Jane Austen’s Birthday Giveaway #3: A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo DeVito

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We have two copies of A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo DeVito

From the publisher:

Filled with the remarkable wit and insight of one of the world’s most cherished authors, A Jane Austen Christmas gives readers insight into Austen’s life through little-known stories about how she and her family celebrated the treasured holiday season.

Carlo DeVito provides an intimate portrait of Austen’s most cherished Christmas memories with her family: from the gift of her first writing desk, to her first love and heartbreak, to her brewing mead and beer in time for the holidays. Along the way readers will spend a holiday in the Austen house, celebrate Jane’s birthday, meet the inspiration for more than a dozen characters, attend the Christmastide series of balls, and learn how to make family’s favorite recipes and dedicate a novel to the Prince Regent. Remarkably fresh and supremely entertaining, A Jane Austen Christmas brings Austen’s world to life as never before.

Incidentally, the Editrix wrote the introduction! The publisher has kindly provided two copies for a giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below with a valid email address in the email field, so that we can get your address if you win. The email won’t be shared. Comments will close at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time, Sunday, December 20, 2015. We will choose a random commenter to win. Only one comment in the thread will count as an entry. Sorry, this is for readers in the U.S. only.

“There’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place.”

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In honor of Veterans Day and Armistice Day, a link to the text of Rudyard Kipling’s story “The Janeites,” about a group of British World War I soldiers who loved Jane Austen. Thanks to all the men and women of the armed services of the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and all our allies for their service. And thanks to Alert Janeite DeeDee for posting a link on Facebook and making us think of it!

‘Well, as pore Macklin said, it’s a very select Society, an’ you’ve got to be a Janeite in your ’eart, or you won’t have any success. An’ yet he made me a Janeite! I read all her six books now for pleasure ’tween times in the shop; an’ it brings it all back—down to the smell of the glue-paint on the screens. You take it from me, Brethren, there’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place. Gawd bless ’er, whoever she was.’

Edited because the U.S. is not the only country commemorating this day.

Your Sunday Austen Meditation

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Today’s lesson is for all those with candy and costume hangovers. Spooky is fun, but then the next day comes, and we’re back to real life! From Northanger Abbey, Volume II, Chapter V (20):

He smiled, and said, “You have formed a very favourable idea of the abbey.”

“To be sure, I have. Is not it a fine old place, just like what one reads about?”

“And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as ‘what one reads about’ may produce? — Have you a stout heart? — Nerves fit for sliding pannels and tapestry?”

“Oh! yes — I do not think I should be easily frightened, because there would be so many people in the house — and besides, it has never been uninhabited and left deserted for years, and then the family come back to it unawares, without giving any notice, as generally happens.”

“No, certainly. — We shall not have to explore our way into a hall dimly lighted by the expiring embers of a wood fire — nor be obliged to spread our beds on the floor of a room without windows, doors, or furniture. But you must be aware that when a young lady is (by whatever means) introduced into a dwelling of this kind, she is always lodged apart from the rest of the family. While they snugly repair to their own end of the house, she is formally conducted by Dorothy, the ancient housekeeper, up a different staircase, and along many gloomy passages, into an apartment never used since some cousin or kin died in it about twenty years before. Can you stand such a ceremony as this? Will not your mind misgive you when you find yourself in this gloomy chamber — too lofty and extensive for you, with only the feeble rays of a single lamp to take in its size — its walls hung with tapestry exhibiting figures as large as life, and the bed, of dark green stuff or purple velvet, presenting even a funereal appearance? Will not your heart sink within you?”

“Oh! but this will not happen to me, I am sure.”

“How fearfully will you examine the furniture of your apartment! — And what will you discern? — Not tables, toilettes, wardrobes, or drawers, but on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a ponderous chest which no efforts can open, and over the fire-place the portrait of some handsome warrior, whose features will so incomprehensibly strike you, that you will not be able to withdraw your eyes from it. Dorothy, meanwhile, no less struck by your appearance, gazes on you in great agitation, and drops a few unintelligible hints. To raise your spirits, moreover, she gives you reason to suppose that the part of the abbey you inhabit is undoubtedly haunted, and informs you that you will not have a single domestic within call. With this parting cordial she curtseys off — you listen to the sound of her receding footsteps as long as the last echo can reach you — and when, with fainting spirits, you attempt to fasten your door, you discover, with increased alarm, that it has no lock.”

“Oh! Mr. Tilney, how frightful! — This is just like a book! — But it cannot really happen to me. I am sure your housekeeper is not really Dorothy. — Well, what then?”

“Nothing further to alarm perhaps may occur the first night. After surmounting your unconquerable horror of the bed, you will retire to rest, and get a few hours’ unquiet slumber. But on the second, or at farthest the third night after your arrival, you will probably have a violent storm. Peals of thunder so loud as to seem to shake the edifice to its foundation will roll round the neighbouring mountains — and during the frightful gusts of wind which accompany it, you will probably think you discern (for your lamp is not extinguished) one part of the hanging more violently agitated than the rest. Unable of course to repress your curiosity in so favourable a moment for indulging it, you will instantly arise, and throwing your dressing-gown around you, proceed to examine this mystery. After a very short search, you will discover a division in the tapestry so artfully constructed as to defy the minutest inspection, and on opening it, a door will immediately appear — which door, being only secured by massy bars and a padlock, you will, after a few efforts, succeed in opening — and, with your lamp in your hand, will pass through it into a small vaulted room.”

“No, indeed; I should be too much frightened to do any such thing.”

nabrockwc18“What! not when Dorothy has given you to understand that there is a secret subterraneous communication between your apartment and the chapel of St. Anthony, scarcely two miles off — Could you shrink from so simple an adventure? No, no, you will proceed into this small vaulted room, and through this into several others, without perceiving anything very remarkable in either. In one perhaps there may be a dagger, in another a few drops of blood, and in a third the remains of some instrument of torture; but there being nothing in all this out of the common way, and your lamp being nearly exhausted, you will return towards your own apartment. In repassing through the small vaulted room, however, your eyes will be attracted towards a large, old-fashioned cabinet of ebony and gold, which, though narrowly examining the furniture before, you had passed unnoticed. Impelled by an irresistible presentiment, you will eagerly advance to it, unlock its folding doors, and search into every drawer; — but for some time without discovering anything of importance — perhaps nothing but a considerable hoard of diamonds. At last, however, by touching a secret spring, an inner compartment will open — a roll of paper appears: you seize it — it contains many sheets of manuscript — you hasten with the precious treasure into your own chamber, but scarcely have you been able to decipher ‘Oh! thou — whomsoever thou mayst be, into whose hands these memoirs of the wretched Matilda may fall’ — when your lamp suddenly expires in the socket, and leaves you in total darkness.”

“Oh! No, no — do not say so. Well, go on.”

But Henry was too much amused by the interest he had raised to be able to carry it farther; he could no longer command solemnity either of subject or voice, and was obliged to entreat her to use her own fancy in the perusal of Matilda’s woes.

Here endeth the lesson. A belated Happy Halloween from the Editrix and Dorothy!

Emma in America Exhibition and Website at Goucher College Library

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I was really happy to attend the opening event for Goucher College Library’s Emma in America exhibition. And don’t forget to check out their new website, Emma in America!

This Delightful Habit of Journaling

emma_in_americaI was thrilled to take a drive down to Baltimore recently for the opening reception for Goucher College Library’s Emma in America exhibit, celebrating 200 years of Jane Austen’s novel (which actually was published in late 2015, though the title page says 2016) as well as the 200th anniversary of the first publication of one of Austen’s novels in the U.S., also Emma, by Mathew Carey of Philadelphia. 

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The Philosophy of Jane Austen

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This video from the School of Life YouTube channel presents an introduction to Jane Austen and her work from a philosophical point of view.

Team O’Toole!Darcy, Represent!

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Darcy of Arabia. We're pretty sure we've read that fan fiction.

Darcy of Arabia. We’re pretty sure we’ve read that fan fiction.

We were amused by an article by Devoney Looser in The Independent in which she talks about the various adaptations of Pride and Prejudice over the years, and the various Mr. Darcys. Olivier vs. Rintoul vs. Firth vs. Macfadyen is old news, but Devoney mentions a planned 1974 big-screen adaptation that never got made, featuring Peter O’Toole (!!!) as Darcy and… no one in particular for Elizabeth. Now, had they been making the film ten years earlier, when O’Toole was fresh off Lawrence of Arabia, he would have been the Hottest Darcy Ever™ (sorry, Colin and Larry, but it’s true). In 1974? We don’t know. After one has played Mr. Chips, however brilliantly, can one believably play Mr. Darcy?

Watch your possessives there, luv

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na_cover_vintageBecause we’re pretty sure any obsession with sex in Northanger Abbey wasn’t Jane Austen’s.

Also, if you’re going to talk about “Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey” (an idea we can get behind), don’t direct people to Hulu to watch it. Direct them to the book to read it.