Getting Local With Jane: Academic Edition

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Here is the latest list of local Austen events. Perhaps one is in your town!

July 12-13, 2008, Louisville, Kentucky: Jane Austen Festival at Locust Grove, featuring Joan Klingel Ray as a speaker

A festival dedicated to Jane Austen! Visit our Regency Emporium with new and antiquarian books, jewelry, patterns, fabric, and everything else to make your own Regency dress. Join us for the Regency Style Show, and our Afternoon Tea. Featured speaker Joan Klingel Ray, past president of JASNA, and author of Jane Austen for Dummies will present, “Jane Austen for Smarties.”

July 16, 2008, Waltham, Massachusetts: A concert at Gore Place with the Boston Chamber Ensemble:

The Boston Chamber Ensemble offers a program of music from the world of Jane Austen arranged for flute and strings. The program coincides beautifully with the Jane Austen Tours of Gore Place July 18 and 20.

July 18 and 20, 2008, Waltham, Massachusetts: Jane Austen Tours of Gore Place.

Born in 1775, Austen ( Emma , Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility) lived her entire life in England until her death in 1817. Christopher and Rebecca Gore lived in England from 1796 to 1804. The grand mansion they built in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1806 features both French and English influence in the design and greatly resembles the manor houses described in Austens novels.

July 19, 2008, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen vs. the Filmmakers, one-day course at Colorado College

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) has been the target of adaptations for almost two centuries, from the 19th century London stage to Hollywood and the BBC. Why? To define some of the perennial attraction of this novel, the class will examine the core characters, themes and vision of Austen’s great novel with the help of some historical background and a glance at some literary debates about Austen. Then we’ll look at the ways Austen’s themes have been understood, misunderstood, and recast by various films and TV miniseries. In particular we will look at examples from the wonderful 1940 film with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier; the 1985 and the 1995 BBC versions, especially the latter with Colin FIrth and Jennifer Ehle; the 2005 film with Keira Knightley; and even Bridget Jones’s Diary. Students should rpurchase, read, and come with the Penguin edition, ed. V. Jones, of “Pride and Prejudice,” available at the Colorado College bookstore. This session will break for lunch and include an afternoon tea.

Thanks to Alert Janeite JaneGS for the link!

July 19, 2008, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: From Book to Screen: Literature and Film, one day course at UNC-Chapel Hill featuring speaker Inger Brodey

Our first speaker, Inger Brodey, will look at the works of Jane Austen, and the numerous films made based on Jane Austen’s novels. These Austen-based films have been set in places as remote from Austen’s English countryside as the Indian subcontinent and have included characters as foreign to Austen’s world as California teenagers, New York debutantes, and runaways in Florida. This talk will focus on specific examples of these films and address such questions as: What tends to be gained and lost in these transpositions of Austen’s novels across time and culture? What aspects of Austen’s novels remain untranslatable into film? What is the secret of Austen’s appeal to film audiences today?

The course also will cover westerns and other films. Thanks to Alert Baja Janeite (and her daughter) for the link!

REVIEW: Becoming Jane (Region 1 DVD)

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becjanecover.jpg Review by MJRyan

I agreed to review Becoming Jane for AustenBlog with a bit of trepidation. Not only would I be required to give some sort of informed opinion about picture resolution and sound but I’d also have to give my opinion on a movie that has been the subject of much debate over the past year and a half. What if I actually liked the movie? Would I lose the smidgen of Austen street cred I’ve obtained by submitting occasional reviews of Austen paraliterature? Would I be smacked over the head with The Cluebat? If I hated the movie, would I be dismissed as one who is impossible to be please or who places our Jane – preferably gilded in gold, cradling Pride and Prejudice in one hand and raising her pen of justice against loveless marriages in the other – on the highest pedestal in a museum? In the end, the lure of a free DVD was stronger than my fear of wading in to these perilous waters. Continue reading

Jane Austen Film News Roundup: Coming to a Television Near You Edition

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While we’re taking a (probably needed) break from the Complete Jane Austen, a few interesting pieces of news crossed our desk.

According to a column by the president and CPO of Twin Cities Public Television, despite all the Janeite complaints, the ratings for the films have been quite good.

And suggesting that “Masterpiece Theater” has “settled” for an all-Jane Austen format is simply incorrect — “The Complete Jane Austen” drew the highest audiences for the program in more than a decade.

Yep, they might stink, but we watched them like the big Janeite saps we are, and that’s all that matters. Sad but true.

For those of you outside the U.S. and UK, many of you are going to have the chance to see some of the new films, if you haven’t already. The BBC has sold rights to S&S07 and Miss Austen Regrets around the world.

Meanwhile, acclaimed screenwriter Andrew Davies’ adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility” sold to 11 markets, including Japan, Sweden, Poland, Canada and Korea, and Jane Austen biopic “Miss Austen Regrets” also enjoyed solid sales.

Naturally, if we hear anything we’ll let our Gentle Readers know!

There’s even a tidbit of Becoming Jane news of sorts: a profile of Laurence Fox, whom many of us adored as Mr. Wisley, reveals that he originally was offered another role in the film, but turned it down.

“…With Becoming Jane they wanted me to be another part who was a bit jokey and buff but I didn’t have any interest in it. I quite liked the concept of going, ‘Maybe there is an alternative for everybody. Here is this shy guy who’d like to be able to express himself but can’t.’ Which is probably more like me anyway.”

Soooooo, who was it? Jokey and buff? Henry Austen, perhaps? Or–dare we say–Tom Lefroy himself? Because who else COULD it be?

Crudely tattooed on his left wrist is “Mrs Fox 31-12-07”, a memento of their honeymoon in Mexico. “Drunken moment in Playa del Carmen. And she’s got ‘Mr Fox’. But don’t tell the agent.”

Just how Fanny and Edmund would have spent their honeymoon, eh?

Lastly, a lot of viewers seemed to really like the music video that PBS put together for the Complete Jane Austen set to the music of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” It’s on YouTube now, so you can rewind to your heart’s content. (And a PBS representative told us about it, so the self-appointed Jane Austen Copyright Police can go have a cup of tea or something.)

Becoming Jane out on DVD (Region 1)

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Spork!Just thought we would mention it.

And we heard a radio advertisement that said it starred “Anne Hathaway as a lovestruck Jane Austen!”

We really shall retire to Bedlam.

We might have a DVD review here eventually. Stay tuned.

Austen film events in Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, and Denver

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With the Complete Jane Austen gearing up on PBS, everyone seems to have Jane Austen films on their minds, and there are several events coming up dedicated to Austen film adaptations old and new.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is having a special event, “Jane Austen Goes to the Movies,” on Wednesday, January 30th at 7 p.m.

Jane Austen has become one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, with both feature films and television mini-series to her credit. Independent scholar and lecturer, Virginia Newmyer, examines the dramatization of the novels, and whether 20th-century scenarios have improved on the renowned author. The discussion, illustrated with images, interprets the ways in which Jane Austen wove the enduring questions of power, money, and social class into her romantic comedies, and how the themes have been transferred to the screen. Several films and videos are considered, including: Sense and Sensibility (1995 feature film), Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC mini-series, 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series), Mansfield Park (1993 feature film), Emma (1996 feature film), Clueless (1995 feature film), and Persuasion (1995 feature film). In addition, both Becoming Jane, the 2007 feature film as fictional as the novels, and The Jane Austen Book Club, very different from the book, are included.

Tickets for this event are $20, but if you call and mention that you are an AustenBlog reader, you can get them for the member price of $15! La!

Alert Janeite Jen K. sent us some information about upcoming events sponsored by JASNA’s Greater New York region, kicking off this week. First is a pre-broadcast screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion, this Tuesday, January 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Wollman Auditorium at the Cooper Union. The event is co-sponsored by Penguin Books.

JASNA New York also is co-sponsoring (with Borders) post-broadcast discussions for each of the six novel adaptations on the Mondays after broadcast at several locations in New York and Connecticut.

Another very exciting New York area event (though it’s not listed on JASNA New York’s website, but Jen posted details at The Republic of Pemberley) is a screening of the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion with a discussion featuring Ciarán Hinds, who of course played Captain Wentworth in the film, and possibly Corin Redgrave, who played Sir Walter Elliot, discussing the film with Foster Hirsch of the Brooklyn College Film Department and Rachel Brownstein of the CUNY English Department. The event will be at Brooklyn College on Monday, February 4, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gershwin Theater, Brooklyn College Campus.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

We previously mentioned “Jane-uary” at the Kansas City Public Library, and as part of that endeavor the library will have a film series called “The Reel Jane Austen” featuring some of the big-screen adaptations, nicely balancing the small-screen versions on PBS. The series will include P&P 1940 and 2005, S&S 1995, and Emma 1996. (No Persuasion 95? Quel dommage!)

In conjunction with Rocky Mountain Public Radio, Audrey Sprenger of the Denver Central Library will present a film and lecture series, Jane Austen, Literature’s Posthumous It Girl.

Created to supplement Masterpiece Theatre’s winter telecast of The Complete Jane Austen, this short cinematic and academic course will chronicle Austen’s slow but steady rise in popularity since the late 1800s, compare her to other It Girls like aviator Amelia Earhart and actresses Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot, critique Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, a Hollywood Teen Re-Make of Austen’s Emma and finally, explore Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austen Book Club, a fictional take on why Austen’s work and persona still endures.

The Denver Central Library will have a free screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2 p.m. to kick off the series.

Becoming Jane on Region 1 DVD February 12

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LOLAusten If Region 1 Janeites were hoping for insipid filmed fan fiction under their Festivus pole this year, we are sorry to inform that they are doomed for disappointment. The film will be available on February 12 on DVD and Blu-Ray, so we get a really good, clear view of Anne Hathaway’s lip gloss.

Author Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) eventually became famous for writing epic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but as a young woman in the 18th century, writing was not a respectible goal for a young woman. With the entire world telling her she can’t achieve her dreams, Jane meets and falls in love with a charming rogue, Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), who inspires her to write the books generations have come to know and love.

“Inspired her to write the books,” indeed.

*beats stupid description into bytes and pixels with Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness*

But wait! There are Special Features! Oh joy!

Commentary with director Julian Jarrold, writer Kevin Hood and producer Robert Bernstein

…in which they no doubt complain about the Austen Police and Teh Ebil AustenBloggers who don’t understand The Auteur’s Vision!

Deleted scenes

There’s…there’s….there’s MORE of it? DOROTHY! Bring out the TITANIUM SPORK!

Becoming Jane Pop-Up Facts & Footnotes

Because Becoming Jane is just loaded with facts popping up all over the place.

Discovering the Real Jane Austen featurette

Because you sure won’t discover her from the movie! ha ha!

P.S. We should probably point out that if you buy it, expect more of the same from the eejits that make this sort of thing. Don’t complain when the rats keep coming back to the food source.

We appear to be superfluous

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Cub Reporter Heather L. pointed us to a delightfully snarky review of Becoming Jane in The Prague Post. It’s true we’ve had a touch of blogging malaise lately (and apologize for it and promise to do better), but they’re just treading on our territory now. Not that we don’t love it. We feel rather as though we strayed into a sort of literary version of “the dozens.” Dorothy has made popcorn; help yourself!

The creators of Becoming Jane undoubtedly congratulated themselves on their cleverness in reimagining Austen’s life as being a mere blueprint for Pride and Prejudice, so we needn’t bother.

Oh, SNAP!

It is too much to hope for some semblance of truthfulness in a Hollywood film, so one must salute Becoming Jane with that highest of praise: “It could have been worse.”

OUCH!

While Jane and Lefroy circle each other like a road company Benedict and Beatrice, her mother is trying to wed her to the nephew of Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith). The nephew, Mr. Wisely (Laurence Fox), is a rather stiff, unimaginative suitor, though he’s fallen under the spell of Jane’s wit (a quality that the script strives to keep at bay).

OH! That’ll leave a mark!

As a dodgy Cliff’s Notes to Austen’s work, Becoming Jane is sure to appeal to those who buy books for their covers.

We think someone has been served. (Click through and read the rest of the review, it’s quite hilarious.)