Monday, 28 January 2008

Jane Austen Calendar 2008 part 2

Many thanks to Christina in Texas who made this incredibly beautiful calendar, and Michelle who sent it to the rest of Team Jane, here is the 2008 Jane Austen Calendar in JPEG format. You have to download each pictures, unfortunately, for Blogger does not accommodate PDF. Not that I'm aware of, at least. The ITV Austen fans will find lots of comfort in the calendar. Fans of Emma 1996 (Gwyneth Palthrow), Pride & Prejudice 2005 (Keira Knightley), Sense & Sensibility 2008, and Becoming Jane will also have heart throbs!

Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy for Jan 2008; Marianne Dashwood & Willoughby for Feb 2008.

Catherine Morland & Mr. Tilney for March 2008; Anne Elliot & Capt. Wentworth for April 2008.

Fanny Price & the Boys for May 2008; Emma Woodhouse & Mr. Knightley for June 2008.

Elizabeth Bennet for July 2008; Elinor & Marianne Dashwood for Aug 20008.

Catherine Morland for September 2008; Anne Elliot for October 2008.

Fanny Price for Nov 2008; Emma Woodhouse for Dec 2008.

And... Jane Austen & Tom Lefroy for January 2009!

Thanks a lot, Christina. And to everyone who have commented on the broken links, so that I could fix them up. Hope you guys have no problems downloading it now.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Tom Lefroy visiting Ashe in October 1800

I would like to thank Arnie Perlstein for tipping the existence of an excellent book titled ‘The Letters of Mrs. Lefroy: Jane Austen’s Beloved Friend’. And of course, to dearest Rachel for sending one copy to me across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean! And now, whilst I have the rare opportunity to make a post (actually, am rather fed up with daily works… a good alibi!), let me give verbatim citation of the first letter in the book, dated 29 September 1800 from Madam Lefroy to Reverend Edward Lefroy in Warfied Bracknell, Berks. Edward was one of Anne Lefroy’s sons (the other one was Benjamin). The interesting thing is that the letter mentioned a visit plan of Colonel Anthony Peter Lefroy (Tom Lefroy’s father) and a Thomas to Ashe. Arnie and I are very sure that this Thomas was Thomas Langlois Lefroy. The letter, extracted from page 29, is quoted below. It’s better to read it hand in hand with the Jane Austen/Tom Lefroy timeline that I wrote August last year to understand its significance, as it corroborates Arnie’s and my suspicion that Tom Lefroy might still had a contact with Jane on early October 1800. Oh, and mind you, Mrs. Lefroy does not like to use dots. She had only one dot for the full stop in her letter!

Letter 1 [September 29 1800]

My dearest Edward,

Your letter of Friday last gave me great pleasure I feel the separation my beloved Boy as severely as it is possible for you to do but whilst I can reflect upon your disposition & conduct with as much comfort as I now derive from it I will endeavour to bear the unavoidable absences & look forward to the time when we shall meet again with delight you have I trust from your conduct at school [laid up] for yourself a source of comfort thro’ life & I pray to God that you may always pursue in the same manner & that little Ben: may follow your example – we expect your Uncle John on Tuesday I am greatly disappointed at finding he cannot continue to call at Warfield Col:nl Lefroy & Thomas are to come here on Thursday or Friday I believe George will go to Cork St he is not much delighted with the scheme as you may suppose

I must intreat you to accept of the enclosed half guinea I cannot bear your affection for me should so impoverish you & be assured I have derived more pleasure from your kindness than 50 times the sum could have purchased for me in any other we all join in love to you, Ben: & Tom – tell Ben: I hope he will write to me I will send him a letter very soon.

My dearest Boy your affect:te Mother AL

Ashe Sunday Sept:r 29

The ‘Thomas’ in the letter was obviously Thomas Langlois Lefroy, for it was paired up with Colonel Lefroy. The ‘Tom’ in the last paragraph was Ben Lefroy’s cousin, Tom Brydges. The bold sentences are my own emphasise.

I am uncertain of the Cork Street scheme George (was this Mr. George Lefroy? Then why not saying ‘your father’?) had to attend to… but it might not be Jane Austen-related, for Tom Lefroy had married Mary Paul by this date.

However, the probable visit of Tom Lefroy in Ashe in October 1800 might lead to the drama in Mansfield Park where Edmund Bertram asked Fanny Price to give her consent on his involvement in the silly drama. Put it in Jane/Tom perspective, it is plausible that Tom still tried to explain to Jane his behaviours of leaving her for Mary Paul, and it’s possible that the time was on October 1800, in Ashe Hampshire. Otherwise, how would Jane reached an understanding about Tom, albeit belatedly? For to me, Jane clearly effused her comprehension of Tom’s situation in the Wentworth/Anne Elliot interaction in Persuasion where Jane as the narrator clearly understood the reason why Anne left Captain Wentworth; i.e. for her family’s sake.

I still have to double check where Jane was on early October 1800; I hope other Team Jane can help me with this. If she was in Hampshire that month, it was very likely that Jane and Tom truly met again, even just for an explanatory chat. However, on Sunday, 25 October 1800 Jane (in Hampshire) wrote this to Cassandra (in Godmersham)(Faye, 1997):

‘I am not yet able to acknowledge the receipt of any parcel from London, which I suppose will not occasion you much surprise. – I was a little disappointed today, but not more than is perfectly agreable; & I hope to be disappointed again tomorrow, as only one coach comes down on sundays.’

Arnie suggested that Jane’s disappointment might be Tom-related, and I second his opinion. Hence, it is plausible that Jane was in Hampshire in early October 1800, and she met Tom again there, presumably having the long-delayed explanatory talk.


Faye, D. L. 1997, Jane Austen's Letters, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Lefroy, A., Lefroy, H. & Turner, G. 2007, The Letters of Mrs Lefroy: Jane Austen's Beloved Friend, The Jane Austen Society, Winchester.

Jane Austen 2008 Calendar Free to Download!

I have just opened my email inbox to very exciting goodies and I am thrilled to share with the BJ Blog a Jane Austen 2008 Calendar created by Christina. Thank you SO MUCH Christina for sharing your creativity with us all! Personally, I can't wait to print the calendar out and enjoy it for the rest of the year. Print it out on 8 1/2 x 14 paper (legal size).

[Erm, I just need to figure out how to share a PDF file via Blogger. Please bear with me!]

Miss Austen Regrets Press Release + Photos

If nothing else, Jane Austen wrote from personal experience. Courtship she knew well; only the last act eluded her. This film biography dramatizes Austen’s lost loves: Harris Bigg, whose proposal she accepted and then rejected; Edward Brydges, whom she also refused; the tongue-tied vicar she teased mercilessly; and the young surgeon who arrived on the scene too late to steal her heart. Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense), Greta Schacchi (The Player) and Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill) star.


“The only way to get a man like Mr. Darcy is to make him up.”


Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 9pm ET on PBS

Of all the love stories filling the rich imagination of Jane Austen, one in particular did not end with wedding bells. Her own. Why did the author who embodied the brilliant wit and high spirits of her heroines not take the plunge into matrimony herself?
Therein lies a very poignant tale, as presented by MASTERPIECE in its bittersweet period drama, Miss Austen Regrets, airing Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 9pm ET on PBS (check local listings), as part of MASTERPIECE’s The Complete Jane Austen.

Olivia Williams (Sixth Sense, Rushmore) stars as Jane, approaching her fortieth birthday and long since at peace with being an unmarried woman—indeed enjoying its freedom and solitude to write. She has even developed a devoted readership that reaches as high as the Prince Regent, the future King George IV.

But like the title character of her latest book, Emma, Jane soon finds that it is emotionally perilous to get involved in someone else’s love life—not least because it kindles a certain romantic longing of one’s own.
Imogen Poots plays Fanny Austen-Knight, Jane’s marriageable young niece who looks up to Aunt Jane as smart, edgy, and a fount of wisdom on the merits of potential husbands. But Fanny’s importunate queries—and fate—bring Jane’s memories of lost loves flooding back.

Greta Scacchi (Daniel Deronda) plays Cassandra, Jane’s older sister and the confidante of her innermost thoughts.

Years earlier, it was Cassandra who persuaded Jane to rescind her acceptance of the marriage proposal by Harris Bigg (Samuel Roukin). The heir to a fortune, Bigg would have guaranteed the Austen family’s financial security, if not necessarily Jane’s happiness.

Hugh Bonneville (Iris) plays another former suitor, the Reverend Brook Bridges. Smitten with Jane as a young man, he could not pluck up the courage to ask her to marry him. Much later, when he finally did propose, Jane had given up on marrying anybody.

Prospect number three is dashing physician Charles Haden ( Jack Huston). As the drama unfolds, Jane summons him to treat her desperately ill brother Henry (Adrian Edmonson) and ends up in a flirting relationship with the much younger medical man.

Miss Austen Regrets was written by Gwyneth Hughes, who based her script on Austen’s surviving correspondence with Cassandra and Fanny. The characters and incidents in the film are drawn from these
letters, with Hughes reading carefully between the lines to fill in crucial gaps.

Cassandra notoriously burned many of her sister’s letters after Jane’s death—an act that was probably intended to spare the feelings of still-living relatives and acquaintances, who were the target of Jane’s famous barbs.

As for Jane’s barbs against her own headstrong resistance to a conventional life, these survived to leave a remarkable record of a mind of sense and sensibility, pride and prejudice, ceaselessly active in the real world of imperfect suitors and in the make-believe realm of true love fulfilled.

All images of Miss Austen Regrets from: PBS Pressroom

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Sense & Sensibility 2008 Episode 3 On YouTube!

A million thank you's to YouTuber tanixmuller for uploading Episode Three of Sense & Sensibility 2008 to YouTube, in such high quality! (Watch Episode One and Episode Two)

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Monday, 14 January 2008

Watch Persuasion 2007 Online!

A very big thank you to Kari for discovering Persuasion 2007 online, via the Becoming Jane Austen Myspace. (Yahoo!)

(My ISP provider won't let me open the link - weird - so no instructions on reaching the clip, but I assume it's good to go)

Pic: Persuasion 2007 from: Manchester Evening News

If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Bonnet

I am sitting here hanging out for the final episode of Sense & Sensibility '08 to be uploaded to YouTube, and I came across this interesting article about the Classics and television. I really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd share. Read the full article here.

"...At the soppier end of the spectrum, we may be invited to have a wallow in a gentler, less confused society than our own. The majority of the classic-novel adaptations, though, offer less straightforward consolations: reminding us that no golden age has ever existed - or that for most people, and especially most women, life might even have improved a bit over the past few centuries.

In fact, rather than being a reaction to today's society, the popularity of costume drama is, for my money, far more likely to be a reaction to the rest of today's television. After all, modern drama has just as many conventions - and quite a lot of them are looking pretty clapped-out by now.

In almost any contemporary popular drama, you can expect the women to be a relentlessly feisty bunch. The men, meanwhile, tend to be either dull, absurd or nasty. In that context, it can be a huge relief for viewers, and presumably scriptwriters, to be faced with something a little more grown-up and complicated.

The main reason, then, as to why costume dramas are still going so strong might well be an embarrassingly simple one: that they're very good. Even more obviously, they're very good not just because British actors can do them so beautifully - but because they're based on such good books.

In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen famously breaks off from the story to offer a bullish defence of her craft against anybody impudent enough to use the phrase "only a novel".

"Only a novel," she more or less yells, "in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world."

This is why the most successful costume dramas are those that have complete confidence in the source material.

Pic 1: Kate Winslet & Greg Wise as Marianne & Willoughby from: Dailymail
Pic 2: Jennifer Ehle & Colin Firth as Elizabeth & Darcy from: Geocities

Lydia Bennet Competition

Our dearest Jane Odiwe just contacted us about this very interesting info. Anyone interested in participating? Just click the Jane Austen Sequels. It should NOT be hard to guess which activities Lydia prefers the most! And oh, don't you JUST love Jane's rendetion of Lydia?

To celebrate the publication of Lydia Bennet's Story, Lydia has a copy of her novel and a set of seven Effusions of Fancy greetings cards for anyone who can put her favourite interests and pursuits in the correct order, beginning with her best-loved preference.

There are five to put in the right sequence:

Trimming a bonnet


Going to Meryton

Mending Mr Bennet's shirts

Chasing Officers

The competition is open for a week until 20 th January. Please send answers (don't forget to include your name) in order of Lydia's preference to the following e-mail address: effusions at btinternet dot com (say it out loud). The winner will be announced on Monday, 21st January.

Pic: Lydia Bennet, from Jane Austen's Sequels

The Real Jane Austen (BBC) on YouTube!

Whilst searching for Miss Austen Regrets on YouTube, I stumbled across this BBC documentary drama on the life of Jane Austen, The Real Jane Austen (2002), presented by an Austen. I haven't seen it, and I've got to run now, but it looked to good to pass up. *fingers crossed* I hope it's good! Thank you to inmypooropinion for sharing.

Miss Austen Regrets Preview!

A very big thank you to Boris for once again pointing us in the direction of spoils and sending us the link to a two-and-a-half minute clip of Miss Austen Regrets from the PBS Jane Austen website. The blurb reads:

"The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love."— Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility

Approaching her fortieth birthday, Jane Austen (Olivia Williams, Emma, The Sixth Sense) appears happily unmarried. When asked by her young niece Fanny (Imogen Poots) to help her vet potential husbands, Jane's confident composure is threatened as she finds herself looking back on her own potential suitors and the choices she has made. Could potential family financial ruin have been averted if she'd accepted the proposal of a wealthy landowner? And what about the handsome young physician Jane meets as a result of a family illness?

Based on the life and letters of Jane Austen, Miss Austen Regrets tells the story of the novelist's final years, examining why, despite setting the standard for romantic fiction, she died having never married or met her own Mr. Darcy.

A YouTuber has uploaded the clip here but I am unable to open the clip. I'll embed it when I manage to open it. ;)

So, opinions? (I will venture mine in the comment box, maybe under an alias, so that Team Jane do not toss me all the way to Mexico ... ;)

Miss Austen Regrets will air in the USA on February 3

Pic 1: Olivia Williams as Jane Austen from: BBC
Pic 2: Imogen Poots as Fanny from: Dailymail

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Mr Wisley & Fanny Price Tie the Knot

I am an avid reader of the Dailymail (shoot me now) and why I never thought of posting this news sooner I'll never know.

Laurence Fox (Becoming Jane) and Billie Piper (Mansfield Park 2007) tied the knot in a romantic, quintessential English wedding on New Year's Eve. Congratulations to the happy couple! They look so lovely together.

Read the full article with pictures here. :-)

Pic: Billie Piper & Laurence Fox from: The Dailymail

The Inside Scoop on "The Kiss"

A very big thank you to Kari for unearthing this charming NY Times article, and to IMDB poster helloeeze who originally shared the article. This is one big "awwww" read (swoon-o-metre alert - so don't say I didn't warn you ;), and make sure you pop over to the NY Times and read the full article, it's gorgeous. It's so refreshing to read about McAvoy; so talented and yet so humble and unspoiled.

“James is not somebody who’s going to get his head turned,” the director Julian Jarrold said.

“He’s thoughtful about what he wants to do next.” Mr. Jarrold, who made “Becoming Jane,” said he had wanted to work with Mr. McAvoy again after directing him in a mini-series based on the Zadie Smith novel “White Teeth” five years ago. “It was quite a small role, but he shone out,” Mr. Jarrold said. “He’ll be around a long, long time.”

Mr. Jarrold praised Mr. McAvoy for bringing something extra to the party, an inspired flourish that bolsters a scene. “He gave me a lot of options,” Mr. Jarrold said. “And these were always in service of the story — not the things some stars suggest to make themselves look good.”

In “Becoming Jane,” there is a scene that both men call simply the Kiss.

The movie concerns a putative romance between a 20-year-old Jane Austen, played by Ms. Hathaway, and Mr. McAvoy’s character, a worldly Irish law student named Tom Lefroy. While there are other kisses in the movie — as you can only hope there were in Austen’s short life — this is the first.

The scene needs to pack a punch, and it does, not least because it’s she who kisses him, boldly and deliberately after weeks of wary distrust. But his response caps the moment: In one of those small, eloquent gestures that are a signature of Mr. McAvoy’s work, he draws back slightly, as if not daring to believe what just happened, and, seeing that she meant it, his eyes fill with amazed joy. A perfectly executed impulse — he did it on only one of the takes — it creates a second of tension that underscores each lover’s vulnerability and seals the scene in memory.

Not all Mr. McAvoy’s gestures are small. “Julian was the first guy who’d let me be funny if I wanted to be funny,” he said. “I didn’t like the script, I was afraid Lefroy would be too Darcy, and he said I could play with that image, and that interested me.”

Pic 1: Jane & Tom from: Rotten Tomatoes
Pic 2: The Kiss from: Tiscali

Miss Williams Regrets

... Well, not technically ;), but she did have some concerns:

She admits the plate-spinning of balancing work and parenting did send her "a little bit crazy" in the summer, when she was working on a forthcoming BBC film called Miss Austen Regrets. In an interview last year, Williams criticised the "lazily colloquial" script. But, as with so much else in her life, the finished film proved to be "different from what I envisaged, which is wonderful. It's much more intangible than your average biopic, the choice of shots gives it a very European feel. It showed me how much I still have to learn."

I love European films, so my interest is sparked! Continue reading Olivia's interview here. It's a great read.

Miss Austen regrets didn't air in the UK sometime in December (will keep my eyes peeled for a screening date) and on February 3 in the USA.

Pic: Olivia Williams as Jane Austen from: BBC

Friday, 11 January 2008

Secrets of the new Mr Darcy: Rising star Dominic Cooper

He has inherited the mantle of brooding heart-throb from his friend Colin Firth. But Dominic Cooper's own tangled family drama exceeds anything Jane Austen could have imagined...

The evening before we meet, Dominic Cooper was having supper with Colin Firth.
The actors recently worked together in Greece on the movie Mamma Mia!, where they struck up a friendship of sorts.

Cooper says Firth is "someone I'd like to be like - a funny, charismatic person..."
He continues to list Firth's qualities, but I have to confess I don't quite catch all he says.

... At 29, Cooper is part of a new generation of British actors, that includes James McAvoy, Ben Whishaw, Rebecca Hall, Emily Blunt and Hayley Atwell, making their mark in film and on stage.

He says that the thought of "filling someone else's shoes" as Willoughby - Greg Wise famously played him a decade ago, co-starring with his now wife Emma Thompson - was a challenge.

"Whenever I mentioned it to people they said: 'Oh Willoughby - nasty piece of work.' Then came the realisation that he was just a young man who made the wrong decision."

Indeed, this realisation is powerfully dramatised in the concluding part of Sense And Sensibility this weekend, leaving the viewer with a certain sympathy rather than absolute antipathy for Willoughby.

"His weakness is that he obeys his aunt," says Cooper.

"You have to remember the time and how, for girls, if you don't have money you're screwed. Marianne doesn't have money, which makes life very difficult for her.

"Willoughby doesn't have money, so needs his aunt's inheritance. That's why it's so desperate when he rejects Marianne.

"I do truly believe that he was absolutely in love with her, that he wanted to marry her and is about to ask her to marry him, but gets put in a very difficult position."

(29?! He looks more like 17 ...) Continue reading the (very interesting) article here at the Dailymail. Have fun!

Pic: Dominic Cooper as Willoughby from: The Dailymail

Thursday, 10 January 2008

James's acceptance speech on YouTube

Okay, while the miracle goes, and I have a bit of time (wooowww!), here's the YouTube version of James McAvoy's acceptance speech for People's Choice Award. Special thanks to Theresavs for uploading the video!

And yeah, you guys are right! His accent is juuuust too sexy!

James McAvoy's Acceptance Speech at the People's Choice Awards

A very big thank you to Jil for (sharing that sexy accent and) sending us the link to James McAvoy's acceptance speech for Becoming Jane, Favourite Independent Movie at the People's Choice Awards!

Scroll down half-way to stream the clip - that accent should come with a health warning attached, I think. ;)

Pic: James McAvoy from: People

Sense & Sensibility 2008 Episode Two on YouTube!

Episode Two of Sense & Sensibility 2008 is now online! A very big thank you to Maria for alerting us, and to tanixmuller (who also uploaded Episode One) for uploading it to YouTube. :-D Enjoy, and I look forward to trading thoughts with you all!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Becoming Jane Triumphs at the People's Choice Awards!

A very big thank you to Mariana for alerting us that Becoming Jane won the People's Choice Award for Favourite Independent Movie, just over two hours ago! :-D A full list of the winners is available here.

I will update this post with James McAvoy's acceptance speech, when it's uploaded to YouTube. *fingers crossed*

Congratulations to the Becoming Jane cast and crew!

Pic: Becoming Jane from: The Observer

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Sense & Sensibility 2008 Episode 1 On YouTube!

Happy New Year! I have been enjoying the sun and surf and haven't been near my laptop for too long - so I'm majorly behind with the Sense & Sensibility '08 news; oops! The first two episodes have screened in the UK, to mixed reviews (which I will post shortly). This post is for our dear International BJF viewers (but get in quick, because I don't think the clips will be on YouTube for long). A very big thank you to tanixmuller for uploading the entire Sense & Sensibility Episode One!