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In which Jane Austen converses with the King under the Mountain

December 25, 2013

jane_and_thorin

Thorin Oakenshield: Miss Austen?

Jane Austen: Yes, your majesty?

Thorin: You could just call me Thorin, you know, and I’ll call you Jane.

Jane: You shall call me Miss Austen, your majesty.

Thorin: *mutters* deep cleansing breath…be cool, Oakenshield, be cool…

Jane: I beg your pardon?

Thorin: Nothing, madam. Only that I thought, since we shall be sharing such close quarters…

Jane: Yes?

Thorin: Well….

Jane: Yes?

Thorin: Would you perhaps like to see my large Elven sword?

Jane: Would you perhaps like to have my quill pen inserted into your ear with extreme prejudice?

Thorin: *snicker* Do you mean with extreme PRIDE and prejudice? *snort*

Jane: *sighs loudly*

Thorin: *mutters* damn damn damn damn…

Jane: I beg your pardon?

Thorin: Nothing, madam.

Jane: Mmm.

Some videos for your Christmas entertainment

December 25, 2013

First, a preview of yet another version of P&P1995–this time, a Blu-ray edition with extras. Sadly, can’t embed it, apparently, but you can pop over to the Entertainment Weekly site to watch.

In addition to the classic story, the new version will include extras such as a featurette celebrating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s most popular novel, and two featurettes exploring love, courtship, money, and social class in early 19th-century England.

Secondly, something rather more earthy. Heather L. brought this to our attention on Facebook–we had seen it before but forgot about it and it made us laugh, so we are sharing. The language is earthy, but bleeped, and the literary analysis excellent. Jane be slingin’ irony all day, e’er day.

Enjoy, and have a good day!

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

December 16, 2013

theletterI’m a little late in the day with my remembrances, but they are nonetheless heartfelt.

For these birthday posts, I usually post a quotation that has directly to do with Jane herself. This year, I had a hard time thinking of something that felt satisfactory. I’ve long felt (and perhaps this is projection) that Jane, as an author, would consider her work her best remembrance. Thus, I’m sharing the passage that turned me from a casual Jane Austen reader to a lifelong fan. It’s not hyperbole to say that it changed my life. From Persuasion, Vol. II, Ch. XI:

Mrs. Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his letter with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated air, which shewed impatience to be gone. Anne know not how to understand it. She had the kindest “Good morning, God bless you!” from Captain Harville, but from him not a word, nor a look! He had passed out of the room without a look!

She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened, it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves, and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, he drew out a letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a time, and hastily collecting his gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs. Musgrove was aware of his being in it: the work of an instant!

The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to “Miss A. E.–,” was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily. While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also addressing her! On the contents of that letter depended all which this world could do for her. Anything was possible, anything might be defied rather than suspense. Mrs. Musgrove had little arrangements of her own at her own table; to their protection she must trust, and sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following words:

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”

Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from.

It’s been some twenty years since I read it, and I haven’t recovered from it yet. Thanks, Jane. I hope all the love from Janeites all over the world today reached you beyond the ether.

Quotable

December 5, 2013

wpid-368916.jpg“You’ll be fascinated to learn (from me that hates novels) that I finally got round to Jane Austen and went out of my mind over Pride & Prejudice which I can’t bring myself to bring back to the library till you find me a copy of my own.” – Letter from Helene Hanff to Frank Doel at Marks & Co., Booksellers, May 11, 1952, as quoted in the book 84, Charing Cross Road, which if you haven’t read you should do so immediately

Death Comes to Pemberley Trailer

December 4, 2013

Our reaction after the jump:

Read more…

Quotable

November 13, 2013

“The process by which academic critics deprecate Austenian admirers outside the academy is very similar to the way…trekkies, fans, and mass media enthusiasts are derided and marginalized by dominant cultural institutions bent on legitimizing their own objects and protocols of expertise.” – Claudia L. Johnson, “Austen cults and cultures,” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

Countenance

November 10, 2013

Once again the Janeite world (and the Muggle press that insists on blowing these things all out of proportion) are creating a controversy out of nothing over images of Jane Austen.

Sotheby’s is auctioning a fake portrait of Jane Austen next month. As fake portraits go, this one is probably slightly less fake than some others. It was commissioned by James Edward Austen-Leigh to be used to create an engraving as a frontispiece to Austen-Leigh’s 1869 Memoir of his aunt. The painting was done by James Andrews of Maidenhead by tracing Cassandra Austen’s watercolor portrait of her sister. The engraving was later used as the basis of perhaps the best-known image of Austen, the infamous “wedding ring portrait” included in a book of eminent persons.

There has been some concern expressed by our own correspondents over this sale, as it is feared it will share the near-fate of Jane Austen’s turquoise ring, purchased and taken out of the country rather than added to a public collection; it would probably be nearly impossible to mount a second rescue mission by Janeites and the museum at Chawton as was done for the ring. However, we find it difficult to get very upset about the fate of this portrait. It is a nice little painting, and that’s it. It wasn’t taken from life, thought it was traced from a portrait that was so taken. However, in the dearth of such images taken from life, Janeites have created new icons of our favorite author. The painting certainly deserves to be part of a museum collection dedicated to Austen. It is to be hoped that whoever purchases it can preserve and display it for all to enjoy.

This portrait has been in the news lately in other ways, as the engraving created from it was used as the basis for the image of Austen that will appear on the British ten-pound bill in a couple of years. Biographer Paula Byrne has been all over the press of late complaining about the portrait chosen for the banknote. Prof. Byrne has previously been recorded as quite passionate on the subject of images of Austen. She feels that the portrait makes Jane appear “saccharine” and that it is an “airbrushing” of Cassandra’s original portrait, and perpetuates Austen’s family’s whitewashing of her personality. We understand Prof. Byrne’s passion on the subject, though most Austen fans, scholars, and attentive readers know better than to consider Jane Austen a sweet, retiring spinster. However, we think that the portrait was chosen for a very simple reason: it is in the public domain. Cassandra’s portrait is owned by the National Portrait Gallery and it cannot be used without its permission, and probably without paying a hefty licensing fee.

All that being said–yes, let’s pick a different Austen quotation for the banknote! We still think the best one would be “I write only for Fame and without any view to pecuniary Emolument.” However, the Muggle public would probably not recognize Austen’s delightful snark.

Check out our previous post, A Closer Look at Images of Jane Austen.

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