Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

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It’s Jane Austen’s 241st birthday today.

Jane Austen Birthday Cake

This is the birthday cake that JASNA’s Eastern Pennsylvania region, of which the Editrix is a member, enjoyed at our recent celebration of Jane’s birthday. The cake, from Bredenbeck’s bakery in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, was delicious as well as beautiful.

Please be upstanding and lift your beverage of choice in a toast to an authoress whose work has endured for two centuries after her death. That is an accomplishment indeed.

It is our custom for birthday posts to imagine a gift that we would like to give Jane for her birthday. It’s cold tonight at AustenBlog World Headquarters (though rather warmer in Winchester) so maybe we’ll crochet her some fuzzy slippers to keep off the chill. Our other gift is more ephemeral, and we hope it will work out. We’re going to promise to write more. More for AustenBlog, more for our personal blog, and more in general. It is rather a selfish gift, as we are doing it for ourself as well as for Jane, but somehow we don’t think she’ll mind. We have a couple of projects in the fire and hope to share them in the New Year with our Gentle Readers.

And speaking of stuff we’ve written, see the post below this one for a giveaway in honor of Herself’s natal day!

A Giveaway for Jane Austen’s Birthday

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The Joy of Jane - Essays on the First 200 Years of Austen's LegacyIn honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, we are giving away five copies of the recently published essay collection The Joy of Jane. From the book’s website:

Although there were only six completed novels, Jane Austen left an enormous legacy when she died on July 18, 1817, at the age of only 41. The Joy of Jane brings together some of today’s leading writers and authorities on Jane Austen to offer their thoughts on her endearing appeal. They include:

MAGGIE LANE / DEIRDRE LE FAYE / SUSANNAH FULLERTON / RUTH WILLIAMSON / CARRIE BEBRIS / EMILY BRAND / PENELOPE FRIDAY / AMY PATTERSON / NIGEL STARCK / MARGARET SULLIVAN / KIM WILSON

Why yes, the Editrix has her share in the conversation, and we are honored to be included in this outstanding group of writers. Our essay is about Jane Austen as a professional author, and a little bit about what she might have thought about her current celebrity (and all the stuff that goes with it, she typed as she sipped tea from her brand-new “Janeite” mug). If you would like to purchase the book–it would make a tremendous holiday gift for any Janeite in our humble opinion–there are links at the bottom of the website linked above.

To enter the contest, post a comment below and be sure to leave a working email address in the email field. (If you are signed in to WordPress.com, that is sufficient.) U.S. and international readers are invited to enter this giveaway. Thanks to Landsdown Media for providing us with copies of the book.

ETA: to clarify how the giveaway will work, we’ll pick five random commenters below using the Random Integer Generator to match up with the comment number. Only one comment per person (the first one) will be counted as an entry. You can enter until 9 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on Saturday, December 17. Check the email address you left in the comment on Sunday morning to see if you are a winner–you will have to send me your address to receive the book. The email will be from the AustenBlog email address.

Jane Austen Travel Guide on Kickstarter

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Dutch Janeite, journalist, and photographer Karin Quint has put up a Kickstarter to have her travel guide, Jane Austen’s England, translated to English. If you pledge at least €20, you will receive a copy of the book (with an additional charge for shipping).

We know many Janeites are planning a pilgrimage to the UK to commemorate the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death in 2017, so this book will come in handy.

They are very, very close to reaching their funding goal, and there’s a couple of days left to get in on it. We’ve backed this project–won’t you?

(And being from Philadelphia, we are on board with the Rocky references!)

UPDATE: The goal has been reached! But you can still get in on it, and get a book when it’s done.

Love & Friendship DVD/Blu-ray Out in September in U.S. and UK

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landfdvdThe title says it all…the DVD and Blu-ray of Love & Friendship is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. The discs will be available in the U.S. on September 6 and in the UK on September 26 (as promised by Whit Stillman).

If you do not live in the U.S. or UK, please be sure that the disc of your choice will work in your country before ordering.

DVD/Blu-ray at Amazon U.S.

DVD at Amazon UK

Blu-ray at Amazon UK

What Would You Write to Jane?

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By Petar Milošević (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We heard from Gabrielle, who has started a very interesting website called the Dear Jane Project. We will let her tell you about it in her own words.

I know exactly the ways in which Jane Austen has affected my life. I am very interested in knowing how Jane has had an impact on everyone else. I propose to start a collaborative blog. I have created a blog titled “Dear Jane Project”: https://dearjaneproject.wordpress.com. Someone who is interested in participating in this project can submit a letter to Jane explaining how her works and her life have affected them through an email: dearjaneproject@gmail.com. Submitted texts will be uploaded to the blog. Hopefully, this project will allow fans from around the world to share their stories, and create a community with people around the world.

I believe this project can become something great. Each one of us has a story, and my goal is for us all to be able to share them. I think it is a great way to commemorate the life of Jane Austen as we approach the 200th anniversary of her death.

What would you write to Jane?

We love the idea of this project and will be keeping an eye on the blog!

Your Sunday Austen Meditation

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Today’s lesson is from Mansfield Park, Volume I, Chapter XII, in honor of the holiday tomorrow in the U.S.; if memory serves, the only time Jane Austen mentioned our country in one of her novels.

Listening and wondering were all suspended for a time, for Mr. Bertram was in the room again; and though feeling it would be a great honour to be asked by him, she thought it must happen. He came towards their little circle; but instead of asking her to dance, drew a chair near her, and gave her an account of the present state of a sick horse, and the opinion of the groom, from whom he had just parted. Fanny found that it was not to be, and in the modesty of her nature immediately felt that she had been unreasonable in expecting it. When he had told of his horse, he took a newspaper from the table, and looking over it, said in a languid way, “If you want to dance, Fanny, I will stand up with you.” With more than equal civility the offer was declined; she did not wish to dance. “I am glad of it,” said he, in a much brisker tone, and throwing down the newspaper again, “for I am tired to death. I only wonder how the good people can keep it up so long. They had need be all in love, to find any amusement in such folly; and so they are, I fancy. If you look at them you may see they are so many couple of lovers–all but Yates and Mrs. Grant–and, between ourselves, she, poor woman, must want a lover as much as any one of them. A desperate dull life hers must be with the doctor,” making a sly face as he spoke towards the chair of the latter, who proving, however, to be close at his elbow, made so instantaneous a change of expression and subject necessary, as Fanny, in spite of everything, could hardly help laughing at. “A strange business this in America, Dr. Grant! What is your opinion? I always come to you to know what I am to think of public matters.”

Mr. Bertram was possibly referring to the War of 1812, which would have been going on while Jane Austen was writing Mansfield Park. This is a funny little moment, and Fanny laughing at Tom’s awkward predicament makes her seem a little more human than she is sometimes perceived. Here endeth the lesson.

Had She Been In Love

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Something pretty to start off a long weekend here at AustenBlog World Headquarters…a rehearsal of the song “Had I Been In Love” (a/k/a Lizzy’s Big Epiphany) from Austen’s Pride: A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice, coming up at the Nazareth College Arts Center in Rochester, NY, this month. The performers are Heather Botts as Elizabeth Bennet and Lindsie VanWinkle as Jane Austen. Yes, this is the P&P musical we’ve seen several times and been loving for years…the title has been changed to distinguish it from the several other P&P musicals around.