More Thoughts on the Sanditon Series

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We’ve been giving some more thought to the Sanditon series announced as in production by ITV/Masterpiece. We know some people are really excited about this, because they love Jane Austen and movies and Jane Austen movies. Our Gentle Readers may be surprised to learn that we really don’t enjoy being Ol’ Negative Mags*, and that we certainly don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun; but we really, really love the little bit of Sanditon that Jane Austen left us, and just want any screen presentation to be worthy of it. Pretty people in period costumes and a story that is kind of Austenish are not enough.

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As we expressed in our prior post, we have serious reservations about the fidelity of the series to the original fragment, based on the information gleaned from the Masterpiece website.

Upon further thought, however, perhaps fidelity is not the thing to be looking for. Perhaps adaptation itself is the wrong word.  Continue reading

New Adaptation of Sanditon for ITV and Masterpiece

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This is not a drill, Gentle Readers. This looks pretty official.

PBS Masterpiece and British broadcaster ITV have teamed up to bring Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel Sanditon to television.

There was previously talk of an adaptation of Marie Dobbs’ popular completion of Sanditon, which sadly never seemed to come to fruition, so this is generally exciting news. However, keep in mind the term “unfinished,” because…  Continue reading

Jane Austen Program at Free Library of Springfield Township

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If you’ll be in the Philadelphia area this weekend, we would love to see you at this JASNA – Eastern Pennsylvania Region program. It’s free and open to the public, and you need not be a member of JASNA to attend. Come on out!

This Delightful Habit of Journaling

springfield_programIf you are or will be in the Philadelphia area this weekend, I’ll be speaking at the Free Library of Springfield Township in Wyndmoor, PA (Montgomery County) on Saturday, June 23. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. The talk is titled “From Handmade to Digital: Jane Austen’s Publication History” and, as you might have guessed, is about the history of the publication of Jane Austen’s novels from her lifetime to the present.

During Jane Austen’s lifetime, the publication of her books was a completely manual operation: the manuscript was handwritten, the type was set by hand, inked by hand, and printed on handmade paper, and then bound by hand. Two centuries later, we can carry Jane Austen’s novels everywhere we go on our smartphones. Margaret C. Sullivan will explain the evolution of publication between the 19th and 21st centuries, illustrated with examples of editions of Austen’s novels and images of the…

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Your Sunday Austen Meditation

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Today’s lesson comes from the Book of Northanger Abbey, Volume I, Chapter I, and yes, we know that the last lesson came from that book, too, but it just all works for us right now. It will be a very short lesson this week.

Mrs. Morland was a very good woman, and wished to see her children everything they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in lying-in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books — or at least books of information — for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all.

We are just returning from a holiday by the sea, though we went to watch a little “base ball” ourself. We left behind snow and wind and found the sunshine, for a few days anyhow. Summer is coming, Gentle Readers. We hope Miss Morland would have joined our enjoyments of the past few days. Here endeth the lesson.

Registration is Open for Jane Austen Day 2018 in Philadelphia

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The title says it all–registration is open for the 2018 Jane Austen Day, “The Power of Persuasion,” on April 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, though this time it is actually in the suburbs at the Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, a short drive or train ride away from downtown.

The event has a great lineup of speakers, including Lynn Festa, Susannah Fullerton, Whit Stillman, and Juliette Wells, talking about all things Persuasion.

It is a day-long event and the price includes a light continental breakfast and luncheon. There will also be an Emporium (welcoming Jane Austen Books for the first time at this event) selling not only books but other Austen-related goodies.

It should be a great day, and the available space is filling fast, so get your registration in while you can.

P.S. A thousand internet points that don’t mean anything to the first commenter who can identify the inspiration for the poster design…other than Captain Wentworth’s letter, of course.

Your Sunday Austen Meditation

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Today’s lesson is from the book of Northanger Abbey, in which Catherine experiences a windy night and a loss of her light source. Right now we are feeling this passage most sincerely, as AustenBlog World Headquarters had no power on Friday night, and not even a cheerful fire to comfort us.

The dimness of the light her candle emitted made her turn to it with alarm; but there was no danger of its sudden extinction; it had yet some hours to burn; and that she might not have any greater difficulty in distinguishing the writing than what its ancient date might occasion, she hastily snuffed it. Alas! It was snuffed and extinguished in one. A lamp could not have expired with more awful effect. Catherine, for a few moments, was motionless with horror. It was done completely; not a remnant of light in the wick could give hope to the rekindling breath. Darkness impenetrable and immovable filled the room. A violent gust of wind, rising with sudden fury, added fresh horror to the moment. Catherine trembled from head to foot. In the pause which succeeded, a sound like receding footsteps and the closing of a distant door struck on her affrighted ear. Human nature could support no more. A cold sweat stood on her forehead, the manuscript fell from her hand, and groping her way to the bed, she jumped hastily in, and sought some suspension of agony by creeping far underneath the clothes. To close her eyes in sleep that night, she felt must be entirely out of the question. With a curiosity so justly awakened, and feelings in every way so agitated, repose must be absolutely impossible. The storm too abroad so dreadful! — She had not been used to feel alarm from wind, but now every blast seemed fraught with awful intelligence. The manuscript so wonderfully found, so wonderfully accomplishing the morning’s prediction, how was it to be accounted for? — What could it contain? — to whom could it relate? — by what means could it have been so long concealed? — and how singularly strange that it should fall to her lot to discover it! Till she had made herself mistress of its contents, however, she could have neither repose nor comfort; and with the sun’s first rays she was determined to peruse it. But many were the tedious hours which must yet intervene. She shuddered, tossed about in her bed, and envied every quiet sleeper. The storm still raged, and various were the noises, more terrific even than the wind, which struck at intervals on her startled ear. The very curtains of her bed seemed at one moment in motion, and at another the lock of her door was agitated, as if by the attempt of somebody to enter. Hollow murmurs seemed to creep along the gallery, and more than once her blood was chilled by the sound of distant moans. Hour after hour passed away, and the wearied Catherine had heard three proclaimed by all the clocks in the house before the tempest subsided or she unknowingly fell fast asleep.

The power is back on, but we still don’t have internet (posting this from our phone!). There’s a lot of crazy weather going on everywhere right now, so we wish everyone a warm, safe, well-lit place to do a little reading. Here endeth the lesson.

Also, while we’re on the subject of Northanger Abbey, we wrote a little bit (actually quite a lot) about Mr. Tilney and his treatment of our heroine for Sarah Emsley’s blog series about NA and Persuasion.

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

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Cake by Bredenbeck’s bakery in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA. This was the cake for the JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania Jane Austen birthday party.

The year rolls round to its end once again, and once again we are celebrating the birthday of Jane Austen. It is our tradition to write about what we would give Jane Austen for her birthday, but we don’t think we could top two pretty amazing things given to her by the world.  Continue reading