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!