Thursday, 14 January 2016

Alan Rickman just died...

Alan Rickman....
Breaking a hiatus shouldn't be with sad news... but here it is. I'm so sad that I feel like I'm unintelligible right now. 

But what can I do when one of my favourite actors died just now? Alan Rickman is my definitive Colonel Brandon; he was my ideal man in the Jane Austen world. I used to listen to his voice reading a poem at YouTube a few years back, mesmerised by his voice. I watched him as Col Brandon watching Marianne, youthful Marianne, then reading her poems. I watched him recently as Louis XIV in A Little Chaos, again with Kate Winslet who used to portray Marianne.

It hurts, you know? Separation hurts. And for that... I can only pour my pains here...Well, not just here, but this is one of the outlets I have, so do excuse my sadness...

My Col Brandon just died. My Severus Snape just died. And it hurts so much...

This link provides you with The Guardian's version of 10 best Alan Rickman performances. I posted some Alan Rickman YouTube videos as well below, just because I love him so. Alan, rest in peace. Thank you for providing us with that smile, that humour, that voice... that beauty that is you...

My favourite Alan Rickman scenes/series are below:

Monday, 27 April 2015

It’s been a lovely 8 years ...

Dear Readers,

Since meeting online 8 years ago and starting this blog we have learnt a lot, we have certainly made many new friends and we have uncovered some fascinating things about Jane and Tom. One of our greatest achievements was putting together a timeline which gave us a foundation for reading, discovering and writing other things about Jane that are now close to our heart.

8 years is a long time and we are running out of quotes but more importantly each of us has little time these days and have therefore decided that we will not be continuing with our quote of the week. This is not the end though, we are still going to be committed to posting when we have something interesting to say about Jane, Tom or indeed any JA adaptations that we want to talk about and share with you all.

Icha is visiting Europe in June and we are hoping to meet up and visit Bath and Chawton together, something we have wished for since we started speaking in 2007 so we will definitely be updating the blog with our adventures then.

This is not goodbye as we will all still be very much linked to this blog and will still respond to any comments that we receive but we want to thank all of you for your contributions and for making this journey really enjoyable.

Until you hear from us again, enjoy the archives!

Love Rachel, Icha and Linda xxx

Picture 1

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 297

Cinderella (Lily James) and Prince Kit (Richard Madden) dancing in the 2015 Cinderella

Happy Easter, everyone!  May you have the Universe’s blessings with you always.
Since it’s Easter, I was thinking of finding an Easter-related quote.  But since I’ve been in love with Cinderella 2015 (oh what a beautiful movie...Kenneth Branagh is an amazing director!), and some of the Cinderella quotes actually resonated with Jane Austen’s quotes, I’d take a quote shared between Cinderella and Miss Austen. In this case, Miss Anne Elliot.

From Persuasion, Chapter 16, Anne described what good company was to her:

''My idea of good company ... is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.''

To which Mr Elliot replied that she was mistaken, for “that is not good company; that is the best.”
Ella meets Kit for the first time

While Cinderella, having been banished by her stepmother to live in the attic, actually thought that no company is better than poor company. And those few friends she had, she treated with love and kindness. I have “only” watched the movie twice (actually planning for the 3rd one... blame Lily James’ and Richard Madden’s sizzling on-screen chemistry as Cinderella and the Prince), so I don’t remember the verbatim words. But according to the Elephant Journal, it should be something like this:

It’s better to be alone, than be surrounded by poor company.
She had few friends, but the ones she had, “she treated with an open heart and an open hand.”

Well, I hope you’ve been having good company during this Easter, the ones who love you just as you are and treat you with open heart and open hand... And if you have not found your best company, I hope you will be soon, just like the new Cinderella meets her Prince on an equal ground.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 296

St. Patrick at the St. Benin Church, Kilbennan, Ireland

Since St. Patrick's Day was just a few days ago, it has been on my mind.  Thus, I could not help but notice the references to that Day in the newspapers here in the middle of the United States.  I was amazed to see that there are so many celebrations for it way over here in the U.S.  Specifically, there was an advertisement for a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Memphis, Tennessee and another advertisement for locally sponsored tour of Ireland.  I don't get around much, so those ads took me by complete surprise. 

Which brings me to my Jane Austen quote when she talked of Tom and called him "my Irish friend".  Putting all this together makes Ireland a really Big Deal!

So as far as I am concerned Tom shall always be "my Irish friend" too!!  Jane and I have spoken!

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Jane Austen portrait

An interesting email came to me last week from Ed Lefroy, a descendant from Thomas Lefroy (see here for our Oct 2007 post). When going through some of the books from Carrigglas Manor (built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy) he found one called Personal Aspects of Jane Austen by Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh (1838-1922, great niece of Jane Austen) which has a frontispiece of a painting by Zoffany entitled Jane Austen.

The book was published in 1920 and interestingly the painting claiming to be of Jane Austen is the same painting known as the Rice Portrait (see our 2012 post). The Rice Portrait was originally attributed to Johann Zoffany as inscribed in this book but now is believed to have been made by Ozias Humphry (a renowned English painter) around 1788 when Jane Austen was 13 years old. Some still suggest that the painting dates to the early 19th century and thus cannot be of Austen, an interesting mystery.

Do you believe the painting is of Jane? We welcome your comments.

Pic 1 and 2: Sent from Ed Lefroy, taken from Personal Aspects of Jane Austen (1920)
Pic 3: Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 46

That would be what Chief Justice would say. 'Never give up!'

So, tomorrow is Monday, and - like many of us - I have several things to resume working at the office. One of them is a paper co-authored with several colleagues to be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal. We're not yet happy with the manuscript, there's something wanting... the core concept is not strong yet. So, I'm a bit disheartened at the moment at the prospect of sitting down in front of my laptop and rework on the manuscript, yet again... 

But then I looked around for a Tom Lefroy quote for this (passing) weekend, and I re-read the letter Tom Lefroy wrote to his daughter Jane. The extended version of the letter can be found here, taken from the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy (p. 31-32). His advice that resonates with me is this:

Believe me, my darling girl, there is no progress to be made in anything without steady and continued application, which, besides the advantages it brings in the way of improvement, makes labour pleasant from habit instead of being irksome, as it always is to the idle and irresolute.

Thanks, Chief. I hope I can make a breakthrough tomorrow with the paper, instead of falling to the "idle and irresolute" trap of social media...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 295

Last night I was fortunate enough to go to see James McAvoy (yes our Becoming Jane Tom Lefroy) in a production on stage of The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes. He was absolutely phenomenal as the paranoid schizophrenic born into a wealthy, aristocratic British family. This play, focussed on social classes has stayed in my mind and today it made me wonder about Jane Austen and how the classes interacted in her time.

Jane Austen wrote often about her world and this included her social class, the gentry. The manners and customs of the gentry are always present in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I have chosen a quote from chapter 19 of Sense and Sensibility where Edward Ferrars is speaking:

"We never could agree in our choice of profession. I always preferred the church, as I still do. But that was not smart enough for my family. They recommended the army. That was a great deal too smart for me. The law was allowed to be genteel enough; many young men, who had chambers in the Temple, made a very good appearance in the first circles, and drove about town in very knowing gigs. But I had no inclination for the law, even in this less abstruse study of it, which my family approved. As for the navy, it had fashion on its side, but I was too old when the subject was first started to enter it- (…) I was therefore entered at Oxford and have been properly idle ever since"

This fascinates me as in some ways our perceptions, customs and social interactions have changed so much from these times until today but in other ways we are still facing the same issues. For example young people today, in the culture I have familiarity with, typically have autonomy and freedom of choice in terms of their career paths (I do appreciate that this does not apply to all cultures), this suggests that traditions and connections with older times are fading. However at a time where our government in the UK are discussing university tuition fees and affordable housing for average paid workers, it is apparent that the questions and deliberations of class divide that also existed in Jane Austen's time are still very real and at the forefront of many peoples lives.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 294

It seems as though a multitude of "sickness" is going around where we are, so I wondered what Jane had to say about it.  I found in Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 8 the following about Jane Bennett who had gotten ill at the Bingleys:

Elizabeth joined them again only to say that her sister was worse, and that she could not leave her. Bingley urged Mr. Jones's being sent for immediately; while his sisters, convinced that no country advice could be of any service, recommended an express to town for one of the most eminent physicians. This she would not hear of; but she was not so unwilling to comply with their brother's proposal; and it was settled that Mr. Jones should be sent for early in the morning, if Miss Bennet were not decidedly better. Bingley was quite uncomfortable; his sisters declared that they were miserable. They solaced their wretchedness, however, by duets after supper, while he could find no better relief to his feelings than by giving his housekeeper directions that every possible attention might be paid to the sick lady and her sister.

So even in those days, illness (sickness) was quite a problem.  Enough said, and I hope everyone gets better very quickly.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Monday, 16 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 293

Dear friends,

Last Saturday was Valentine's Day, so it's apt that I post something about love, which is Jane Austen's most popular topic. However, I'd like to post something about self-love and self-appreciation this time, because without a good relationship with ourselves, any relationships with others are bound to fail. 

Lizzy Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) mimicking Darcy's insult to Jane Bennet

From Pride and Prejudice Chapter III Vol I; Darcy was about to deliver his famous insult on Lizzy's character.

"...turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, ``She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.''
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous."

Let's forget for a moment that Lizzy and Darcy would later find deep connexion between them etc. etc. At this moment, Lizzy did not let Darcy's comments define her. She knew her self worth, and she appreciates herself for who she is. I think had she not maintained her composure and fought Darcy back, the latter would not find himself helplessly attracted to her.

I do think, though, romance is important. But prior to that, we need to love ourselves first and nurture a loving relationship with ourselves. That, I'd say, includes accepting our worst sides/characters and grow from it. 

Belated Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends! May Love be with us always.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 292

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 291

The aftermath of a massive storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 2005 (the

I have two weather-related quotes for last weekend, which I should have posted earlier had I not forgotten that it had been my turn instead, and thus I was busy having other fun (head down in shame...).

First, about snow storm. Massachusetts is having a snow blizzard at the moment, such that Governor Charlie Baker imposed on state-wide travel ban. Not sure if Mississippi is hit as well, but dear Linda, I hope you are safe and sound! 

The related quote would be from Emma, Chapter 15:

Mr. John Knightley now came into the room from examining the weather, and opened on them all with the information of the ground being covered with snow, and of its still snowing fast, with a strong drifting wind; concluding with these words to Mr. Woodhouse: 

"This will prove a spirited beginning of your winter engagements, sir. Something new for your coachman and horses to be making their way through a storm of snow."

Poor Mr. Woodhouse was silent from consternation; but every body else had something to say; every body was either surprized or not surprized, and had some question to ask, or some comfort to offer. Mrs. Weston and Emma tried earnestly to cheer him and turn his attention from his son-in-law, who was pursuing his triumph rather unfeelingly.

"I admired your resolution very much, sir," said he, "in venturing out in such weather, for of course you saw there would be snow very soon. Every body must have seen the snow coming on. I admired your spirit; and I dare say we shall get home very well. Another hour or two's snow can hardly make the road impassable; and we are two carriages; if one is blown over in the bleak part of the common field there will be the other at hand. I dare say we shall be all safe at Hartfield before midnight."

Emphasizes of my own. 

But of course the Knightleys and the Dashwoods still ventured out back to Hartfield, and it was good that they made it. Don't try to do that tonight in Boston tho, not advisable!

This stormy snowy condition, my dear friend, is of such contrast with where I live now in North Queensland Australia. We won't get snow, but we are hoping so much for the rain. Alas, we have been trapped in a hot weather pocket for a week now without some respite (okay, a huge rain on last Thursday, but that was it). What I'd give for a downpour rain now...

The related quote would be from Jane Austen's letter dated 18 September 1796:

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Indeed. My poor hair...

We have air-conditioner (or heater for Massachussetts until they have power outage), which Jane Austen would have loved to have. On that note, I shall return to my quarter for some cool air-con...