This may have most of you clutching pearls but it’s too delicious not to share. A comedy troupe / production / duo (or something), SparkleSuit, have put together an eight episode web series entitled Inappropriate Jane Austen. The content is on the bawdy side and while I’m a sassy strumpet outside of this blog, I am trying to keep the blog fairly family friendly. With all of that being said, if you roughly have 10 minutes and you enjoy a bit of ribald humour, I suggest you click on the video below and giggle.
As I said last week, I wanted to start a weekly read along mainly to re-read Jane and I cannot remember the last time I read Mansfield Park so it seems as good of time as any to bump her up the reading pile.
I also choose Mansfield Park as the first read as it seems to be the least read / discussed book and there doesn’t seem to be any, and I may be wrong, modern adaptations of this novel either in print or film form. (This is not to say there isn’t any in the huge world of Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF) as if there can be aPride and Prejudice and Doctor Who mashup, anything is possible.)
Summary: In chapter one we meet the three sisters: Lady Bertram, Mrs. Price, and Mrs. Norris and learn about their backgrounds. One marries for money (Lady Bertram), one marries for love (Mrs. Price), and one marries for, well, neither (Mrs. Norris). In chapter two, Fanny is introduced and sent to Mansfield Park where she meets the Bertram family, especially Edmund. The Bertrams neither hate or are enthralled with Fanny — they do not mean to be unkind but they treat her with indifference, “Fanny was good-natured enough.” In chapter three we learn more about the Bertrams, Mrs. Norris, and the state of their economies.
Mrs. Norris takes great pains to be shown as benevolent and kind, yet she is indeed a very emotionless person. “Under this infatuating principle, counteracted by no real affection for her sister, it as impossible for her to aim at more than the credit of projecting and arranging so expensive a charity;…”
Mrs. Norris, it’s noted, married financially poorly and saves her income to live a comfortable life only to continue to save and pinch her funds and takes no thought to affording anything though she very well can.
Fanny’s “ignorance” is implied when she does not have the breadth of education the Bertram children have — “How strange! — Did you ever hear anything so stupid?” Here, Austen is clearly showing how the class divides by education: Poor are ignorant for they cannot afford schooling while the rich are highly intelligent because they can afford an education.
Lady Bertram is described as a lazy thing who gives very little thought of her children and more to her dog. How would this have affected her relationship with Fanny and Fanny’s relationships with the Bertram children?
Edmund is to become a clergyman it’s interesting his countenance is a mixture of all three of the sister’s husbands: The money from his father, the duty like his uncle the pastor, and the kindness of Fanny’s father before he took to the drink. Austen created her hero out of the best qualities of all three men — why?
More conversation on Mrs. Norris and her, um, particular disdain for actual kindness which we learn when the Bertrams discuss sending Fanny to live with Mrs. Norris only find said Norris will have none of that — her nerves are too shattered after the death of her husband. Right.
My take: Austen throws a lot in these three chapters which at first glance doesn’t seem to be more than just introductions and laying out the plot but I began to pick up very subtle themes as I went along like the undercurrent with Lady and Lord Bertram’s relationship which is more complicated than outrightly stated. I must confess I have always thought Edmund and Fanny’s relationship was a bit wet and my heckles are getting raised three chapters in how right I am but here’s to hoping Austen can change my mind.
I know, I know — I just posted the unveiling of the prototype was to be at the end of the week but I assumed the news meant Friday, not Thursday. Oh well, so tada! Here are some images of what the life sized statue will come to be.
The statue will be unveiled in July at the Basingstoke town centre.
On July 4, 2017, the British Library, in conjunction with The Royal Society of Literature, is hosting a talk, What’s So Great About Jane Austen?.
From the press release:
This summer marks the bicentenary of the death of Jane Austen at the age of 41. What explains her enduring appeal? Four writers discuss this as well as arguing for their favourite of her novels. Paula Byrne is the author of The Real Jane Austen, which introduces us to a woman deeply involved in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in emotional and artistic development. She champions Austen’s Mansfield Park. Helena Kelly, who admires Persuasion, is the author of Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, ‘a sublime piece of literary detective work’. The novelist Kamila Shamsie speaks up for Pride and Prejudice, which she has loved since childhood. Their discussion is chaired by John Mullan, author of What Matters in Jane Austen? He praises Emma.
Members and fellows ofThe Royal Society of Literature can book their tickets over at the BL’s website while the general public will need to RSVP .
If you happen to find yourself in London, UK sometime from now until February 19, you should head on over to the British Library and check out the exhibit, Jane Austen Among Family and Friends. The exhibit includes Jane’s juvenilia, notebooks, and letters amongst friends and family — much of which haven’t been together in decades. The exhibit also has Jane’s writing desk, given to her by her father, where she wrote most of her books.
Jane Austen Among Family and Friends (10 January 2017 – 19 February 2017)
Next year marks the bicentenary of the death of one of our most-loved writers, Jane Austen. To mark this anniversary, we are bringing together writings from Austen’s formative teenage years for the first time in 40 years, from the British Library and Bodleian Library collections, plus family letters and memorabilia as part of a temporary display in our free Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery. This display will also include one of the Library’s finest treasures – Austen’s writing desk.
Together they illuminate the personal family life of this towering literary figure. We are uniting the three treasured notebooks that Austen kept of her teenage writings, which include “The Beautiful Cassandra”, a story dedicated to Austen’s sister, and a spoof history of England featuring illustrations of the Kings and Queens by Cassandra Austen. The exhibits reveal family joys and sorrows which shaped the writer: one letter tells of Austen’s sorrow on the death of her beloved father, while a poem expresses the joy Austen felt on the birth of her nephew.
Games centering around Jane Austen’s worlds continue to pop up. So far I’ve covered The Lady’s Choice (computer) and Jane Austen’s Matchmaker (cards) with plans to cover several other games I know are out there – I know, I know. Marrying Mr. Darcy (cards) is on top of everyone’s list. I have it but it’s in storage – including a game for the iOS so I wasn’t too terribly surprised to find out there is also a Facebook based game entitled Jane Austen Manors.
Looks like the goal of the game is to decorate homes, persons, and make and solidify connections.
From the developer:
Featuring a Furnishings shop for the latest in decor, and a Clothiers for your wardrobe in the latest Regency fashions, Jane Austen Manors also offers mini-games that reflect the past-times of a begone era such as Needlework that can be displayed in your parlour at completion. And don’t forget the importance of having connections! In Jane Austen Manors, your neighbors can make calls by visiting your manor and leaving calling cards and gifts.
I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook games so I more than likely won’t give this a go but if you do, let us know in the comments what you think.
(I don’t know if the developer means to do this but I’m cracking up at the pun of “manors” for “manners” as a rich part of the game is having connections with other players.)