Alert Janeite Paola, who keeps an eye on the Francophone Janeite news for us, passed on a link to a French edition of Emma with a cover illustrated by the fashion designer Christian Lacroix. M. Lacroix has illustrated covers for nine classic novels, which are available separately or together in a limited edition slipcase.
Several Alert Janeites sent us this article last week, mostly accompanied by incoherent swooning and exclamations. It is an edited version of novelist Jay McInerney’s essay in the book A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen. We didn’t post the article at the time, having read it apparently in a cranky mood and planning a proper spork-fisking. However, we were too busy and stressed-out last week to do it, and on a re-read of the piece we can’t find much worth getting out the spork and Cluebat for, except to say that considering his comments about Catherine Morland, Mr. McInerney is no Henry Tilney. *dusts off hands* So there is the article, go read it and swoon.
And just to prove we’re really not THAT cranky, the Editrix is actually a fan of Mr. McInerney’s work. Her copy of his second novel, Ransom, has been read quite literally to pieces (three of them) and is held together by a rubber band. We’re not sure if that is a testament to our fondness for the work or a condemnation of modern bindery practices, but there it is.
According to the Wall Street Journal blog China Real Time Report, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan likes to relax from his no doubt stressful job with a Jane Austen novel.
So which is Wang’s favorite? British journalists based in Beijing were keen to know.
“Sense and Sensibility,” published in 1811, in which two sisters learn the importance of balancing logic and emotion when it comes to matters amorous, is, according to Osborne, the vice premier’s pick of the Austen oeuvre.
In her new book, Talking About Detective Fiction, detective novelist and Friend of Jane P.D. James discusses Emma as an example of detective fiction. From the Wall Street Journal review of the book:
In an opening chapter that brings in both Trollope and Charles Dickens, Lady James sends the reader speeding to the Austen shelf to pull down “the most interesting example of a mainstream novel which is also a detective story.” That would be “Emma,” Jane Austen’s tale of the young, self-appointed matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, who is not as clever as she thinks. What is the secret in the novel? The “unrecognized relationships” between characters caught up in Emma’s romantic machinations, says Lady James, adding: “The story is confined to a closed society in a rural setting, which was to become common in detective fiction, and Jane Austen deceives us with cleverly constructed clues.”
The idea of Emma as a detective story is not new, but we like the idea of Emma as a cozy mystery!
Alert Janeite Paola sent us a link about Jennifer Garner’s mothering skills:
Garner may know more about motherhood than she lets on, however.
“Most of the time that I did spend with her when it was off-set, Violet was cooking with her, or reading Jane Austen, or doing one of these remarkable things that Violet tends to do,” producer Lynda Obst told PEOPLE.
Hopefully she’s taking a few lessons on how not to be a Mrs. Bennet!
Alert Janeite Paola, who keeps us up-to-date with French Jane Austen news, let us know that the actress and singer Jane Birkin has admitted to being an F.O.J.:
Vos écrivains préférés ?
Les frères Rolin. Sinon, il y a bien sûr les Anglais. Dickens, toujours avant de dormir, très drôle, et Jane Austen, pour pleurer. Il y aussi Benjamin Constant, Flaubert et Céline grâce à Serge, et Dorothy Parker pour maman et Lou.
English translation from Paola: “Dickens, always before sleeping, very funny, and Jane Austen, for crying.”
Author Iain Banks outs himself as a Janeite to the Guardian.
Talking of his habit for shock plot twists, he said: “There’s good provenance for this: Jane Austen was great at it. If it’s good enough for Jane Austen, it’s jolly well good enough for me. I worship at the woman’s feet.”
Oh, well, join the club.