trite seems exhilarating. I have tried to be enthusiastic about every task I undertake at the Jane Austen Centre weather it be shredding old files, giving talks or working in the gift shop. Being at the Jane Austen Centre brightens my day. I enjoy my time there not because of any one particular person or thing, but just the fact that I am surrounded by passionate people who I can talk about Jane Austen with.

Being able to grow in my knowledge of Jane Austen has been one of the highlights of my time in Bath. I have learned so much about her life and times. We do not have a lot of information about Jane Austen but perhaps one of the best ways to get to know her is through her novels. This I have been doing by re-reading all her works for class. I have gotten so much pleasure out of each them but the best part is that I have really enjoyed books, like Mansfield Park andNorthanger Abbey which use to give me trouble. In studying these two works more in-depth I have been able to see them as hidden gems.  Mansfield Parkparticularly I have found very enjoyable and yet not for any specific reason. I do not love the hero or heroine like I do FitzwilliamDarcy and Elizabeth Bennet, or I am engrossed with the Crawfords either. What I have found to be so enticing about re-reading this novel is that each time I have, I get something new and different out of it. Mansfield Park is not about any central character but rather the interpersonal relationships between this seemingly tight knit group of people, who come to find out that they do not know one another at all. My knowledge of Austen has grown so much through reading about her life, listening to talks and being at the Centre.

Virginia Claire Tharrington at the Jane Austen Festival (2008)

Virginia in Regency attire at the Jane Austen Festival (2008)

Studying Jane Austen in Bath has shown me that enthusiasm for a subject is essential. I love Jane Austen and her writings and hope that my time in Bath may lead me to pursue her further in my studies.  I have a passion sharing Austen with others and always want people to see the brilliance and humor of her writings. I think I have met with every project enthusiastically that the Centre has given me. Being there has shown me so much about what I am capable of, if I love what I am doing. I can write 12,000 words with ease, or talk to strangers for 20 minutes with excitement because I love what I am doing. Being the intern at the Jane Austen Centre has allowed me to explore my passions in a way that no other place could and I will have fond memories of it for the rest of my life. I have tried to live by the famous line from Northanger Abbey,If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village she must seek them aboard“. I have done this at the Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen brought me to Bath and it is because of her that I have enjoyed everything so much. I would also like to thank my boss at the Centre Jackie Herring for everything she has done for me this semester in allowing me to intern at the Centre and help at the festival and Andrew Butterworth my internship coordinator for ASW who helped me secure the internship and worked with me thought out everything.

The Jane Austen Centre logoUntil Next semester then! CHERRIO and OUT!

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

You can read all of Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern archives

Our most sincere thanks to Virginia for reporting to us on her experience at the Jane Austen Center and traveling in England. It has been such a delight to be included in her adventure. We are quite certain that Catherine Morland has approved! Please join Virginia next semester when she continues to chat with us about Jane Austen during her college studies in North Carolina.

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 14

The Jane Austen Centre Gift Shopp Holiday Teddy Bear Display (2008)

Holiday bear display in the Gift Shop window at the Jane Austen Centre

The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

Christmas is coming to the Jane Austen Centre, which as exciting as it is, means that I will be leaving soon. I had my final Jane Austen class this week with my tutor Felicity James. This has been such an amazing class partnered with my time at the Jane Austen Centre. I have been working diligently on my dissertation this past week. It is due on Tuesday so I hope it will be “ship shape and Bristol fashion”! I leave for home in a week. I cannot believe how the time has flown by. It does not seem like that long ago that I was just arriving in Bath wide eyed and ready to go. I am still enjoying every minute of Bath but it has become comfortable, which it should, and has really begun to feel like home in some ways. Though I am missing my family more and more at the beginning of this Christmas season!

The first Christams tree exhibit at the Jane Austen Centre

Christmas exhibit at the Jane Austen Centre (2008)

Christmas at the Centre has been coming on rather slowly after Memorial Sunday but this last week it has been kicked into high gear. (Perhaps I am just noticing it more this week since it is after Thanksgiving). There have been Christmas Markets, Christmas Music, Christmas Carols and all sorts of other festive things. The Centre itself is changed in the exhibition. There are red Virginia's collection of Pride and Prejudice editionsboards talking about Christmas in Jane Austen’s novels, from Emma to Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. It must have been a lovely time of year for the Austen’s with family coming to visit and the houses full of people and spirit. It makes me miss my family a little in this Christmas season and though I will see them very soon, I was sad to not be with them for Thanksgiving. Nothing means Christmas to me more than family and it seems like that what Christmas meant to Jane as well. People coming to stay and visit seems to be what Christmas focused on, like the Gardiners coming to visit the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice, Emma going to the Christmas Eve party and the very loud Musgrove children at Christmas. The decorations at the Centre have been lovely for Christmas. There are holly, wreaths, berries, and every other kind of greenery. The story of the first Christmas tree is also in the exhibition. It has really become a festive time of year and I have even started buying presents! (Because I want to prove that I have bought things other than copies of Pride and Prejudice… I have 25 that I got in England now!!)

Virginia Claire Tharrington and her Jane Austen classmates (2008)

Virginia and her Jane Austen classmates

For our final Jane Austen class we talked about the second half of Persuasion and focused on the changed ending. I think the alternate ending is to die for and that she made the right decision to change it. Persuasion is one of my favorite novels it was great to end with it because it because it is a wonderful Bath novel!  The last part of class though we had a little party. Felicity made little cakes, like ones Jane herself might have eaten, and we did charades and learned about Bullet Pudding. If you don’t know what Bullet Pudding is here is a part of a letter from Jane’s niece Fanny in 1804 explaining it.

“I was surprised to hear that you did not know what a Bullet Pudding is, but as you don’t I will endeavour to describe it as follows: You must have a large pewter dish filled with flour which you must pile up into a sort of pudding with a peek at top. You must then lay a bullet at top and everybody cuts a slice of it, and the person that is cutting it when it falls must poke about with their noses and chins till they find it and then take it out with their mouths of which makes them strange figures all covered with flour but the worst is that you must not laugh for fear of the flour getting up your nose and mouth and choking you: You must not use your hands in taking the Bullet out.” (letter Godmersham Park, 17 January 1804)

Now I don’t know about everyone else, but I can see Jane Austen playing Bullet Pudding and having a blast at it. It seems as if the Austen’s might have been a jolly bunch at Christmas time. Perhaps I will convince my family to try it this year.

Virginia Claire Tharrington and her Jane Austen class instructor Felicity James (2008)

Virginia and her Jane Austen class instructor Felicity James

After Jane Austen class and working at the Centre my time this week has been FOCUSED on my dissertation which is due on Tuesday. It is coming along nicely and I have already gone over the minimum word count so I am not worried about that aspect of it at all, I just want to make sure it is the best piece of work I can put forth. My paper itself is on Jane Austen Adaptations and the agenda that each of the films take with Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. I have been very interested in my paper because I have very decided opinions about many adaptations so this has been a way for me to express my frustrations and delights for many of the older and newer movies and miniseries.

As my time in Bath is coming to an end I cannot help but start to think about everything that has happened and how much I have learned from this experience. It has truly been a dream come true!

The Jane Austen Centre logoTill next week then!

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, the Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read all of Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern Archives

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 13

Virginia Claire and Buck Tharrington, Bath, England (2008)

Virginia Claire and brother Buck Tharrington at the Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

A Brother Comes and learns about Jane

My brother Buck came this week to visit me in Bath with our family friend Matt. It was so wonderful to see them and show them around Bath. On Monday they came to the Jane Austen Centre to see me and hear my introductory talk. It went over very well. We did not have many people which was probably good because it was not my best talk. Every time I looked at my brother he was either pretending to be asleep on Matt’s shoulder, or covering is mouth with his guide so I could not see him busting out laughing. Needless to say, it was a little distracting but I just stopped looking at him and got it done. The boys did say I did do a good job which was nice of them considering I know they are not that interested in Jane Austen… but they should be. Matt is reading Pride and Prejudice in class so I have been talking to him about that which was cool.

The Royal Crescent, Bath England taken by Bryan26 at Flickr

The Royal Crescent, Bath, England*

I also took the boys on a semi Jane Austen walking tour which they ended up enjoying more than I thought they would. We started at the Royal Crescent, then walked the gravel walk like in Persuasion, after that we took a picture with Martin at the Jane Austen Centre.

Buck, Martin & Matt at the Jane Austen Centre, Bath (2008)

Buck, Martin & Matt at the Jane Austen Centre

Virginia visiting Jane Austen's home at 4 Sydney Place, Bath (2008)

Virginia visiting Jane Austen’s former home at 4 Sydney Place, Bath

We then walked across town to see Jane Austen’s house at 4 Sydney Place and to look in the Pump Rooms. They liked walking around and seeing all the places. I don’t know if it was because I told them that if they walk around to Jane Austen place with me that I would let them go shopping for soccer jerseys or if they were just really interested in Jane Austen in Bath. For some reason I think it might have had something to do with bribery.

Pump-room, Bath (2008)

Pump-room, Bath, England

Austen is all around Bath and I went on a Jane Austen walking tour a few weeks ago, which allowed me to show the boys all the different places. Terry from the Jane Austen Centre is in charge of all the walking tours and does a great job with them. I love Mondays because Terry always works and I always feel like I learn a lot from him. The walking tour includes the Pump Room, the Assembly Rooms, the Circus and several other places scattered around Bath. I also went to see George Austen’s grave at St. Swithin’s Church.

Virginia at St. Swithin's Church, Bath (2008)

Virginia at St. Swithin’s Church, Bath

Rev. George Austen's grave, St. Swithin's Churchyard, Bath The inscription on his grave stone reads…

“Under this stone rests the remains of

the Revd. George Austen

Rector of Steventon and Deane in Hampshire

who departed this life

the 1st. of January 1805

aged 75 years.”

Having my brother Buck here this week has been so amazing because I was able to share Bath with him and Matt. I was also very glad to show them Jane Austen’s Bath because I think it is important to show guys that Jane Austen is not just reading for girls. I hope that Buck will read Pride and Prejudice next year and that Matt will enjoy it in the next couple of weeks. We will see. Matt at least told me that he liked Elizabeth and thought Darcy was a jerk… but he isn’t through the book yet. I will be sad to see the boys go tomorrow but I might be able to get some work done after they leave. I have been working on my dissertation on Jane Austen adaptations but I need to get most of it done this next week!

The Jane Austen Centre logoTill next time! CHERRIO

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read Virginia’s other reports in the Austen Intern Archives

*Photo of The Royal Crescent by Bryan26 at Flickr

An Austen Intern Reports in From The Jane Austen Centre: Week 12

Mansfield Park (1999) Henry Crawford, Maria Bertram and Mr. Rushworth

The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

Secondary characters in Austen and in life

This week has been a slightly crazy one for me again because we have had our second round of papers due for my Jane Austen class. I have also been working on my dissertation which will focus on Jane Austen adaptations and the agenda’s that I perceive that the movies take verse what I think Jane Austen’s agenda was in writing the novels. It should be interesting and I will keep everyone posted on its developments. I think I will just be ranting in parts of it ; ) but we will see.  My paper topic for this week was on a Virginia Woolf quote saying “She wishes neither to reform nor to annihilate; she is silent, and that is terrific indeed.  One after another she creates her fools, her prigs, her worldlings…She encircles them with the lash of a whip-like phrase, which, as it runs round them, cuts out their silhouettes forever.” I took this topic and focused on secondary characters in Mansfield Park, particularly Maria and Rushworth because I enjoy them so much. She draws them both so deliberately and perfectly. Rushworth particular has some of the best line of the narrator’s scorn and yet his bride does not fair much better. Maria’s reasons for matrimony are scorned and her actions with Crawford are condoned yet she is such a wonderful character still.  Austen does shape secondary character so beautifully. With Mansfield Park it seems that its secondary characters are the most memorable at times. (Don’t get me wrong here I do like Fanny and Edmund yet I think other characters have better lines and commentaries).

Mansfield Park (2007), Maria and Mr. Rushworth

I was talking with some of the other guides at the Jane Austen Centre about these secondary characters and they too pointed out their love/disgust at people like Rushworth. One guide pointed out that the Bertrams and Rushworth’s have every advantage over Fanny in education, status and rank and yet it is Fanny who ends up the heroine. Mary Crawford I think particularly can fit into the mold of a faulty education. Many of the phrases Mary Crawford is known for are things that I feel like could come out of Elizabeth’s Bennet’s mouth (though with more propriety and obvious exceptions). Perhaps Austen is commenting on a London education and how little it could do for a girl. Perhaps Mary would have been more like Elizabeth had she been raised in the country rather than in town. But we shall never know. All I want to point out is that Mary Crawford is a lot like Elizabeth except with town thrown in.  It is interesting to think about at least.

As for more about secondary characters in Jane Austen, what about secondary characters in life? I sometimes wish that I had the delineating wit that Jane Austen had to cut so far and so fast into people. Everyone knows people like Rushworth or Maria in life… or at least people who share some of the qualities and I think it is one of the beautiful things about Austen because I seem to enjoy these people more after reading her. I think Austen’s secondary characters show, me at least, that there are reasons and people to laugh at every day. We just have to find them. Jane was severe to be sure yet sometimes severity doesn’t hurt. I am not going to publish a novel of the fools I encounter; I am just trying to make it through college sane and in one piece. I think Austen can help show us how to do this by finding those little quarks that can make us laugh and reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously. So though I do not have any Rushworth’s or Maria’s in my life I think they can remind us to look around, see the world, and laugh!

Cheerio till next week! My brother is coming to visit so the post will be about brothers and sister…. I think my brother more of the William Price type, though his correspondence is not as constant as William’s!

The Jane Austen Centre logo

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read the archives of An Austen Intern Reports In

NEWS FLASH! Virginia is featured in the November issue of The Jane Austen Centre newsletter. You can subscribe to receive your very own newsletter e-mailed monthly.

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 10

Virgina Claire Tharrington and her Austen class group at Chawton (2008)

Virginia Claire Tharrington (center) visiting Chawton Cottage (2008)

The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

First Trip Home (trip to Chawton)

Friday I saw one of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. My Jane Austen class went on our study trip to Winchester and Chawton. It was amazing and one of the best days of my entire time here.

Virginia Claire Tharrington at College Street home of Jane Austen, Winchester (2008)

Virginia in front of Jane Austen’s last home on College Street, Winchester

We started out at the house on College Street in Winchester where Jane Austen spent her last days and died in Cassandra’s arms. Though we did not get to go inside the house because it is in private hands it was interesting to see this house that she spent her last months in. Cassandra had brought Jane to Winchester in 1817 to seek medical care but the doctors could barely help with the pain much less with the real problem (which is now believed to be Addison’s disease). The house is a simple building but it is beside the College and Jane’s bedroom is supposed to have overlooked the headmaster’s garden.

Virginia Claire Tharrington visiting Jane Austen's grave at Winchester Cathedral (2008)

Virginia at the graveside of Jane Austen at Winchester Cathedral

After this we went to Winchester Cathedral to see her grave. I thought it was very interesting that only 4 people attended her funeral, 3 brothers and a nephew. Cassandra did not attend her beloved sister’s funeral because in that time it was not customary for women to attend. This struck me as very sad because the sisters were so close and loving. Jane Austen’s grave was very interesting as well because though it is a loving memorial it does not mention anything about her being a writer. It is not till later many years after her death that the plaque was added that says Jane Austen was a famous writer. We stopped at her grave and I was very touched by it if only because it is sort of ironic that at her death she was only known as a parson’s daughter but yet she was buried in one of the largest churches in England. But now her fame has risen to the height that she is the most visited person in the church. We later saw Mrs. Austen and Cassandra’s grave at the little Church at Chawton and thought I think she would better fit there; I think she would be amused at the fact that she is so popular now.  Winchester was a lovely town but I was very excited to move on to see Chawton Cottage and Manor House.

Virginia Claire Tharrington visiting Jane Austen's desk at Chawton Cottage, Hampshire (2008)

Virginia visiting Jane’s desk at Chawton Cottage, Hampshire

Chawton Cottage was a lovely house though it was much bigger than we had expected. I was most excited to see the little table where Jane had written her letter. I did get to see this and I even touched (though you are not suppose to). It was amazing to see this little table on which she rewrote or composed some of the world’s greatest novels. I thought it was also interesting that Jane and Cassandra shared a room while they were at Chawton though there were 6 bedrooms. I would like to believe that these beloved sisters took so much enjoyment from one another that they could not be parted and I suspect that some of their best times were at night when it was just the two of them.  The house is most wonderful and that I am so glad we got to see it.

Virginia Claire Tharrington in front of Chawton Manor House (2008)

Virginia in front of Chawton Manor, Hampshire

Chawton Manor was our next and last stop. Chawton Manor was owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward and it was passed down until it fell into disrepair after WWI. We went to see the library which has been started by an America member of JASNA. It is a fantastic library of early women writers. We saw first editions of Cecilia which is where Jane Austen could have gotten the title for Pride and Prejudice. It was a wonderful resource and I hope to one day to go back and research there.

This trip has been so wonderful. It has really been a dream come true. To see where Jane wrote and loved so dearly. I can see why she was so eager to leave Bath and go back to the country.  It felt almost as if I was going home, well maybe not to my home but to Jane’s which is just as good! : )

The Jane Austen Centre logoCheers until next week.

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern archives

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 9

The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

Jane Austen goes abroad and comes back to Bath!

Last week was on mid-semester break so I was off to Amsterdam and Prague with my friends for the several days. But this week was not spent separated from Jane Austen. No, on the contrary I bring her where ever I go! So naturally I was not only reading Mansfield Park on my travels but also picking up copies of Pride and Prejudice in both Dutch and Czech. I am a collector of copies of Pride and Prejudice and though I have several copies in other languages I did not have one in Dutch or Czech. I thought it was very strange because it took me much longer to find a shop with P&P in it in Amsterdam than it did in Prague. Several of the book stores I went in Prague had the whole Austen set plus a biography while in Amsterdam it took me 3 days to find a store with just P&P. I thought it was remarkable that both copies had Keira Knightley on the cover. This was the only thing that bothered me because many people know how I dislike the newest version of P&P and that I hate that it gets referenced to the book. I guess little can be expected and that if someone sees the movies and then sees a book cover that makes them pick up and read the book then it may be ok but I cannot stand the movie taking the place of the book.

I think it is so amazing that Jane Austen is so international. She has been translated into countless languages and though I have several different languages, I know I am nowhere near the total number of translations. It is remarkable that so many people all over the world can be drawn to one English middle class woman writer who was writing about the English countryside and just a few families in it. But Jane is so much more than that I feel. She deals with timeless issues like love, family and money and I don’t know more significant themes for today’s world though we take them on very differently. Her wit is timeless as well as her irony. Though I cannot read Czech, I can tell you what, “Světem panuje skálopevné přesvědčení že svobodný muž který má slušné jmění, se neobejde bez ženušky“, means. It is one of the best lines in the literature, “It is a true universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” I guess it is universally acknowledge because this line has been translated to languages all over the world!

But now I am settled back in Bath with two new copies of Pride and Prejudice and very happy to be back at the Jane Austen Centre. I was home sick a little for the first time over break and I think that was because I was not at the Centre which feels so much like home while I am in Bath. I know it sounds cliché but the staff at the Centre is so wonderful and I enjoy being around them so much that it really feels like a little family.  Being back has been wonderful though we have been very busy because of half term in the schools. Some of my housemates have started to come to the Centre to hear my talk and take the tour, though they have all heard my talk because I practiced on them before I started giving them at the Centre. The girls really enjoyed my talk and then we went up and had a lovely snack in the tea rooms before going down to the exhibition. All and all, it has been good to be home in Bath and back at the Jane Austen Centre, though when I go abroad Jane comes with me ; ).

Cheers until next week.

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern archives

An Austen Intern Reports in from The Jane Austen Centre: Week 8

The ultimate Austen adventure continues with our featured weekly columnist, Virginia Claire Tharrington straight from the trenches of Austen central, The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England where she is interning until December. Join her every Saturday as she shares with us her incredible adventure that every Janeite, and even Austen’s heroine Catherine Morland would envy.

I cannot believe my time in Bath is half way over. It seems like I only arrived here yesterday yet so much has happened between my arrival and now. I sometimes feel like a very different person though I know I haven’t changed that much I feel like I have only grown. I know my love and knowledge of Jane Austen has grown which I am very thankful for. Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about what I will be doing when I am done with my internship and studying abroad. I will be going home for my second semester of my junior year. It seems like college has flown by so quickly as well and I don’t know where it has all gone to. While I have been in Bath I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life and though I am not much closer to figuring it out definitely, I know I want it to involve Jane Austen. As I told my Jane Austen class in our first day, I cannot imagine my life without Jane. They all laughed and I do too looking back on the statement but then again… who or what would I be without Jane Austen, I am sure I do not know… although I know I would not be half so smart or witty without her  ; ). Of course there is a little tongue and cheek here but I really do think that Jane Austen has greatly impacted my life… she did bring me to Bath after all and that has done enough already.  Perhaps I will teach when I get done with school or perhaps I will go on to grad school. Everything is so up in the air right now but I do know that Jane Austen will be in my life for many years. : )

(On a less pouring out my soul note)

I have not been at the Jane Austen Centre this week because it was half term, but I did send them postcards from Amsterdam and Prague! I will have much more news next week when I am at the Centre again but until then know that Bath is beautiful but yet a little rainy and that everything is going well!

Cheers till next weekend!

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England

Read Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern archives

An Austen Intern Reports in From The Jane Austen Centre: Week 7

The ultimate Austen adventure continues with our featured weekly columnist, Virginia Claire Tharrington straight from the trenches of Austen central, The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England where she is interning until December. Join her every Saturday as she shares with us her incredible adventure that every Janeite, and even Austen’s heroine Catherine Morland would envy.

This week has been another kind of quite one at the Jane Austen Centre. I have continued to give talks and work in the gift shop. The one major accomplishment of the week came yesterday when I gave my first talk without any notes. I wish I could say I decided to not take my notes up or that I had them with me and just found myself to not need them but neither are true. I had forgotten them so I was kinda forced to either give a talk or stand in front of a group of people and just stare at them. I choose to do the first as one would imagine and it went off very well. I found that my talk began to flow very easily from me and though I still struggle with a few transitions I have found it to be going much better. This week my study abroad coordinator from Meredith College was also visiting Bath because she and her husband have a house here so they came to hear my talk which I was very excited for them to hear because I wanted someone from home to know exactly what I have been up to these last six weeks. I do not think she was disappointed in the least with my talk and in fact she said that she pitied my Jane Austen teacher next semester because I would know so much.  I do feel like my knowledge of Jane Austen has grown and strengthened while I have been here. I think my knowledge of Austen has become more focused on her life and her time in Bath especially! She is a fascinating person no matter how you study her but I think by looking at her family and her letters you start to get a fuller picture of Jane.

The other project that I have been doing this week was to take a survey about how people found out about the Centre and to see if they were enjoying the tea rooms. The tea rooms were getting rave reviews with an average score or about 9 or so which I thought was very good. The tea rooms are a lovely spot. Jackie, Andrew and I were up there for my interview when I first started and it was lovely. I have not worked in them as some interns have but that is probably for the best of the tea rooms. I doubt I am the best waitress and I know I am not a good tea maker unless tea bags are included. I have enjoyed being up there though for events during the festival or a hen party that I worked at (a hen party is a mix between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party depending on the bride). The fun thing about the tea rooms is that they are run by a really nice girl named Sarah and the fact they have fun things like Darcy Millionaire shortbread cake and such. I think it just makes the Centre a little more special if you take tea there as well. I have been meaning to take tea up there but I feel bad skipping out on working to go have tea upstairs and I haven’t had my friends come visit me yet but when they come I will defiantly be taking them to our lovely regency tea rooms.

Cheers till next weekend! I am off to Amsterdam and Prague this next week for break and I don’t know how much Jane Austen I will be studying except reading Mansfield Park for class but perhaps I may pick up a couple copies of Pride and Prejudice for my collection.

Cheers until next week,

Virginia Claire Tharrington

Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England