Archive | September, 2011

Flashback Fridays: Jane Austen’s World blog

30 Sep
Fri, Sep 30 2011 09:31am EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
Have any of you checked out the Jane Austen’s World blog by Vic Sanborn? Check it out here.

She writes a number of fascinating blog posts about what Austen’s world was like with social customs, fashion, dining and more, specifically in the Regency Period.

Fri, Sep 30 2011 06:29pm EDT 2
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
Yeah, it is rather interesting!! I have bookmarked it to go through it more deeply. Knowing about the period always helps us know better about the novels too.
Mon, Oct 3 2011 05:24am EDT 3
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
I know this blog! Unfortunately I never have enough time to read it extensively… Thalking about Jane Austen period and world, do you know that Pemberly was probably inspired by Chatsworth House? This is the link to the web site: http://www.chatsworth.org/ Do you think it’s true?
Mon, Oct 3 2011 10:52am EDT 4
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
Vic Sanborn does a wonderful job with this blog. She has other Austen blogs, too. Although I, too, don’t have time to read them extensively, I receive by email her posting alerts and save them so I won’t forget all the titles and can go find the ones of particularly interest later.

Also on Facebook, I’m having fun with the group: Jane Austen Community: A Truth Universally Acknowleged

Thinking Thursdays: Reading Jane Austen’s books

29 Sep
Thu, Sep 29 2011 10:09am EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
Essentially, I wish I could immerse myself in all of Jane Austen’s works better. I’m impressed with the knowledge posted on this site each day, and I feel embarrassed that I can’t pull many direct quotes from her novels without searching elsewhere. I tend to know Pride & Prejudice more than the others, with Northanger Abbey and Sense & Sensibility falling in place behind that. I can’t believe I’ve only read Persuasian and Mansfield Park once, and I only remember the salient points of MP. And although I own them, I haven’t actually read Sanditon or The Watsons. But I have read Lady Susan. Strange?

As an English major, I took a Jane Austen class in 2009, which was amazing, but unfortunately several other classes and working as editor of the college newspaper took up much of the free time I had to really dig into the lines of her novels.

But I guess that’s what this site is for, right? So we can all share our expertise and thoughts!

Thu, Sep 29 2011 11:26am EDT 2
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
I was never assigned a Jane Austen novel in high school or college, but I knew of her and had her along with others on my “Roundtuit” reading list. It wasn’t until the Masterpiece Classic series of Jane Austen new and older adaptations that ran two or more years ago that brought her to life for me. When I started to participate on the Masterpiece forum connected to the series, I discovered this bigger world of other Jane Austen enthusiasts and learned of the many ways to enjoy all things Austen. I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’ve read all of her six novels more than once and have watched all of their respective adaptations more than once. As I continue to enjoy her in this manner, it has also been great fun “collecting” other Austen fans on Twitter and Facebook. They are literally scattered all over the world! Who knew that a 200-year-old author could have such an impact in the 21st century. Wonderfully amazing.
Thu, Sep 29 2011 12:58pm EDT 3
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
That’s so true – I was just talking to a friend last night about how we “got into” Austen novels. Some read her in high school, some see a movie and then decide to pick up a book. That’s another great discussion starter.

I, too, can’t believe we’re talking to Austen fans around the world. I just chatted with Irene and Cinta yesterday, and we all live in different countries and different time zones! So amazing. And I’m so jealous of where Irene lives in Italy. I don’t think I’ll get over it!

Thu, Sep 29 2011 02:54pm EDT 4
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
BEAS (HUELVA) in the South-West of Spain
I include a picture of my home town; it is not as beautiful as Irene’s village, but at least you can see how a village from the south of Spain looks like 😛 Yes, it is amazing that we all Austen fans live all around the world. And indeed, I haven’t contacted with any other Austen fan here in Spain. It is such a pity, but anytime I say that my favourite author is Jane Austen, most people ask me “Jane who??”. It is frustrating and disappointing, but I am afraid she is not as famous here as in other places around the world. The only way you can get them to recognise the name is saying “Have you seen Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley?”, and then they say “Oh, yeah!!”, but still they didn’t know that was an adaptation from a novel :S
As for the topic of the day, there are many different aspects about Austen novels that I would like to know better. For example, some secondary characters. It would be very interesting to know what is a normal day in the life of Miss Bates like, or to know about the Mr and Mrs Elton wedding, or to get a glimpse at what is happening in Barbados while the Misses Bertram are having fun at home. I don’t know. What do you think about that?
Thu, Sep 29 2011 10:32pm EDT 5
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
Cinta, I’m just now learning that you’re from Spain. Again, I’ve not visited your country, but it is also on my bucket list. I love your questions about the secondary characters! This is why there are many authors who have become successful writing novels about these types of issues. I’ve not read any of them as of yet, but I am connected to many of them on Facebook and Twitter. It is fun to get to know them.

I wonder what all Jane Fairfax would write in her letters to Miss Bates. What is that would make Emma’s eyes roll when she heard the letters read. Then what is that Mary would talk about to her mother and sisters on a daily basis based on what she was reading at the time. Would she read aloud or talk as if giving a lecture?
Yes, this is fun to think about. We’ll have to continue this line of thought!
Fri, Sep 30 2011 08:33am EDT 6
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
Yes, Betty, I am from Spain 😀 Definitely!! It would be interesting to have an insight to those letters between Jane Fairfax and her aunt 🙂 But maybe if we know the real content of those letters, we would discover that Emma’s character wasn’t as flawless after all, making fun of pure feelings between aunt and niece.
Sun, Oct 2 2011 05:27pm EDT 7
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
Ok, don’t believe that here in Italy everything is perfect. It isn’t! Trust me! Looking at the photo Cinta posted, I thought our towns are similar after all. One of the things I like most about my village is that it reminds me of Meryton… or maybe is Meryton that reminds me of mt village. It’s small, everyone knows everyone else business and secrets are not so easy to keep. I think Meryton in P&P is an independent character, as Higbury in Emma. It would be interesting to know what people living in Meryton think about what’s going on at Longbourn or Netherfield Park.

Whiny Wednesdays: What if we could live in an Austen novel?

28 Sep
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
Well, Whiny Wednesday…. so let’s talk a bit about those things that are in our lives and make us think “oh, I wish I were in an Austen novel!”.

We all know that life is not an easy matter. Life is complicated, and we cannot get our happy ending whenever we want them. Life is full of disappointments. What I like most of Jane Austen novels is that there is always a happy ending. That is why I turn to them when I feel blue or my feelings are down below the cellar. But let’s think differently for a moment.
Let’s take Persuasion. The heroine, Anne, gets her happy ending when she finds Captain Wentworth after so many years and they discover they love each other after all. But what if Captain Wentworth had met someone else during his years away from Anne? What if Anne had met someone else too? That would have led to disappointment to one of them.
What if Anne hadn’t found Wentworth’s letter? He would have thought that she didn’t love him any more and they would have been miserable all their lives.
What if Wentworth had been seduced by Louisa Musgrove, and he had turned his affections to her just because he felt like taking his revenge against Anne?
In all those cases, would there have been a happy ending?
Let’s see what you think about this. I am sorry for the somber tone. Today I don’t feel very cheerful.
Wed, Sep 28 2011 05:32pm EDT 2
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
In truth, we would not want to be living in Jane Austen’s time. Women were property and had very few rights. I could not imagine not being able to earn my own living and having to marry hoping to feel secure. I think about how that must have been, and I count my blessings.

Thankfully, in spite of these 19th century realities, Jane Austen does give us happy endings, and we can turn to our favorite characters for a morale boost. As simple as the story lines appear, under the surface there are layers of societal complexities. Jane allows us to see how our heroines maneuver through the complexities and find their own happiness. For a whiny Wednesday, we can take away some inspiration from this.
Wed, Sep 28 2011 05:54pm EDT 3
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
I think it’s not about time, but about prople. Rev. George Austen, Jane’s father, was very fond of his clever child and incouraged her to read, to write, to think. If Jane Austen have had a different father, maybe we wouldn’t have the chance to read her novels. We turn to Jane Austen’s world to find comfort because in it we can find characters, people, friends that is difficult, sometime impossible, to find in real life. These characters managed to find their happy ending not because of their surroundings, but because they’re special, they’re clever, they’re passionate and they takes some risks. We all want to be like that! Obviously they are helped by circumstances… but after all we’re talking about novels!
Wed, Sep 28 2011 06:14pm EDT 4
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
I said I would like to live in an Austen novel, not in Austen time… I know it was a rather difficult time for being a woman. Women in Austen time also got their happy endings, why not? But of course their lives weren’t easy ones. Austen shows us, in her own witty and humorous way, what women at her time would like their lives to be. At least that is what I think.
Fri, Sep 30 2011 02:08pm EDT 5
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
I know what you mean and perhaps many authors thinks the same. Probably that’s why there are retellings of Jane Austen novels with a modern setting. These authors try to create the same magic and the same atmosphere in our time.
Sat, Oct 1 2011 10:41am EDT 6
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
When I think about Austen’s happy endings, I always think of the movie Becoming Jane (ahem, love James McAvoy) when Anne Hathaway (as Jane Austen) tells her sister that many of her heroines will have happy endings with “incandescent marriages.” Sometimes I really wonder what Austen’s life was like and why she decided to write the novels the way she did.

As Cinta said above, many of the characters live how they “would like their lives to be.” Well said, Cinta.

Sun, Oct 2 2011 05:09pm EDT 7
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
The first biography about Jane Austen’s life was written by one of her brothers, I think that was James, the eldest. Writing and publishing books in Regency England was not so easy, especially for women. It was considered a scandal that a woman wrote to earn an income and it was accepted only if those ladies were widows with children or old parents to support. James Austen wrote a biography in which his siter was represented as a spinster who wrote books in her leisure time with no pretenses about making money. He was trying to preserve his sister’s reputation but he gave us a distorted image of Jane Austen. Nonetheless we know from her letters that she was a different person, she was aware of her value and she was a scrupulous writer. She wrote and wrote again every page of every novel to made them perfect. We also know she had a full life, she was passionate, probably she loved and she was so attached to her sister Cassandra to share her grief for the death of her fiancé. When Cassandra’s fiancé died in the West Indies, she decided never to marry and Jane took the same decision. The symbol of this decision was that headpiece we see in Jane Austen portrait, it was the sign that a woman was no longer interested in marriage. I think Jane Austen wrote about “incandescent marriages” because she believed in that kind of love, the love that exist between soulmates and survives after death.

Whiny Wednesdays: Technology in Austen’s time

28 Sep
Wed, Sep 28 2011 09:14am EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
So I’m back on the technology horse again. It’s great, but it can be a hassle, right? Outside of VJA, I’m a journalist, and I feel like there’s always a new website or new piece of social media that I need to learn to use and master.

I love connecting with people online, which is why I created this site, of course! But sometimes technology makes it harder to focus on the people around us. So many of my friends walk around with phones in their hands, and they check it constantly. I’ve been guilty of the same in the past, but now I’m teaching myself to put down the phone and have a full conversation without worrying about my e-mails for a bit.

Where are the days of the calling cards and visits? I bet Austen would laugh at me for this one because so many of her stories include the stresses of waiting on someone to visit (Northanger Abbey) or dealing with awkward visits (Pride & Prejudice).

Wed, Sep 28 2011 05:44pm EDT 2
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
We have to step around the “grass is greener” trap, indeed! At least with calling cards and visits, there was an etiquette to the length of visit. Seems like staying for 15 minutes was about all that was required, I believe. Although I feel well connected online, I do have to work at being conversational when I’m with the same people face to face! In those cases, it’s nice to have a “Miss Bates” (Emma) to eat up the 15 minutes more quickly 😉
Wed, Sep 28 2011 06:32pm EDT 3
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
Have you ever read “Jane Austen Handbook: proper life skills from Regency England” by Margaret C. Sullivan? It’s written with humour and irony and it’s also full of information. Every chapter is about a specific topic: how to become an accomplished lady, how to dress properly, how to host a dinner party, how to find a suitable husband…and so on. It gives a precise idea of what was life in Regency England… especially for women. There are advantages and disadvantages in both 19th and 21th centuries. Now we are free to do what we want, to be independent, to work, to marry or not, to wear what we like at any time of the day (more or less), to sign contracts, to write novels and to publish them. In 19th century life was slower, days were marked by the rising and the going down of the sun, there were less causes of stress. I think the problem is that we don’t realize what we really have and we let progress and technology to overwhelm us. We should make a smart use of technology without forget to have true relationships with people. But perhaps I’m wandering off the subject…
Wed, Sep 28 2011 09:00pm EDT 4
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
Actually I have that book on my Amazon wishlist but haven’t yet bought it. Sounds like a great resource.
Thu, Sep 29 2011 02:51am EDT 5
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
I will look for that book. Thanks Irene for sharing!
Thu, Sep 29 2011 09:47am EDT 6
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
Thanks Irene! I didn’t realize there was a book like that … I’ll definitely look for it 🙂
Fri, Sep 30 2011 02:00pm EDT 7
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
Let me know what you think of it!!! I’ve found that book really interesting and it gave me a better understanding of Jane Austen world!

Technology Tuesdays: Jane Austen Fight Club

27 Sep
Tue, Sep 27 2011 09:00am EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
I suppose this is a bit old, but I can’t get over this fake film trailer that combines Jane Austen with the popular movie, “Fight Club.” Have you seen it? It went viral crazy last year and pulled in 200,000 views in just two days. People love it. Watch it and read a bit in The Telegraph here:

Jane Austen’s Fight Club is a viral web video hit

Some Austen fans hate parodies. Others love writing them (or creating a video). What do you think?

And what do you think about this in terms of connecting Austen with technology? Could it help new (or young) audiences relate to her and her sense of humor?

Also, feel free to post your own links and blogs below!

Tue, Sep 27 2011 09:51am EDT 2
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
OK, I can’t help it. I love this one, too:

Jane Austen for president

This is from 2008, and it’s still great. Thoughts on how we use technology to keep Austen relevant in our times?

Tue, Sep 27 2011 04:02pm EDT 3
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
Well, let’s contribute to Technological Tuesday 😀 It is not exactly technological, but I have always being interested in how the different movie adaptations use technology and different devices to convey different things and elicit different feelings in the person watching the film.

I have found this website http://www.cinematicjaneausten.com/Chapter2illustrations.html where it is discussed and shown in pictures how the different use of lights and candles in the different movie adaptations make it easier for the person watching it to understand what is going on, to make dramatical pauses, and to convey many other feelings.
It is amazing how different filmmakers have different opinions about the same scene, and how their different uses of the illumination makes that scene quite different.
What do you think?
Wed, Sep 28 2011 05:02am EDT 4
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
Finally I managed to see this videos!!! They’re funny, in particular Jane Austen’s Fight Club. I’ve often tought that these ladies, with all their social conventions, must feel the need to find a safety valve. Elizabeth is not the kind of person who submit herself to conventions without struggle, even if it’s about become an accomplished girl. Sure enough my immagination never went so far to picture a Fight Club! Technology is a good way to keep interest in Jane Austen high, through videos, films, parodies… we’re doing the same here, we’re not? We’re trying to keep interest high by discussing every facet of Jane Austen, and we’re doing it using technological means. I don’t like very much parodies when they have the intention to ridicule Jane Austen and her work, but if they catch the irony and the sarcasm, thay can be a way to put in touch new generations with Jane Austen.
Wed, Sep 28 2011 08:55am EDT 5
Amy Fountain
Amy Fountain
2 Posts
The video, Jane Austen for President, is soooo clever. And think how simple the world would/could be with her as the leader of the free world. Ahhh, wishful thinking…

Motivational Mondays: Studying character in Austen’s novels

26 Sep
Mon, Sep 26 2011 11:12am EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
“Those who tell their own story … must be listened to with caution.” – Sanditon

A great piece of advice! This was posted in January on the Jane Austen Today blog.

What do you think? Have you personally encountered something like this? Why would Austen include this in Sandition?

Tue, Sep 27 2011 02:53am EDT 2
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
I think most of people need to tell their own story, it makes you feel like you’re important, at least for a brief moment. Jane Austen’s novels are full with characters who tell their stories: George Wickham when talks to Elizabeth at Aunt Philips, Captain Benwick at Lyme tells his story to Anne, Mrs. Elton never stop talking about herself and we have a pretty good idea of her own story. All this characters feel the need to tell their stories to almost strangers. Probably that’s why Jane Austen tell us to “listen with caution”: someone who tells his story to a stranger likely has a precise purpose, to be at the centre of attention, to find comfort and support, to be listened to or worse to deceive the audience. On the other hand, someone who tells his story is not an impartial teller. Maybe that’s why we have to be cautious and probably this is the meaning the sentence has in Sanditon. The quote continues saying “when you see us in contact, you will judge for yourself”, isn’t it?
Tue, Sep 27 2011 04:13pm EDT 3
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
I completely agree!! I am very suspicious when people who I don’t really know start telling me things about themselves. I agree with the idea that those people have something in mind when they do that. Remember Lucy Steele, when she tells Elinor about her secret engagement to Edward Ferrars; she already knew that there was a special friendship between Elinor and Edward. Her purpose was to hurt Elinor and tell her somehow to stay away. And that’s why I think that people who are very willing to tell you their stories even if they don’t know you very well, I feel suspicious.
Thu, Sep 29 2011 12:54pm EDT 4
Betty Ellis
Betty Ellis
10 Posts
I’ve not read “Sanditon” but need to. Glad to know that is where the quote came from. Carolyn, you can relate to it at another level with your journalistic training. Listening to others’ stories is good, but it’s best to remain objective and get other views of the story before believing you have all of the facts. President Ronald Reagan famously would say, “Trust but verify.”
Thu, Sep 29 2011 01:00pm EDT 5
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
So true! That’s the biggest principle in journalism and often spawns jokes such as, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” It’s so important to incorporate various points of view into articles (and novels), and even then you may not have the full story.

Mr. Darcy: The role model boyfriend

14 Sep
Wed, Sep 14 2011 08:46pm EDT 1
Carolyn Crist
Carolyn Crist
41 Posts
So who doesn’t compare men to Mr. Darcy to determine if he’s “the one”? I definitely do. Ha ha.
Wed, Sep 21 2011 01:39pm EDT 2
Mary Simonsen
Mary Simonsen
1 Posts
My favorite thing about Mr. Darcy is that he is a man who is capable of change. After Elizabeth refuses his offer of marriage, he has to hard look at himself. As a result, he changes because he wants to be worthy of Lizzy’s love. This is a man who would even ask for directions!
Wed, Sep 21 2011 03:41pm EDT 3
Amy Fountain
Amy Fountain
2 Posts
I think every woman would lead a wonderful and fulfilled life if they had a “Darcy”
Wed, Sep 21 2011 03:52pm EDT 4
Carolina Cordeiro
Carolina Cordeiro
1 Posts
All Jane Austen is about second chances, I think. And, if you have a man capable of refiguring and of giving himself to the woman he loves… well, yeah, Mr. Darcy put the line quite high to reach. 🙂
Wed, Sep 21 2011 05:38pm EDT 5
Irene Aprile
Irene Aprile
26 Posts
I believe Mr.Darcy represents the struggle between what is right and what is easy. This struggle is evident in Mr.Wickham too. George Wickham chooses the easy way while Mr.Darcy remains consistent to the right way, even if it means to step away from the woman he loves. Of course, Darcy has is own personal view about what is right and for sure it isn’t right in general, but he is coherent. When Darcy realizes that he behave in a manner not coherent with his idea of gentleman he changes.
Wed, Sep 21 2011 09:43pm EDT 6
Courtney Parker
Courtney Parker
1 Posts
What I like the most about Mr. Darcy is that he also matures over the course of the novel. Although we often credit Lizzy as the one who must undergo a transformation, you have to appreciate Darcy’s willingness embrace a family as scattered as the Bennetts. I especially like how he becomes so much choosier with his words toward the end of the story; during his first proposal to Lizzy, he does a little too much talking (to a girl who values conversation, not being lectured to). Once he gets his heart on paper, though, he’s able to temper his words and stay aloof (but not too aloof) while Lizzy warms up to him. I think that distance gives him the chance to show her he has been humbled — and allows her to see he’s human.
Thu, Sep 22 2011 08:40am EDT 7
Cinta García
Cinta García
17 Posts
I agree with the opinion that Austen novels deal with second chances. And I also have to mention that those memorable Austen heros tend to prove they have changed by means of a letter. Oh, how delightful when we read those letters! Of course we cannot compare Darcy’s letter with Captain Wentworth’s one, but still, those letters work very well at showing us and Lizzy as well, how much Darcy’s character has changed and can change just to achieve his goal: Lizzy’s love.

I am very happy I found my own Mr Darcy 😀 He is not exactly the same, but at least he is quite Darcy-like. Mr Darcy will always be my favourite Jane Austen hero.