A smattering Jane Austen (and Brontë!) books coming out in 2017


The Making Of Jane AustenTitle
: The Making of Jane Austen
Author: Devoney Looser
Publication date: June 21, 2017

Less a biography,  The Making of Jane Austen centers on not just what influenced Austen in her life but also how Austen’s work influenced others long after her death. According to Publisher’s Weekly, in an interview with Looser, “Austen had been invoked for political causes as early as 1908, when her name was emblazoned on banners held by suffragettes marching through the streets of London.”

While the book is being published by John Hopkins University Press, a regular publisher of academia titles, this quote, by Deborah Yaffe, of the title should change those who may normally shy away from such titles: “This highly entertaining book makes clear that contemporary Janeites – with their cosplay, their clashing interpretations of much-loved novels, their wet-shirt Darcy, and their fiercely possessive relationship to their favorite author – are heirs to a tradition of Austen-love that stretches back to the early 19th century. Devoney Looser’s brilliant detective work introduces us to a cast of creative, courageous and eccentric women and men who helped keep Austen’s work alive and vital into our own time.”

KinderGuides to Pride and PrejudiceTitle: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen: A KinderGuides Illustrated Learning Guide
Author: Melissa Medina, Fredrik Colting, Lett Yice
Publication date: April 1, 2017

I could not find much information about this book, even the quote by Publisher’s Weekly, is odd since I cannot find the review. It seems KinderGuides are classic literature books made simple for kids, such as this title is a children’s picture book and is only 45 pages long but despite its short length, the illustration is gorgeous.


A Girl Walks into a BookTitle
: A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontës Taught Me about Life, Love, and Women’s Work
Author: Miranda Pennington
Publication date: May 16, 2017

Finally! A Brontë book!

An “off-beat memoir,” Pennington uses the Brontës as the backdrop of her life: ” She began to delve into the work and lives of the Brontës, finding the sisters were at times her lifeline, her sounding board, even her closest friends.” This subject matter is so up my alley, I just contacted the publisher to see if I can get an advanced reader’s copy.

Cocktails with Jane
Title
Cocktails with Jane
Author: Alison Maloney
Publication date: April 1, 2017

Also more my speed! Cocktails with Jane is a book of gin recipes with an Austen twist. “The cocktails, of course, all have Jane Austen associations in their names and in their character. The Darcy has great taste and an aloof charm. The Lizzy B is sparkling and zestful. The Pemberley is elegant and refined.” It’s a shame this is coming out in August as the warm summer months are perfect for drinking gin. Who am I kidding? The U.K. never gets warm summer months.
The Jane Austen TreasuryTitle
The Jane Austen Treasury
Author: Janet Todd
Publication date: May 2, 2017

This seems doesn’t see to be terribly original content – it’s basically a collection of witticisms, facts, and other miscellany about Austen. With that said, it might be a good book to have on hand when you’re doing Jane Austen trivia night. (I know some of you are probably doing this already, so don’t even try and deny it.)

The Secret History of Jane Eyre

 

 

Title: The Secret History of Jane Eyre
Author: John Pfordresher
Publication date: June 27, 2017

This title pulls back the novel’s exterior and looks at its influences and influencers, Charlotte’s mindset, and the hows and whys of the books’ birth.

According to the publisher’s website, the main question pushing this book forward is, “Why did Charlotte Brontë go to such great lengths, on the publication of her acclaimed, best-selling novel, Jane Eyre, to conceal her authorship from the press, the London literary establishment, and even her closest friends?”

Not much else is known about this title, but the cover alone looks intriguing enough but just like The Making of Jane AustenThe Secret History of Jane Eyre is published by an academic publisher.


The Spirituality of Jane AustenTitle
: The Spirituality of Jane Austen
Author: Paula Hollingsworth
Publication date: April 1, 2017

In this title, Hollingsworth puts forth the idea Jane was a fierce, yet gentle, religious person. I’m not sure I’m following that train of thought  –  in my memory — which can be faulty — Jane’s books included religion in part of her skewering. Going to church always seems like an afterthought and any character in her books marrying a man of the cloth did so because it was the thing to do not necessarily for belief purposes. I’ve added this title to my Austen Amazon list, but it’ll probably be farther down the list to read.

The BrontësaurusTitle:
The Brontësaurus: An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë (and Branwell)
Author: John Sutherland, John Crace
Publication date: November 14, 2017

Okay, I love this idea. I have rarely found books about siblings to encompass all of those siblings. Sutherland and Crace give us the  Brontës in digested forms. With Crace at the helm, you know it’s going to be good. Crace, some of you may know, does the Digested Reads column and podcast over at The Guardian. Crace is to the point, funny, and provides a bit of snark into his pieces. This book is sure to be a delight.


At Home With Jane AustenTitle
At Home with Jane Austen
Author: Lucy Worsley
Publication date: July 11, 2017

I am so excited about this book, I gave the book its own post!

From the post, “Holy cat’s pyjamas! One of my favourite historians is releasing a book on Jane this summer to coincide with the 200th anniversary of her death. (Pour one out for Jane’s death, amen.)

“From the publisher, ‘On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen’s childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses – both grand and small – of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life.
[…]
‘Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but – in the end – a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.'”

Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of LifeTitleTake Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life
Author: Samantha Ellis
Publication date: February 28, 2017

This title, like Jane Austen: Secret Radical, has been making the reviewing rounds. I’d say about 20% of the news articles coming my way about Austen/Brontës are about this title. I think much of why that is is because it’s about Anne Brontë, the often forgotten sister. I wrote a post about Anne last month (in conjunction with the docudrama about the Brontë siblings , “To Walk Invisible.). I am excited for this title as I’m always a big fan of the underdog.

Amazon’s page for the book says the book is to be internationally released on February 28th, but there isn’t an option to pre-order.


Jane Austen the Secret RadicalTitle
Jane Austen, Secret Radical
Author: Helena Kelly
Publication date: May 2, 2017

I wrote last week about the furor and decisiveness over this book but for me it piqued my interest so much so I contacted the publisher to get an advanced reader’s copy which arrived a few days later. I have stumbled across a few other reviews, one pretty indepth alleging Kelly was “inspired” by their work heavily and it’s evident throughout the book. I’ve stepped away from any publications with reviews for this title to form my own opinions. I hope to have an honest review up within the month.

The Genius of Jane AustenTitle
: The Genius of Jane Austen
Author: Paula Byrne
Publication date: June 27, 2017

I KNEW this title seemed familiar! This is an updated version of Bryne’s book, first published in 2003, published by Bloosmbury Press, a small academic-y publishing house. I’m hoping with the updated content, I can assume will match the recent surge of movies since 2003, AND a contemporary publisher (Harper Collins) that will make the work more reader friendly and widely available, this title will rock socks.


Jane Austen ProjectTitle
The Jane Austen Project
Author: Kathleen A. Flynn
Publication date: May 2, 2017

Super, super stoked about this book. The premise of two time travellers who arrive in Jane Austen’s time to meet, befriend, and steal from her. Plus I love the cover. So imagine to my great delight when the author contacted me directly and asked me if I wanted an ARC? Hells to the yes! The book arrived yesterday and I’ve bumped it to the top of my reading queue. Expect a review soon that will be honest and as thorough as possible. (Thanks again, Kathleen! I’m super looking forward to reading this!)


On the Sofa with Jane AustenTitle
On the Sofa with Jane Austen
Author: Maggie Lane
Publication date: May 1, 2017

Containing essays from Regency World, they “celebrate the quirkiest corners and cleverest contrivances of Jane Austen’s art.”  Topics covered from “gossip to grandmothers.” It’s noted in the author biography Lane is a celebrated lecturer on the world wide JASNA circuit so expect a lot of in depth pieces on the minutiae of Austen’s life and works.

Top 5 Jane Austen t-shirts for you to buy

I have a love affair with t-shirts.

What’s strange, to me, is I did not set out one day and say, “OH! I need to collect t-shirts!”  No, it became evident when I was clearing out my closet one day and counted how many t-shirts I owned.

200. I’ll let that sink in.

I’m always on the look out for new t-shirts. I buy them to commemorate a trip as they are cheaper than most swag, barely noticeable in packing, and wearable. I celebrate concerts and fandoms. I support local businesses. I like vintage ones as well.

I just plain like t-shirts.

My collection is down to about 100 shirts, but I’m always on the look out for new ones (I keep my eye on dayoftheshirt.com which collates the best deals for the day) and one of my favorite themes is literature. Book covers, author’s quotes, interesting approaches to the work. I’m a big book nerd and I let my nerd flag fly.

Below you’ll find some rather adorable, interesting, or just plain NEED t-shirts to add to your collection of Austen memorabilia.

 

O. M. G. If you’re a big literature geek (or even a small one) and you’re not shopping at Out of Print Clothing, you need to. They create t-shirt, sweatshirts, and gifts based on various works of literature from Jane Austen to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. To your left you’ll find a woman’s t-shirt (up to sizes XXL) for Pride and Prejudice with a gorgeous design. I also have the Pride and Prejudice pouch.

If you do decide to give Out of Print a go, do use this link for shopping as it gives you $5 off your purchase! 

Another gorgeous t-shirt, this Litograph’s Pride and Prejudice t-shirt has the complete book printed on it. yes, the complete book. I have this version of the t-shirt. Litorgraph’s has a huge variety of different shirts for your favorite authors and like Out of Print, they also carry gifts like scarves, posters, and totes.

Word of caution: The shirts are blurred around the seams and some of the words can look like they are cut off. This is normal and part of the printing process.

It’s rare, I believe, to find products and gifts that celebrate the other works of our Jane. It seems as if every vendor on the planet is all Pride and Prejudice all the time but we shant forget Jane’s other five works so when I saw this t-shirt pop up in my list, I knew I had to add it.

The shirt is done by TeePublic and affixes the semi-famous Northanger Abbey quote, “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”

The shirt comes in male (unisex) and female cuts, a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. While I adore the shirts I get from TeePublic, they do tend to shrink a bit in the wash (even in cold water) and the length always seems to be one inch to short than I need so definitely size up!

Just like Northanger Abbey shirt, finding a non Pride and Prejudice shirt can be a pain so that’s why when I stumbled across this Emma shirt available at the Jane Austen Centre, I knew it had to be included in this list. The shirt, which is available in unisex sizes S – XL, has the Emma facsimile as its design. the Jane Austen Centre is located in England so be mindful the prices are in pound sterling and does not reflect cost of shipping to the U.S.
I may have to buy this shirt after this post is published. Nothing says delightful than a shirt with all of Jane’s men listed. The shirt, available in women’s and unisex sizing, is available at this lovely Jane Austen centric Etsy shop, Brookish. Also check out the store’s other goods such as scarves, mugs, and other assortments.

Jane Austen and the Ideals of Romance

Image of Jane Austen

If you live in or around Bridgeport, CT (or really, anywhere in CT since it’s so damned small), on February 13th, the Housatonic Community College’s Humanities department is proud to present a lecture on the topic, “Jane Austen and the Ideals of Romance.”  The lecturer is Professor Rebecca Adams, who is the chair of the department.

The event is open to public and free and begins at 2PM. It will take place at Housatonic Community College Women’s Center Beacon Hall.

(The article from the Connecticut Post is sparse with details and there doesn’t seem to be a press release avaiable or even a notice on the college’s website other than a lone Facebook post.)

Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë web series

Now that we’re in the middle of winter and we are all getting cabin fever, it’s time to turn to YouTube for some entertainment!

Web series have been popular for awhile covering everything from make-up tutorials to unboxing, so it seems ripe that there would be retellings of Austen and Brontë’s works and behold, there is! Below you’ll find modern adaptations of four of Austen’s works, one Jane Eyre, and a quick summary and analysis of Pride and Prejudice just in case you have forgotten.

Word to the wise each of the series runs between 75 – 100+ episodes but each of the episodes are 2 – 4 minutes long. This should keep you plenty entertained during those slow days at work.

(I will recommend you start with The Lizzy Bennet Diaries since those are the most well known as well as popular.)

The Lizzy Bennet Diaries (Pride & Prejudice)

Autobiography of Jane Eyre

Emma Approved (Emma)

Northbound (Northanger Abbey)

Elinor and Marianne take Barton (Sense & Sensibility)

Pride & Prejudice – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis

Don’t let the name fool you. “Dr. Sparky Sweets” gives a great summary and really thought out analysis of the book, so if you’re not adverse to some strong language, definitely check this out.

Jane Austen Bicentenary to be celebrated in Brighton

Here’s another one to add to the calendar!

A new exhibit, Jane Austen by the Sea, is being held at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, UK and

…will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with coastal towns and life in Brighton during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death.

This exhibit will run from June 17 – January 8, 2018. It looks to be an interesting one as it will showcase a locket of her hair, one of her music books, important letters and manuscripts, and a three-volume manuscript copy of Sandition, which is written in Cassandra Austen’s hand.

There is no direct connection of Jane and Brighton other than she mentions it in Pride and Prejudice and uses other seaside towns, like Lyme Regis, in her novels. This exhibit hopes to encapsulate not only Brighton during the Regency periods but what Jane must have experienced at the seaside resorts she did visit by,

…exploring why watering places like this became so fashionable: from coastal attire, tourist entertainments and the new pastimes of sea-bathing and Turkish baths to the town’s Royal connections and military presence.

For more information, you can read the announcement  in full at the Chichester Observer and visit the Royal Pavilion’s website for more details.

 

Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters links for January 29, 2017

Image for Austentatious Links

Here are your Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters related links for the week:

The politics of Jane Austen

Image of Jane Austen

When I decided to start this blog, as I’ve said many times, I wanted to thrust Jane into the light of the pop culture that she is — but along with pop culture, there must also be politics — you cannot have one without the other. (See current US president and UK prime minister.)

When research began on books and things on Jane at Amazon and around the internet, I knew from previous research endeavours there would be almost too much to handle. Over 400 items on my wish list alone and I have not even gotten touched the tip of the ice berg.

There were two books that kept popping up as I searched, The Politics of Jane Austen by E. McNeil and Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly. Now here’s the twist: Both books claim, using her work and papers, our Jane was a conservative (McNeil) and a progressive (Kelly). I suppose Jane could be both — her skewering of her contemporaries and her suggestion, no pushing!, of changes could be seen as progressive while the end results of the books — everyone gets bloody married and realizes those women’s fates — could be seen as conservative.

But can she really be both?

In Bharat Tandon’s review of Jane Austen, the Secret Radical in The Spectator, Tandon observes in the very first paragraph that Kelly’s work is,  “…ambitiously revisionist new study of Austen — a study that is by turns illuminating, provocative and infuriating.”  Which, hello!, there is always going to be varying opinions on someone’s work depending on their lens as they study the work. That’s why such studies exist in the humanities.  (It also makes for good conversation at academic conferences and perpetuates fake academic  rivalries.)

(However, we cannot apply this same logic to hard sciences where we need the studies to agree on whatever they are studying so our direction in health and so on can be taken care of!)

Once you get past the pretentious 10 dollar words and overbearing sentence structures, it is easy to come to the meat of Tandon’s argument on why they find the book to be so “infuriating.” It seems Kelly is writing for the general populace, which is clear by two accounts: One the price (see footnote below how I come to this conclusion)1 and two, the summary is written in plain and conversational language while McNeil’s and Tandon’s own book (Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation) are geared for academics, also verified by price, and the language is more than likely going to be dry and boring.  So Kelly bad and McNeil good.

(I also refer to such academic texts such as McNeil’s and Tandon’s as mental masturbation because it is not so much “Hey, this is what I think, let’s discuss” but more of “Hey, this is what I did, let me preen about my brilliance.”  Also! Morality of Conversation is not something I could see as being the hot topic as a book group unless a bottle of alcohol was involved.)

So was Jane radical or conservative? As in any research area, there is always going to be dissenting opinions and I disagree with Tandon’s ideas that those who love Jane are necessarily so by the general ideas of her rather than the actual independent thought of her work.

Kelly’s obvious culprits are the agents of the Austen industry, that heritage-industrial complex which transfigures radical art into tea towels and novelty mugs, but it is not obvious how her grievance is only a modern one.

As I have not read Kelly’s work (or McNeil’s or Tandon’s for that matter), my opinion is one of gloss. However, I have requested an advanced reader’s copy from Kelly’s publisher to review and at some point, I’ll read the other two esteemed authors works and also draw my own opinion from them as well.

So there.


1. If you have attended college or worked in academia, one of the biggest complaints is the cost of books. Why? As the readership for such tomes is going to be significantly smaller than say a copy of Harry Potter, the publishing companies have to come up with a way to recoup the costs. This also ties in with authors of such great works are paid very little, again due to a small readership. Insofar as the language, newspapers like New York Times and Washington Post have the comprehension level of those in their final year of high school / beginning college while papers such as USA Today have the comprehension guides of those in middle school. Again, what audience they are striving for. Most academic books are typically written for those close to graduating from a four year or in grad school and are meant as more as companion or research texts since many of these titles are just bound copies of dissertations. None of this is to install if you do not fit the model of what these papers and writers are looking for and can understand the contents but it is to point out who exactly the type of readership being sought.

Top 5 weird Jane-related things

My grand plan, if you will, is to push Jane out into the world via pop culture. While yes, media reviews, notices of upcoming events, notes of newsworthy information will still reign on the blog, I am more curious about the huge wealth of Jane-related stuff that does not follow the aforementioned. I remain vigilant that if a Pride & Prejudice and Doctor Who fan fiction mashup exists, anything is possible.

This is why a listicles feature will appear on a semi-weekly basis and they will be on anything from coloring books to toothpaste.

Jane Austen Cookie Cutters
Isn’t this the perfect accouterment for the holidays, an afternoon tea, or even just for a lovely snack? I mark this as “weird” for the simple reason biting Jane’s head off seems a bit cannabilistic, but hey, if you’re a tried and true Janeite, this may be perfect for your collection.

The cutter is shipped from England and
costs $11.28 USD (£8.95 GPB) plus there is shipping involved. If you’re looking for something a bit closer to home, this Etsy seller  is located in the US and is selling their design for $7 USD. She also has a recipe for “Jane’s Best Sugar Cookies” on the product page.

Straight Outta Pemberley
Right, it’s a t-shirt, why is this weird? Straight Outta Compton is the 1988 debut album (and song) by rap legends N.W.A. Doing a mashup of N.W.A. and Jane is hilarious. (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just read the wiki articles I linked and soon you’ll get the joke or be appalled.)

The t-shirt is sold on Amazon and costs $19.99 plus free shipping if you’re a Prime Member.

Jane Austen Temporary Tattoos
Not so much as weird as adorable, this pack includes 22 temporary tattoos from images to words. While you can buy these across the internet from different vendors, Amazon is offering them with free shipping for Prime Members.

Jane Austen Toothpaste
Yes, you read that correctly: Jane. Austen. Toothpaste. When I mentioned this to a pal at our last JASNA meeting, she looked at me incredulously as if how could such a thing happen. The answer: Apparently very easy. But I suppose if you’re fond of dancing, having fresh breath would be helpful.

Another Amazon find,  the toothpaste is $7 USD and is available for free shipping for Prime Members. (The toothpaste allegedly tastes of “rose” which I’m not a fond of so if you bought it and used it, let me know in the comments!)

Emma Matches
The item is billed for use at weddings, I suppose to be used in gift baskets for wedding members or as a token on the dinner tables. But still. Matches?

 

 

(I had many of these bookmarked but the rest were a little too easy to find.)

Basingstoke Festival 2017 featuring Jane Austen

Oooohhh — look at this. If you find yourself in Hampshire, specifically Basingstoke, from June 16 to July 9th, the community is having a month long festival to celebrate “Born in the Borough,” which of course includes lots and lots of Jane. (I’m going to go out on a limb here and suppose the Jane Austen statue will be revealed during this time.)

From the festival’s website:

Our theme for 2017 is ‘Born in the Borough’. Expect international artists and big name acts alongside local talent and an array of ‘Festival in the Community’ events which will help showcase arts and performances in underused places.

In addition, there will be a number of events held to celebrate Jane Austen, the world-renowned 19th century author who was born in the borough at Steventon and drafted some of her best known works while living in the area. This July marks the 200th anniversary of her death and provides the perfect opportunity to highlight how her work still entertains and inspires people today.

Visit the festival’s website for locations, times, and listing of events!

200 Years Since Jane Austen – Lunch & Talk

Image of Jane Austen

On July 20th, the Bath Priory is having a lunch and talk on, well, Jane!

From the event page:

Join Dr Moira Rudolf for an afternoon discussing Jane’s family background, her five years (1801-1806) in Bath, preferred entertainments, allies and love(s), focussing particularly on the two ‘Bath Books’: Northanger Abbey (drafted 1798/99, originally titled Susan) and Persuasion, her last complete novel, begun some seventeen years later, after she had already lived in Bath. Moira will also draw upon Jane’s lively, gossipy letters.

The event begins at noon BST and costs £50.00 per ticket.