Saturday, 26 December 2009

Quote of the Week - Christmas Edition!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Because this is the season for celebrating love with our loved ones, I wanted to share a family-themed quote. Luckily, Jane's work is full of family ... and when I thought 'family' and 'Jane Austen' ... well, there is really only one family to go to - the Bennets.

The quote is taken from the end of Pride and Prejudice, chapter 60:

Mrs Philip's vulgarity was another, and perhaps greater tax on his forbearance; and though Mrs Philips, as well as her sister, stood in too much awe of him to speak with the familiarity which Bingley's good humour encouraged, yet, whenever she did speak, she must be vulgar. Nor was her respect for him, though it made her more quiet, at all likely to make her more elegant. Elizabeth did all she could, to shield him from the frequent notice of either, and was ever anxious to keep him to herself, and to those of her family with whom he might converse without mortification; and though the uncomfortable feelings arising from all this took from the season of courtship much of its pleasure, it added to the hope of the future; and she looked forward with delight to the time when they should be removed from society so little pleasing to either, to all the comfort and elegance of their family party at Pemberley.

This quote, for me, sums up so much of what we love and struggle with with families and relationships ... and I love the different family units represented within this passage - the extended family with their quirks and foibles, and Lizzie and Darcy, who are in the process of creating their own family unit.

This Christmas season I hope you can celebrate love and life with your loved ones, with some Jane on the side. Take care, friends. On behalf of Icha, Rachel, Linda and myself - Merry Christmas! Have fun. :D

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas wallpaper from Maria!

Another gratitude to Maria for her gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Becoming Jane Christmas calendar! Just love it!

Maria also gave the links to different wallpaper resolutions:

Anyone else wish to give us all Christmas and New Year pressies?

Jane Austen Quote of the Week- Week 87 by Linda

With all this talk lately about the new “Emma” production, I was enticed to reread “Emma” again, mainly because it had been several years since I had first read it. So I will start with Chapter 2 where we find this after a description of Mr. Weston’s character and finances:

"He had never been an unhappy man; his own temper had secured him from that, even in his first marriage; but his second must show him how delightful a well-judging and truly amiable woman could be, and must give him the pleasantest proof of its being a great deal better to choose than to be chosen, to excite gratitude than to feel it."

Here he is speaking of Miss Taylor as his ‘second’ wife. This gives us a clue as to what a man looks for or, should I say, what we ladies should be. I might add that though he does the ‘choosing’, it hopefully goes without saying that he loves the lady too.

Now, the completely opposite of this situation is found in the very next paragraph where the brother and his wife of the first Mrs. Weston is discussed. You will recall that they are the ones who adopted Mr. Weston’s son, Frank as a child and even gave him their name, thusly we have Frank Churchill. We find this about the Aunt:

"The aunt was a capricious woman, and governed her husband entirely;"

Wow, what a difference! What is truly amazing is that just this weekend I was able to watch the TV series “The Barchester Chronicle” – all 7 episodes. The Bishop’s wife was just such a woman as Mrs. Churchill. Hm, I wonder if Trollope ‘borrowed’ something from our dear Jane Austen.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Pemberley Images

Thursday, 17 December 2009

XMas decorations from Maria and Mariana

I must apologise to Maria (Sweden) for taking a solid fortnight to put her beautiful XMas gift: an amazing deep red Becoming Jane banner on the blog. But now it's up there as you all can see, and also down here.

Mariana from Canada also made lovely XMas decorations for us, particularly Emma09 fans like me, and I really wish I could hang them on my XMas tree....

Thanks so much Maria and Mariana! Merry Christmas everyone! May peace and love be on Earth and in our hearts.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 86

This week’s quote returns us to Persuasion with a quote that struck me for its truth, despite it being ‘dedicated’ to Elizabeth Elliot instead of Anne Elliot. Persuasion, Chapter One:

It sometimes happens, that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth; still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago; and Sir Walter might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of every body else; for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood worsting; and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him.” (emphasize my own)

Again, I understand that this quote was for Elizabeth Elliot, a character I have no sympathy at all in Persuasion. However, the bold line has its own grain of truth. There are women (and men) I’ve met who are more beautiful as they age… and to me, this pronounced beauty as they age actually owes a great deal to the maturity and wisdom of those people (I would exclude Liz Elliot from this case). I’m not only talking of women and men aged 30… I’m also talking about those entering their forties… fifties… sixties… and so forth.

True, the beauty will be different for each age group, but the essence is still the same. It’s still beauty. Of course personal hygiene and the understanding of the best type of clothes and colours to wear add up to the physical beauty, but if beauty is earned from wisdom and understanding, it lasts much longer than if it is earned from mere superficial cosmetics.

Pic: The Elliot sisters (Elizabeth, Anne and Mary), from TV Guide

Friday, 4 December 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week, Week 85

This week the quote i have chosen is from Northanger Abbey (chapter 14).

This quote is a fantastic example of Jane's facetiousness in relation to the gender issues which are often present throughout her novels.
The following paragraph attempts to explain and give reason for Henry Tilney's attraction to Catherine Morland.

"She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance. A misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach [i.e. attract], they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance."

I think that this quote is of absolute brilliance. I think that Jane is showing her feminism whilst maintaining a very humorous read for her audience. The tone is of mockery and I think that it is highly ironic; women at this time were rarely in ignorance and often grouped together in a camouflaged intelligence. Humans are interesting beings arent they??
Jane is so witty here and proves beyond doubt that she is very far away from the definitions of imbecility and ignorance!

Pic 1: Radio Times

Pic 2: Jane Austens World

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Quote of the Week - Week 84

Seems Emma has been my favourite as well... for my last quote was also about Emma. Anyway, can't help falling in love with the book! Chapter 17, last paragraph, as Harriet received the bad news about Mr. Elton's utter admiration for Emma, and none for herself:

Harriet was further unfortunate in the tone of her companions at Mrs. Goddard's; Mr. Elton being the adoration of all the teachers and great girls in the school; and it must be at Hartfield only that she could have any chance of hearing him spoken of with cooling moderation or repellant truth. Where the wound had been given, there must the cure be found if anywhere; and Emma felt that, till she saw her in the way of cure, there could be no true peace for herself.

I like Emma here. I mean, I always like her, despite her blemishes. But here she truly became a protective friend and tried to console Harriet in any ways possible. It reminds me of my conversation with a dear friend of mine; I had to make an hour international call to talk about her problems... (thank God for cheap Skype phones!). However, it worth every cent; she was there years ago when I had my problems, and now it's my turn to help her, at least by listening and keeping her spirit... and I'm grateful for the chance to do it...

Pic: Mr. Elton and Harriet from Emma 2009, from Costume Dramas.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ideas for Christmas Gifts....

The time is approaching where we are starting to think about christmas gifts for our loved ones......well I have spotted a few great ideas which I have chosen to display on the blog, purely because I know that I would love them myself!

Naxos audiobooks have launched a complete collection of Jane's work- including her famous six novels (Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Persuasion) and also the unfinished Sanditon and The Watsons. Some of the vocals are provided by Juliet Stevenson (Mrs Elton in Emma, 1996) and Emilia Fox(Georgiana Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, 1995) . The audiobook can be downloaded from from Naxos or bought from Amazon.

Another Amazon treat which I have spotted is a Jane Austen Desk Diary 2010 from the British Library. It is reduced to £7.59 which can be a great stocking filler.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Quote of the Week 83


This week my quote is from Emma. I'm currently reading it, and once again it's a tie between this and Pride and Prejudice as my favourite Austen. A bit off-topic, but what's your favourite Austen?

The quote is from chapter 48, and is just before Knightley's proposal.

When it came to such a pitch as this, she was not able to refrain from a start, or a heavy sigh, or even from walking about the room for a few seconds; and the only source whence anything like consolation or composure could be drawn, was in the resolution of her own better conduct, and the hope that, however inferior in spirit and gaiety might be the following and every future winter of her life to the past, it would find her more rational, more acquainted with herself, and leave her less to regret when it were gone.

I love this quote because it reminds me of the seasons of life - that every trial, joy, and heartache serve a purpose; that if we don't resist them they make us stronger, and 'more aquainted' with ourselves. It's so hard, when you're in a bad situation, to see anything positive, or find a smidgen of joy to lift yourself - but once again Jane reminds me that through down times you grow as a person. And to live without regrets! That is a goal of mine ... of us all, no doubt. So, a lot to enjoy in this quote.

Have a great week!

Pic: Kate Beckinsale & Mark Strong from:

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Quote of the Week by Linda – Week 82

I want to share with you a part of a post I made 9 years ago about General Tilney from Northanger Abbey. It is a good example of Jane’s ability to portray human character. I collected bits and pieces to make up my portrait of him as follows:


Because I have known one, I noticed his behavior throughout the book and concluded that he was manic-depressive to some degree with a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder. He needed a good dose of lithium among other things.

What I noticed about him is in the following list which describes the General in Jane's own words (italicized) with my comments in brackets:

* seemed always a check upon his children's spirits [you are not allowed to do anything]
* his angry impatience at the waiters [and everybody else]
* strictest punctuality to the family hours would be expected... [dominates every aspect of your life]
* anxious entreaty to hurry her dressing time [he is not to be inconvenienced]
* Miss Tilney gently hinted her fear of being late [always fear of a blow up and/or a lecture from 1 to 4 hours]
* for General Tilney was pacing the drawing-room, his watch in his hand, and having, on the very instant of their entering, pulled the bell with violence, ordered "Dinner to be on the table directly!" [always has to voice his displeasure]
* He [G. Tilney] turned away and Catherine was shocked to find how much her spirits were relieved by the separation. [There are several instances where "relief" is expressed upon separation.]
* His son and daughter's observations were of a different kind. They had seldom seen him eat so heartily at any table but his own, and never before known him so little disconcerted by the melted butter's being oiled. [and a million other minor infractions/trivialities]
* Eleanor's forced performance in dismissing Catherine [someone else always has to do the "dirty" work]
* Eleanor's request that Catherine write to her under cover to Alice [you have to "live" behind his back]

Each item taken separately does not a crisis make, but when all these instances manifest in one person you have a manic-depressive also suffering with obsessive compulsive disorder. No one could make up such behavior! Jane had to have witnessed it but had not idea that it was a mental disorder. I have felt the fear, terror, embarrassment, relief, and it definitely was not funny to me. I do remember my Father and Brother came to visit once and noticed my behavior in anticipation of a blow up from my "general". They thought I was hilarious. Just for a few seconds I visualized the scene from their point of view and it was funny. But from my perspective it was not.


You may read my entire post HERE. My experience is another good reason to heed James’ advice to Catherine in my other quote from Northanger Abbey to “beware how you give your heart”.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Liam Cunningham as General Tilney in Northanger Abbey 2007

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Austen's Women- Theatre Tours International

Last night I had the pleasure of going to a production of Austen's Women, a breathtaking performance from one actress playing multiple female Austen characters. She narrated in between the character performances, providing comments and some analysis. It was the voice of Austen herself who we sometimes would love to hear but is missing from adaptations.

Characters were chosen from the six main novels and also from The Three Sisters (her juvenilia work), The Watsons and Sanditon (Jane's unfinished novel). I particularly adored her accurate and astounding performances of both Miss Bates and Mrs Norris. Her repertoire also included Lizzy Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Harriet Smith and many more. It really was a treat.

The production was directed by Guy Masterson and managed by Rebecca Vaughan but the ultimate praise had to be given to Bex Vaughan, the performer who recited Austen lines and switched characters so fantastically for 70 minutes with no interval.

I realise that most of you who read our blog are not in the UK but hopefully if popularity and awareness increases, there is a hope that the production may be distributed wider.
If you do however have the opportunity, I would recommend any Austen lovers to go to see it.

You can find out more at the theatre tours international website and there are a list of tourdates available.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Quote of the Week- Week 81

I have chosen quite an unusual quote this week.

I remember reading the Jane Austen biography by Carol Shields years ago and loving a particular paragraph which she used to describe our beloved authoress.

So....I dug out my copy and thought I would use the quote as our quote of the week to remind ourselves of the universal respect for Jane and her writings.

"Her legacy is not a piece of reportage from the society of a particular past, but a wise and compelling exploration of human nature. Her men and women speak their needs and define the barriers that separate them from peace and satisfaction. They are as alive today in their longing as they were two hundred years ago, when she first gave them breath."

I think that this homage is so accurate and speaks the mind of many of us. Thanks Carol for such a wonderful quote.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

I declare! Willoughby returns!

Well, at least we know the reunion is under the care of a trusted friend, i.e. Jane Odiwe, whose book Willoughby's Return shall be published tomorrow on November 1.

Here’s a bit of blurb from the publisher Sourcebooks.

A lost love returns, rekindling forgotten passions… In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne Dashwood marries Colonel Brandon, she puts her heartbreak over dashing scoundrel John Willoughby in the past. Three years later, Willoughby's return throws Marianne into a tizzy of painful memories and exquisite feelings of uncertainty. Willoughby is as charming, as roguish, and as much in love with her as ever. And the timing couldn't be worse—with Colonel Brandon away and Willoughby determined to win her back, will Marianne find the strength to save her marriage, or will the temptation of a previous love be too powerful to resist?

Jane Odiwe is also doing a blog tour and to celebrate publication there will be giveaways, competitions to win books and paintings, plus interviews over the next couple of weeks – information on Jane's blog: Jane Austen's Sequels.

I personally would love to read it. I have the feeling I know what the end shall be... but I want to know how Jane makes it work...

Pic: 'Willoughby's Return' from Jane Odiwe's blog

Quote of the Week – Week 80

This week’s quote popped up when, in the Emma euphoria, I randomly opened Emma (Penguin Classics, 2003, Chapter 43) for inspiration. It was during the Box Hill picnic when Frank Churchill gaily flirted with Emma Woodhouse, who said to him:

“It is hotter to-day.”

“Not to my feelings. I am perfectly comfortable to-day.”

“You are comfortable because you are under command.”

Your command? –Yes.”

“Perhaps I intended you to say so, but I meant self-command. You had, somehow or other, broken bounds yesterday, and run away from your own management; but to-day you are got back again – and as I cannot be always with you, it is best to believe your temper under your own command rather than mine.”

This time, the often unwise Miss Woodhouse was correct. We are comfortable when we are under our own self-command. Another, modern, way of saying it: When we are fully in charge of our lives. There is an old saying: ‘we cannot change the way the wind blows, but we can always adjust the sails’? Whoever said that, he/she too, was right.

Pic: Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) and Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) ‘flirted together excessively’ in Emma 2009, from Enchanted Serenity Period Films

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Emma 2-4 and the DVD!

For those who are unlucky enough to be stationed at the other side of the pond (or at a totally different pond like myself), YouTube has the episodes 2, 3, and 4 of Emma 2009! I've watched ep 2 and 3, and I shall go home impatiently to watch ep 4 soon!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand! The Emma 2009 DVD will be available on 30 November 2009 through for GBP 15.98, so you better pre-order it now! I will do that soon too!

I'm loving this Emma!

Update 2 Nov09:
I have to delete the links and embedded links because it might be considered as infringement (though of course it is not the purpose!). I hope ladies and gents are successful in navigating the YouTube!

Pic: Cover to Emma 2009 DVD from BBC

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Meeting Mariana Gheorghe

“What have I done to deserve her kindness?”

That was the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw a very pretty young mother in red sweater approaching me with a bud of red rose and a Canadian Moose plush doll (with her baby moose)… and hugging me like she’d known me for half of her life.

Of course I cried then, weeping and laughing at the same time as I admired her red rose and the moose… God, I didn’t even bring her anything from Australia! I thought of bringing her something from down unduh, but nothing seemed to fit for her in the midst of my preparation for the Quebec conference last week.

But there she was, Mariana Gheorghe, a lady I met online in Becoming Jane Fansite in 2007, and even though I was often late in replying to her emails etc, she was still here with us, an avid Jane Austen fan, a total Jane/Tom supporter… and a drop-dead member of the Richard Armitage Army (like moi! But that’s another forum altogether, haha!). And there she was, in Toronto Airport, welcoming me into her giant city, taking me to a great lunch on CN Tower, taking my pictures amidst the pumpkins… introducing me to her lovely husband and son… And for many a time that day, I found myself choked with tears… for again, God, what have I done to deserve her kindness?

Apparently, blogging is an amazing thing. I know so many hostile people during my frequent visits in other forums (not necessarily JA-related themes), and I know I don’t ever want to meet those people (nor frequenting those forums again, for that matter). But here in BJF, I not only met my Team Jane (Rachel, Linda, Michelle…), but I also met people like Mariana from Canada, Maria of Sweden, Kari of USA, Bilbo of… (sorry Bilbo, I forgot where you’re from), Edward Lefroy from England, and other nice people. We don’t necessarily agree with each other, but the great thing is that we are able to stay civil and friendly towards each other.

And it’s a sweet extra ganache when that online friendship can take you to another level. (I also met another gorgeous, lovely friend of mine, Rhonda, of a totally different online channel in TO). Driving across the big TO with your online friend is something that I can still recall with a fond smile on my face and in my heart now… and I can only hope that one day I can repay their kindness by welcoming them in my own town, my own home, in time.

Until then, stay friendly, give everyone your smiles, even if you don’t always agree with them. Many of us fail to appreciate the preciousness of a friendship, and I don’t want to see it in BJF. Right, Rachel, Linda, Michelle? Who’s next? Rachel? Let me check if I have a conference/workshop/meeting in UK in 1-2 years’ time…

Pic. Victor and Mariana Gheorghe, Jane Austen, and Tom Lefroy, and myself (this also is my first official attempt to show how I look like in this blog!)

Quote of the Week 79

Hi All!

This week my quote is from Persuasion. I've been studying it in class (I know, I know, my life is such a trial) and I have a whole new appreciation for Captain Wentworth's 'nut' speech.

Wentworth has recently returned, and as much as he tries to argue otherwise, he is still bitter and angry about Anne's rejection of their love. His advice to Louisa, overheard by Anne, is tinged with this bitterness, but also wisdom. I love it.

From Book 1, Chapter 10:

It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on. - You are never sure of a good impression being durable. Every body may sway it: let those who would be happy be firm. - Here is a nut,' said he, catching one down from an upper bough. 'To exemplify, - a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot any where. - This nut,' he continued, with playful solemnity, - 'while so many of its brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel-nut can be supposed capable of ... My first wish for all, whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm'.

This speech, considering the themes of the text, is one of the most central passages of the novel. It's certainly revealing! Considering it in context, Captain Wentworth reveals a heartfelt opinion blighted by bitterness. That is, I have to have a little giggle when he reveals later in the text that it's not so much that Anne allowed herself to be persuaded, but that she allowed herself to be persuaded by someone other than himself. I love that little touch of Austen's - yes, Wentworth believes that the 'worst evil' is that 'no influence' over a 'yielding' character can be depended upon - but he reveals the beautiful contradictions of humanity:

'I could think only of you as one who had yielded, who had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by me' (Book II, Chapter 11)

Jane, again, a master of human emotion and truth. What a blessing she is. And now I get to go back to school ... and read Persuasion. :)

Pic 1: Persuasion 1995 from: Longborne: Persuasion Pics

Pic 2: Persuasion 2007 from: Fanpop Persuasion
Pic 3: Persuasion 2007 from:
Fanpop Persuasion

Saturday, 17 October 2009

More Emma........

Marianna has so kindly made us aware of three youtube links which will help us to enjoy the new series of Emma even more!

The first is a behind the scenes look at the making of the series with some cast interviews. So exciting.

The second is a fantastic video made of the filming of Emma in Kent, UK. The music chosen is none other than from the wonderful Becoming Jane soundtrack.

Finally, if any of you have not been able to see the first episode yet, you can view it on youtube here but the embedded link has been disabled.

Enjoy everyone........

Pic: Austen prose

Quote of the Week (78) from Linda!

I decided to reread Sense and Sensibility because it had been awhile since I had read the entire book. I only got as far as the first chapter when I noticed the amount of descriptive words Jane used for the characters. Usually, in this day and age we describe our friends and family with only one or two adjectives. So, I thought it would be interesting to make a list of those descriptions (underlined) for my quote.

Here goes, Chapter One.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood:

Both having goodness of heart, as well as the cheerfulness of the children -

His temper was cheerful and sanguine -

Her own tender love for all her three children -

Eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence -

Mr. John Dashwood, the son of Mr. Henry Dashwood:

A steady, respectable young man -

Not the strong feelings of the rest of the family -

He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed -

In general, well respected -

He conducted himself with propriety -

He might have been made still more respectable than he was; he might even have been made amiable himself; for he was very young when he married.

The prospect of four thousand a-year, …… warmed his heart and made him feel capable of

generosity. "Yes, he would give them three thousand pounds: it would be liberal and handsome!

Mrs. John Dashwood:

Was a strong caricature of himself; more narrow-minded and selfish.

The indelicacy of her conduct -

With only common feelings, ….but in her mind there was a sense of honour so keen, a generosity so romantic, that any offence of the kind, … was to her a source of immoveable disgust -

How little attention to the comfort of other people she could act when occasion required it. -

So acutely did Mrs. [Henry] Dashwood feel this ungracious behaviour...

Mr. John Dashwood’s son:

Such attractions as are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old: an imperfect articulation, an earnest desire of having his own way, many cunning tricks, and a great deal of noise, …..


Possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though

only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother, and enabled her frequently to counteract, to

the advantage of them all….

She had an excellent heart; her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong: but

she knew how to govern them…


She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. -

She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. -

Elinor saw … the excess of her sister's sensibility


The other sister, was a good-humoured, well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne's romance, without having much of her sense; she did not, at thirteen,

Bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.

End of List

I might I have missed a few, so consider this is just a ‘short’ list of what I found. Now that Jane has set the tone for the story, it is up to us to remember who is whom and what they are.

Linda the Librarian

Pic 1: Kate Winslet & Greg Wise from:

Pic 2: Sense & Sensibility 1995:

Pic 3: Emma Thompson & Hugh Grant from:

Friday, 9 October 2009

Review of Emma

Hi All,

I have been away this week, hence my late review of Emma which was aired in the UK last sunday evening. It was the first of four 1 hour episodes which will be shown weekly to fit in nicely with the very cold autumnal nights we, here in the UK, are now facing! There is nothing better than to snuggle up on the sofa with a hot drink and watch a Jane Austen adaptation.
I was actually down in Devon, staying in a cabin, so the ambience was just fitting!

I knew from the start that I liked Romola Garai as an actress so I had high expectations. She did not disappoint in my opinion. She plays the strong, independent character that we all know and love with such confidence. She has this interesting way of using her eyes to convey extra expression; I remember thinking a similar thing about James McAvoy in Becoming Jane.

Michael Gambon as Mr Woodhouse was exactly the calibre we would expect from him and he depicted Emma's father so effortlessly. This is despite his admission this week in the press that he has never even read the Jane Austen novel 'Emma' before playing this character!

Tamsin Greig is another name to mention; she plays the character of Miss Bates so brilliantly in my opinion.

Linda did draw my attention to a review posted by Roland on Pemberley which began with a point that I myself would have made. The opening sequence of episode 1 was very Dickensian in nature; it showed the primary years of Emma, Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax before Frank and Jane leave Highbury and Emma stays. It was a very very effective opening.

This particular Pemberley review then shifts to a more disappointed opinion, some of which I have to agree with. To take a line from the review:

"When I first read the book Emma's realisation that she loves Mr Knightley was just as much of a shock to me as it was to Emma. In this adaptation the moment you saw Mr Knightley (LEANING on the wall?! Oh please) you know that she and he are the love story here. This doesnt seem right to me."

This is very true and I completely agree. This very point has been a gripe of mine about a number of adaptations over the years; it leaves nothing to the imagination of the audiences. And especially with the story of Emma, it is particularly disappointing.

Another review which was posted by Allison Pearson in the Daily Mail on Wednesday slated the producers of this adaptation by saying:

"the script has this 18th century heroine nattering away in the chatty, informal tones of a twenties flapper."

I think this may be overly critical but she has made a good point. In trying to make this production more contemporary, perhaps some of the Austen has been lost.

I have to say that even after these negative comments, I still am a great believer in this adaptations. So many younger people of this generation have no insight into literature and would not even know who Jane Austen was if you asked them. It may have been a mistake to make this version of Emma slightly more contemporary for us Austen lovers but if it intices at least one young person to pick up a copy of Emma and learn more about Jane's work then it has to be worth it! Do you not agree?

On a final point, I know how much Linda and Icha adore Richard Armitage so I will not say anything to offend, except that Jonny Lee Miller doesnt fail in demonstrating sensibility and charm as Knightley.
I welcome all opinions as I know everyone will have their own, very different, perceptions.

Pemberley Site:

Pic 1: Telegraph
Pic 2: Jane Austen In Vermont

Jane Austen Quote of the Week- Week 77

Linda has kindly provided us with this weeks quote (Thanks Linda!):

In Chapter 25 of Northanger Abbey, Catherine receives a letter from her brother informing her “…that everything is at an end between Miss Thorpe and me.” He goes on to say that he is only guilty of “…the folly of too easily thinking his affection returned.”

He ends his letter with this piece of advice for his sister:

“Dearest Catherine, beware how you give your heart.”

Volumes could be written on that subject and probably have been since she penned that very short quote. How many of us are just as guilty as James by jumping to conclusions about someone only to find out later we were mistaken. So, Dear Readers, do take care.

Linda the Librarian

Just to add, I know that everyone out there will be able to relate to the highlighted quote, perhaps more than any other that we have posted. It is great advice to offer but such a hard task in control and it is a fact that so much heartache and problems stem from this lack of control that we hold over our hearts. Beware indeed everyone.

Pic: the lit connection

Friday, 2 October 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 76

I had the idea for the quotes this week when I was watching two Jane Austen movies in only a few days apart. The first one was Persuasion 2007 (sigh… Captain Wentworth…), and the second one was Pride & Prejudice 2005. It was Charlotte Lucas’ comment that she was already seven and twenty, and hence it was best for her to take the offer of marriage from Mr. Collins (ick! Yuck!). But then, it dawned on me. Hey… Anne Elliot was 27 as well at the beginning of Persuasion story. That’s no coincidence in Jane Austen’s world.

Then I remembered about another ‘27’ event that was experienced by Jane Austen herself. Jane Austen (born 16 December 1775) was almost 27 years old when she visited Manydown in 1802 and was asked for a hand in marriage on 2 December evening by Mr. Harris Bigg-Wither. Our heroine accepted it, and then turned it down the very next morning. She lived up to her belief that she would not marry, unless it was for love.

Was that why Miss Austen inserted that magic number of 27 into her novels? Let’s see four of her novels that I know have a character of this age in them.

Sense & Sensibility Chapter 8

"Perhaps," said Elinor, "thirty-five and seventeen had better not have anything to do with matrimony together. But if there should by any chance happen to be a woman who is single at seven-and-twenty, I should not think Colonel Brandon's being thirty-five any objection to his marrying her ." “A woman of seven-and-twenty,” said Marianne, after pausing a moment, “can never hope to feel or inspire affection again; and if her home be uncomfortable, or her fortune small, I can suppose that she might bring herself to submit to the offices of a nurse, for the sake of the provision and security of a wife. In his marrying such a woman, therefore, there would be nothing unsuitable. It would be a compact of convenience, and the world would be satisfied. In my eyes it would be no marriage at all, but that would be nothing. To me it would seem only a commercial exchange, in which each wished to be benefited at the expense of the other.”

Pride & Prejudice Chapter 22

Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it.

Emma Chapter 1

"Mr. Elton is a very pretty young man, to be sure, and a very good young man, and I have a great regard for him. But if you want to shew him any attention, my dear, ask him to come and dine with us some day. That will be a much better thing. I dare say Mr. Knightley will be so kind as to meet him." "With a great deal of pleasure, sir, at any time," said Mr. Knightley, laughing, "and I agree with you entirely, that it will be a much better thing. Invite him to dinner, Emma, and help him to the best of the fish and the chicken, but leave him to chuse his own wife. Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself."

Persuasion Chapter 5

They knew not each other’s opinion, either its constancy or its change, on the one leading point of Anne’s conduct, for the subject was never alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen.

Persuasion Chapter 17
Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming, silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of seven-and-twenty, with every beauty excepting bloom, and with manners as consciously right as they were invariably gentle;

When I place the novels chronologically, I see that there is a progression of maturity in either Jane Austen’s opinion of a woman/man of twenty seven, or that Jane herself cleverly progressed the understanding that even though a person (a woman, most likely) was already 27 years old, she/he could still take care of herself. That she/he does not lose her/his beauty as she/he grows older. Nay, the beauty merely transforms, progresses into another form of beauty. Whether love will come at last like Anne Elliot, or this person shall bypass that altogether (like Jane herself), that’s another matter entirely.

I guess the bottom-line is, it is not easy to live up to your own words… but Jane Austen certainly was persistent, committed and stubborn enough to do that! Way to go, Jane!

If your library has it, see also John Halperin’s Jane Austen: bicentenary essays (1975) for these ‘seven and twenty’ ideas (p. 222-223). I found the Persuasion and Pride & Prejudice idea from the movies, but I have to credit Halperin (and Google Book!) for feeding me with the Sense & Sensibility and Emma quotes. My library has the book in another town, so it will take me a few days to have it sent to where I stay now. But seems Halperin might have the same idea as well.

Pic: Think of Mr. Wisley as Mr. Harris Bigg-Wither... I might like Wisley better after all, but Tom Lefroy was much better!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

EMMA reminder- for the UK!

Hi all,

For all in the UK (sorry again!), episode 1 of Emma is to be aired this Sunday 4 Oct 2009 at 21:00–22:00 on
BBC One.
There will be four one-hour episodes in total. Emma is being played by Romola Garai and Mr Knightley by Jonny Lee Miller.

For more information visit the BBC website.

I have taken the picture from there as it is so beautiful. I have always liked Romola Garai since her performances in Atonement and Amazing Grace. Fingers crossed she will play Emma right. I read on the train today that she actually studied a degree in English Literature and specialised in Jane Austen!

I am so excited.......
Pic: BBC

Friday, 25 September 2009

Jane Austen Quote – Week 75 by Linda

Looking for something a bit ‘different’, I happened to pick up my Penguin Classics edition of “The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte” where I found in Jane’s “Volume the First” her novel “The Beautiful Cassandra”. The subtitle is “A Novel in Twelve chapters, dedicated by permission to Miss Austen.” The Dedication reads as follows:


You are a Phoenix. Your taste is refined, your sentiments are noble, and your virtues innumerable. Your person is lovely, your figure, elegant, & your form, majestic. Your manners are polished, your conversation is rational, and your appearance singular. If, therefore, the following tale will afford one moment's amusement to you, every wish will be gratified of

Your most obedient

humble servant,

the Author.

If ever the ‘ideal’ woman is defined, this is it. Sadly, elsewhere we are told though, that ‘no one is perfect’, so we shall have to use her description as a goal to shoot for.

Of course, you must realize that the twelve chapters are extremely short being only one or two sentences in length. The ‘story’ is quite a humorous tale to be sure as only dear Jane could tell it.

Well, now we know what we should be. Thanks, dear Jane.

Linda the Librarian
Pic: 'Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte' from

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Jane Austen Quiz

Linda has kindly drawn our attention to a great quiz which has been posted on The Jane Austen Centre website

An example question, which has links to Becoming Jane, is:

Who wrote the Romance of the Forest, the book Harriet Smith recommends?

- Ann Radcliffe

- Fanny Burney

- Maria Edgeworth

Have a go at the quiz and let us know how you got on!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Jane Austen Quote – Week 74

This time, as promised to find a quote from a book other than Persuasion, I picked Sense & Sensibility. Funny enough, it’s about keeping a promise as well.

Sense & Sensibility Chapter 37 (Penguin 2003, p. 246), after Marianne found out that Elinor had known about Edward Ferrars’ engagement with Lucy Steele for solid four months and told no soul about it because Elinor had promised Lucy to keep it as a secret.

“Four months!” – cried Marianne again. – “So calm! – so cheerful! – how have you been supported?” –

“By feeling that I was doing my duty. – My promise to Lucy, obliged me to be secret. I owed it to her, therefore, to avoid giving any hint of the truth; and I owed it to my family and friends, not to create in them a solicitude about me, which it could not be in my power to satisfy.”

Marianne seemed much struck. –

“I have very often wished to undeceive yourself and my mother,” added Elinor; “and once or twice I have attempted it; - but without betraying my trust, I never could have convinced you.”

Now, was Elinor not an amazing woman? Time and time again, it has been proved to me that keeping a promise is so hard! I often kept my promise well enough, but some others (particularly about deadlines) were barely kept, making me ashamed of myself.

Not to mention a certain incident that involved Rachel and I and another girl that failed to keep her promise and even lied about it… (the girl is outside this blog, of course). Poor girl, we knew she lied and she still kept fabricating the facts so that we thought she told the truth.

Oh well. Note to self: always try to be honest and keep the promise.

Pic: Elinor Dashwood and Lucy Steele, SS 1995

Monday, 14 September 2009

P & P Tours ... Sleep in Lizzie's Bed!

My sister, knowing my Austen-mania, sent me the link to the Pride and Prejudice Location Tours, and I couldn't resist sharing it. If I was ever in the UK, I know what I'd be signing up for ... pop over and have a look!

Tour guides 'author and Jane Austen expert Helen Wilkinson', and Maddy Hall, an 'authority on the BBC production' offer a range of Austen-adaptation tours, with a focus on the BBC productions (they are also offering an upcoming Wives & Daughters tour for Gaskell fans / Jane Eyre (!) tour for fans
of the recent BBC mini-series ...). On the intinerary for 2010 are a 4-day Pride & Prejudice tour, a Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson adaptation) tour, Emma 2009 tour, and Persuasion (1995), among others.

The Pride & Prejudice tour includes:

Meryton village, Bell at ‘Bromley’ & Meryton Assembly rooms, Longbourn and the church, Netherfield and Darcy’s London, Hunsford Parsonage, Rosings, Pemberley Interior, Lambton and Lizzie’s Derbyshire, Pemberley Exterior. Upgrade to stay in the actual filming locations used in the BBC production, (including Lizzie’s bedroom with the decor unchanged, and the shelves in the closet fitted by Lady Catherine herself!) A happy thought indeed.

Seriously, how cool is that?! 'A happy thought, indeed...'

Pic 1: Lizzie at Longbourne (albeit sadly not appearing in the tour ...) from: MyPride&
Pic 2: Lizzie at Pemberley from: Jim&

Emma 2009 Trailer & UK Screening Date ...

Sorry for the belated news about the BBC's Emma 2009, but the word is that the series will begin screening in the UK on the 4th of October!

Edit: Google's just informed me that the DVD is available for pre-order on the BBC shop, with the release date of 30th November: pre-order Emma.

And finally ... I haven't seen any new pictures (where are they all?!) but here is the trailer :)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Scent of Sensibility!!

For any of you, like me, who like the aroma of old books, then look no further. There is a room scent which has captured and recreated the early 18th century. The scent is a mix of violets, horses, and potpourri.

It costs £9.99- around $16.70 to purchase from Smell of Books and I believe it is on sale at a number of other sites.

I am intrigued.......If anyone decides to try it out, let us know what you think.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the week- Week 73

This week I have chosen a quote from Chapter 9 of Mansfield Park. Mrs Rushworth is showing Fanny, Edmund and Miss Crawford around the house and upon arriving at the chapel, there is some witty exchange between them. Edmund states:

"At any rate, it is safer to leave people to their own devices on such subjects. Everybody likes to go their own way—to chuse their own time and manner of devotion. The obligation of attendance, the formality, the restraint, the length of time—altogether it is a formidable thing, and what nobody likes; and if the good people who used to kneel and gape in that gallery could have foreseen that the time would ever come when men and women might lie another ten minutes in bed, when they woke with a headache, without danger of reprobation, because chapel was missed, they would have jumped with joy and envy."

Fanny is angered by Edmunds open and clever display of disagreement. I love this example of the chemistry between them.

I also simply love the line bolded above. Even in our modern day, I think it is still all too easy to try to please everyone all of the time and to strive to consistently meet rules and conventions. Sometimes it is nice to just be how we want to be and do what we want to do without this pressure. Choice is such a powerful thing and I think that we should sometimes not be so afraid to be free.

Pic 1: Austen Prose

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Jane Austen Quote - Week 72 by Linda

In Sense and Sensibility, tucked away in Chapter 44, Jane Austen has given us a character lesson to be heeded when rearing children. These are Elinor’s thoughts after Willoughby’s confession when he heard that Marianne was dying:


Elinor made no answer. Her thoughts were silently fixed on the irreparable injury which too early an independence and its consequent habits of idleness, dissipation, and luxury, had made in the mind, the character, the happiness, of a man who, to every advantage of person and talents, united a disposition naturally open and honest, and a feeling, affectionate temper. The world had made him extravagant and vain; extravagance and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or at least its offspring necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty propensity, in leading him to evil, had led him likewise to punishment. The attachment, from which against honour, against feeling, against every better interest he had outwardly torn himself, now, when no longer allowable, governed every thought; and the connection, for the sake of which he had, with little scruple, left her sister to misery, was likely to prove a source of unhappiness to himself of a far more incurable nature. From a reverie of this kind she was recalled at the end of some minutes by Willoughby, who, rousing himself from a reverie at least equally painful, started up in preparation for going, and said:

"There is no use in staying here; I must be off."


There are so many ‘treasures’ Jane scattered throughout her novels that one has to carefully read each page. As the teacher/caretaker for my grandchildren, it behooves me to take her admonitions to heart. I can see that her Father, the clergyman at Steventon, probably had much to say on these subjects, especially as he was a tutor to young boys.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Dominic Cooper as Willoughby in Sense & Sensibility 2008, from Jane Austen's World

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Jane Austen Festival, Bath

For all you UK Janeites out there (and for anyone else who is interested!), I just wanted to make you all aware that it is in fact the Jane Austen festival in Bath in a few weeks.

The festival runs from Friday 18th September to Sunday 27th September and there are many events running every day, e.g. walking tours, talks, dancing (regency costume most welcome).

It is worth checking out the homepage for more information.
I have been to the Jane Austen centre in Bath and that is well worth a visit, even at non-festival times.
I am desperately hoping to be able to get to the festival at some point over the 10 days.
I want to meet my very own Tom Lefroy!