Saturday, 30 May 2009

Quote of the Week 58

I am luckily in the process of studying Persuasion ... how can it be work?! I am also mid-way through preparations for an upcoming Shakespeare exam, so I had to seize on this weeks' quote. It's from Persuasion, chapter 11. Anne is in Lyme, and is entertaining Benwick:

For, though shy, he did not seem reserved; it had rather the appearance of feelings glad to burst their usual restraints; and having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets, trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be preferred, and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos; and moreover, how the Giaour was to be pronounced, he showed himself so intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet, and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other; he repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry, and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.

This is a very different type of quote for me, and I love it ... Anne is a magnificently constructed character - I wouldn't mind having her for a friend! (In the flesh, anyway.) I believe the power of poetry lies in its ability to say so much, in so few words. I love Anne's thoughts, regarding poetry and Benwick: all good things in moderation. The dangers of too much inward literary excess??

One of my greatest pleasures in life is finding my soul in anothers' written words. Sometimes it's poetry, sometimes a play, a diary, a novel. It would be ideal for this communion through words to have an outward equivalent, but sometimes life doesn't provide for that. At any rate, I love Anne's thoughts, and I'm going to continue dwelling on them. Brilliant novel.

Pic: Anne Elliot from: muohio

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Jane Austen Quote – Week 57

Jane Austen has a very unique advice for family planning! But of course; knowing well that excessive number of children did not bode well with family’s prosperity, particularly if they were poor. Well, or at least she was clever enough to suggest a simple method of family planning, in a dark time where healthy birth control was unheard of. This is from a letter where she was talking about a Mrs. Deedes giving birth to another child:

I would recommend to her and Mr D. the simple regimen of separate rooms.

LOL! I say: laugh out loud! What a witty woman! Makes me wonder why they never thought of having a decent family planning program in ye olde days. Perhaps due to lack of hygienic technology...

By the way, the quote was taken from Jane’s letter to Fanny Knight, 20-21 February 1817, a few months before Jane’s own death. Obviously, she still retained her sense of humour. Oh, and I snatched the quote from Dominique Enright’s very interesting compilation of ‘The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen’, p. 114. Amazing read, truly.

Pic: four cute children are already rather unmanageable. How about 8 or 10? Yeah, these are Victorian children, not Georgian... From this site

Emma- open-air theatrical production

My most recent post was about an event in the uk and now I have another for you Brit fans out there....or others who dont mind travelling a considerable distance!

In various open-air locations around the uk, there is to be a theatrical version of Emma this summer.

For more details, please visit the heartbreak productions site

The tour begins on July 1st in Leamington Spa and ends on August 29th at the national trust site, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

I am going to look into getting tickets this weekend as some of the venues are beautiful in their own right; add Emma and Mr Knightley into the mix and it will be magical!

Pic: Emma and Knightley

Friday, 15 May 2009

Quote of the Week 56 by Linda

Let us take a look at the happy ending in the final paragraph of Pride and Prejudice:

With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.

What I gather from this is that we should be grateful for all events in our lives because we never know which event may result in something good (that we would wish for). We take the good with the bad.

Alas, we may even learn a lesson from the bad. To top that, a strange thing happened on the way home while listening to the radio. A song came on and the few words I heard made my ears perk up. The words were: Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. The song was by Garth Brooks named “Unanswered Prayers”. Those particular words were in reference to the fact that in his youth he had prayed for a special girl at school and it didn’t happen. Instead he ended up with his most beloved wife for which he thanked God for his ‘unanswered prayer’.

So you see, we cannot be certain about the outcome of the good/bad events of our lives. ‘Tis best left to the Higher Power.

Linda, your Friendly Philosopher, er, the Librarian

Pic: Lizzie & Darcy (1995) from: Flickr

JA Fans In London

We have received a very exciting email today from Ali at Faber and Faber Publishing House in London. On Saturday 27th there is a 'How to Read: Jane Austen' course.

I am going to paste the information she provided below:

Saturday 27 June 2009:

Faber and Faber, Bloomsbury House, 74-77 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DA

In the first of an exciting series of How to Read courses from the Faber Academy, John Mullan will lead you through the intriguing minutiae of Austen’s fiction, believing that the closer you look, the more you see.

Virginia Woolf said that ‘of all great writers she [Austen] is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness’, but catching this act is our purpose. We will examine the content of her novels – her interest in courtship, or money, or impoliteness – but also at how she writes. The classes are designed to help readers recognise the audacity of some of Austen's narrative techniques and see that this genteel and conservative woman was a great innovator in the art of fiction. Quite simply, this is a day for those who love Jane Austen’s novels.

The day will take place at the beautiful Georgian offices of independent publisher, Faber and Faber, and there are no hard and fast criteria for attendance, save the following:
To have read Jane Austen’s novels
To come with a lively, open mind
To ask interesting questions and be prepared to have your opinions challenged

Course cost: £100 (inclusive of VAT)

Coming soon: Jeanette Winterson on Virginia Woolf; John Carey on William Golding; Claire Keegan on Anton Chekhov; Maxim Jakubowski on Raymond Chandler.
Call Patrick on +44 (0) 20 7927 3822 for more details

Course outline
10-10.30 A cunning Jane Austen Literary Quiz
10.30-11.30 Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice: topics - illness and letters
11.30-11.45 Coffee
11.45-12.45 Mansfield Park: topics - acting and dialogue
12.45-1.45 Lunch
1.45-2.45 Guest speaker on Austen's life
2.45-3.45 Emma: topics - blunders and free indirect style
3.45-4 Tea
4-5 Persuasion and Northanger Abbey: topics - feelings and Bath

About the tutors

John Mullan is Professor of English at University College London. He is the author of How Novels Work (OUP) and Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eightenth Century (OUP). He has published widely on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for The Guardian.

About Faber

Faber and Faber is the last of the great independent publishing houses in London. We were established in 1929 by Geoffrey Faber and our first editor was T. S. Eliot. Among our list of authors we are proud to publish five Booker Prize winners and eleven Nobel Laureates. We are particularly well-known for our unrivalled list of modern poets and playwrights, as well as for publishing writers of prize-winning fiction and general non-fiction. More (link to

To make a booking:

Contact Patrick on either or +44 (0) 20 7927 3822Alternatively, write to Patrick Keogh, Faber and Faber, 74-77 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DA

If any of you do decide to take up this wonderful offer then please do ensure that you let all of us know your comments and thoughts on your experience.

Thanks again Ali for providing us with the information. For any of you that cant make this course (like me! Sob sob!), I did ask Ali whether any other similar courses may be repeated later in the year. She said that if they have the interest and many people sign up for this one then that may well be the case. I will keep you posted......

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Quote of the Week- Week 55

This weeks quote is from the wonderful Mansfield Park.

"Oh! I know nothing of your furlongs, but I am sure it is a very long wood, and that we have been winding in and out ever since we came into it; and therefore, when I say that we have walked a mile in it, I must speak within compass."

"We have been exactly a quarter of an hour here," said Edmund, taking out his watch. "Do you think we are walking four miles an hour?"

"Oh! do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch."

A few steps farther brought them out at the bottom of the very walk they had been talking of; and standing back, well shaded and sheltered, and looking over a ha-ha into the park, was a comfortable-sized bench, on which they all sat down.

This is taken from chapter 9 of the novel and is spoken by Mary Crawford (this antagonist gets all the best lines!) Mary Crawford, Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram are taking a walk in the wood and Mary and Edmund are debating the distance in which they have walked.

Mary is a very skeptical character and I think that there is some depth to this line (in bold). I might be completely wrong in my stance so please do correct me if you think I am.

I think that Jane Austen has some very philosophical thinking and is highly aware of not only the people, but the society and philosophy of her time. I think that we can see examples of this in her novels, i.e. my chosen quote of the week. I think that this line is questioning the concept of truth and certainty; highly philosophical principles. I love it.

I would really like to explore more of her lines to analyse them and wonder whether she sometimes did have a philosophical purpose when she was writing........

Pic 1: Mary, Edmund and Fanny, taken from the Austen Prose Site

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

We Have Knightley Photos!

Three photos of Johnny Lee Miller as Knightley Courtesy of Pemberley

What do you think! I think he looks five foot tall! Oh gosh, I am so horrid.

I've just seen new photos of Romola as Emma and I like them a lot better than the first offerings. New Austen to look forward to - much excitment. :)

Pics 1: Jonny Lee Miller as Knightley from: Pemberley
Pic 2: Romola Garai as Emma from: Romola Garai

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Quote of the Week 54

Rachel posted a beautiful quote from Emma last week, and in honour of the recent news about filiming of Emma 2009, I have chosen to quote from the same novel this week.

Emma & her family are en route to the Weston's Christmas Party, and she falls into discussion with her brother-in-law, John Knightley. He 'slyly' suggests that Mr Elton 'seems to have a great deal of good-will' towards Emma. She replies:

'I thank you; but I assure you you are quite mistaken. Mr Elton and I are very good friends, and nothing more,' and she walked on, amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of circumstances, of the mistakes which people of high pretensions to judgment are for ever falling into; and not very well pleased with her brother for imagining her blind and ignorant, and in want of counsel. He said no more.

Emma, Chapter 13

I love the irony here. John Knightley is of course, correct, and Emma herself is missing the obvious signs in front of her. I love how we can convince ourselves of 'the truth' around us, misinterpreting other's motivations through the filter of our own desires.

Besides the irony (and fairly good summary of Emma), I love this quote because once again Miss Austen hits the proverbial nail on the head. '...she walked on, amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of circumstances...' I can't count the number of times I have leapt to premature judgements which at best have been embarrassing and at worst ... well, acutely embarrassing! (and harmful, etc). 'Partial knowledge of circumstances' is a very curious state-of-being. Hmm. I need to keep thinking on this one. There is a lot in this little sentence, isn't there?!

Pics 1 & 2: Kate Beckinsale as Emma from: Strangegirl

Emma 2009! Casting, News & Set Photos

Last November we blogged about rumours that the BBC were producing a mini-series of Emma for 2009. I am embarrassed to admit that I forgot about this project (yes, I know! my fave. Austen, too) but after googling Austen during the week, discovered that Emma 2009 is currently filming!

The cast is:

Romola Garai as Emma

Johnny Lee Miller as Knightley

Michael Gambon as Mr Woodhouse

Jodhi May as Mrs Weston

Christina Cole as Mrs Elton

Blake Ritson as Mr Elton

Rupert Evans as Frank Churchill

Louise Dylan as Harriet Smith

(more info at IMDB's Emma 2009 & BBC Press Release)

Thanks to AustenBlog for the head's up: here are some set photos: Emma Filming in Kent

Ironically enough some of these faces are not Austenly-unfamiliar: Johnny Lee Miller (Knightley) was Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park 1999, and Blake Ritson (Elton) was Edmund Bertram in MP 2007. Christina Cole played Caroline Bingley in Lost in Austen.

It looks like it'll be four parts, 240 minutes, with a release date of October 2009.

So ... opinions?? It's a pretty 'young and sexy' lineup, I think. I'm a bit deflated by Garai as Emma to tell the truth, for I don't really like her as an actress, but I think she was marvelous in Atonement. Johnny Lee Miller? Couldn't believe it at first, but I am very curious. I love Michael Gambon. Not too hot on the look. The hair scares me. But still, more Austen to look forward too! (Should I say now that Beckinsale's Emma is my favourite?)

But ... the hair, Louisa!

Pic 1: Romola Garai as Emma (2009) from: Pemberley

Pic 2: Romola Garai and Jodhi May as Mrs Weston from: Pemberley