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.