I do not know about my fellow janeites but I am obsessed with seeking out gorgeous little hand made things on etsy to do with Divine Jane, so publisher Penguin’s latest venture with its Autumn 2011 collection ‘Penguin Threads’ is just a dream come true.
This is a collection of the beautiful books with covers based on original hand-sewn designs. Only three classics were chosen for the collection; Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and Jane Austen’s Emma!
It is the first time that Emma will be published all by herself as a standalone edition.
It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen, and so skillfully and meticulously hand crafted that it’s unbelievable. It’s so nice to see books like this- almost bespoke in their design, rather than everything becoming digital, which is exactly what I was lamenting in my last post.
Penguin commissioned artist Jillian Tamaki to design these covers. What a spectacular job she did- they’re so cute!
As much as we make make fun of Henry Tilney’s muslin fettish and love of ridiculous hats, we can surely admit that the new Old Spice Parody has shown us a new light to Northanger Abbey’s hero. Eventhough Tilney should not compare himself in any way to Darcy and Captain Wentworth, who are indeed fine examples of manliness; we think it brilliant that he tries his best. Written by AustenBlog’s own Heather Laurence and performed by Joe Homes, this wonderfully crafted parody portrays Tilney’s endearing qualities to the Janeite world. He also has a puppy! which makes the video all the more amusing. Could this be one of many Austen men adverts? We certainly hope so…
I am so sick of getting recommened e-readers, Kindles and iPads etc.
When I express my disdain for them- people say: ‘You like Jane Austen don’t you? Look- I have all of her books here. I got them for free! On my [insert pointless gadget here]!’
What is the point of downloading them for free if you will never read her? I suppose it may encourage some people to read Austen, merely because they got her novels for absolutely nothing and are too thrifty to go out and buy a book with molecular integrity, so some good may come of this fast growing practice.
However, janeites everywhere, I urge you to put down your slimline, shiny technowotsits and instead pick up the first Jane Austen you read.
You can hold it in your hands and know that the world over, for hundreds of years, millions of others have held a copy just like you; a shared yet anonymous experience which cannot fail to inspire thought. You can rifle through the pages until you find your favourite part. There’s a big crack in the spine where you can instantly flip to Darcy’s proposal or Wentworth’s letter. The words are smudged a bit where you cried all over Bingley proposing to Jane. There’s crumbs in almost every page of Northanger Abbey because you read it all in one afternoon over Christmas with a massive box of biscuits. Your copy of Emma is now like a concertina because you dropped it in the bath.
These characterisitics are synonymous with a favourite author. So when next someone is using one finger to flip indolently through the pages of a space age novel with giant print they don’t need but use because it makes them feel like they’re reading more, despair not, and feel the papery goodness of the battered volume in your hands. They are your darling children and a testament to your enduring love for Jane Austen.
^This sums up the superiority of Real Books over e-books.^
Have you any specific characteristics of your own Austen novels? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Just a note to say that the final book in the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies trilogy: Dreadfully Ever After was realeased today.
The story starts after the marriage of zombie slaying Lizzy and Darcy, but ‘the honeymoon has barely begun’ when the Pemberley inhabitants are faced with yet another horde of unmentionables to behead. However, Mr Darcy is infected by the dreadful affliciton which has turned Regency England into a horror film when bitten by a rampaging zombie. Elizabeth, rather than beheading her husband immediately, decides to pursue the news of a miracle antidote being developed in London- chasing the last chance to save her true love.
Sounds good. JaneiteJournal will have a review of this novel just as soon as one of us can purchase it.
For more info, or to buy, try www.quirkclassics.com
Comic Relief is over as of Friday night but I have just recovered from staying up until one in the morning, so I’ll post about it now. We loved Jennifer Saunders’ Downstairs Uptown Abbey and most importantly- Vivienne Westwood’s t-shirts. I myself purchased a Queenie Blackadder shirt which I have had great pride in wearing but Ms Westwood…
Missed opportunity! Jane would have looked MINT on a t-shirt. She even acknowledges comic relief in Persuasion. Sir Walter Elliot says that last time he saw Mary, she had red nose.
This was because he saw her on March 18th!
Hope everyone loved Red Nose Day and donated money.
If you haven’t already- please visit www.rednoseday.com
After a very long time searching for the camera cable, I have finally uploaded the first editions to our Jane’s Places section. I apologise for my tardiness Miss Austen, it shall not happen again.
Jane’s Places is the section of our website where we upload photos of Austen related street names, shops, road signs e.t.c. There is quite a number of said places around our town, and it is our duty as Janeites to seek them out and capture them on film. Not only does it make small outings and country walks much more enjoyable, but it also aids us in worshipping Jane wherever we go. This activity; however, can be highly dangerous, as it may cause unexpected swoons in public areas. It is recommended that you travel with a fellow Janeite, and have a small supply of smelling salts stashed in your vintage handbag, just in case. Although it would be a wonderful occurrence, it is highly unlikely that Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth will sweep you up into his arms and ride into the sunset. If this did happen, your Janeite friend would not be a true Janeite unless she ran off with your handsome Austen hero and left you lying on the pavement; your bonnet twisted and your shawl entangled around your legs.
My first of Jane’s places left me grinning like a fool and immediately contacting Miss Smith to share my news of THE DARCY SHOP. Yes, such a place does exist. As well as having a glorious name, the shop itself it filled with beautiful wedding dresses and sparkling shoes. What more could a girl ask for? Well, the real Mr Darcy would be nice, but this will suffice. A glow emitted from this beautiful place of sanctuary and manliness(that is no word of a lie, honest!:P). This is a perfect addition to Janeite Journal and a lovely start to the Jane’s Places page.
To see more Austen related places please visit the Jane’s Places page.
Have you been marching on bridges to show your sisterly solidarity? I certainly hope so.
One of the ‘forerunners of feminism’ was the Divine Jane herself, and deserves a mention on this day.
Writing in a time where the only career open to women was marriage and motherhood, Jane had a narrow scope as far as feminism went, but despite decades of feminists criticising and condemning her books as old fashioned and very retrogressive for women’s rights, Jane Austen must have been one of the earliest feminists known to womankind.
Not only did she express views at the time that were ‘far to clever to have been written by a woman’, she wrote them under the pseudonym of ‘A.Lady’ and STILL manages to sell edition upon edition, unlike the Bronte ‘brothers’, who resorted to male pen names in order to get their books to sell.
It is understandable that Jane never published work under her own name, as this was a time when other female writers said they would ‘rather exhibit as a rope dancer’ than have everyone know they had literary integrity and an imagination, but despite this setback she started a revolution.
Jane herself had a career, and was proud of it. Elinor Dashwood confesses her envy of a man’s being able to earn a living in Sense and Sensibility. It isn’t groundbreaking or feminist by today’s standards but I’m sure at the time people would not have liked a young woman to say that. A woman knew her place.
Jane’s Girls must have caused controversy. A part from the foolish Catherine Morland, who at least shows some ability to judge charachter, the heroines of The Great Six are strong, intelligent and in many cases very modern. Elizabeth Bennet and Emma both declare they should never like to marry though they have different reasons for this opinion. Fanny Price is principled and wise despite her young age and her belonging to ‘the weaker sex’ and even refuses and offer of marriage from Henry Crawford on these principles. Elizabeth likewise turns down not one but two proposals as she does not need a husband or a man’s wealth to make her happy. She is convinced that ‘nothing but the very deepest of love could induce her to marry’.
Jane herself was a modern woman. Not only did she have a career, she lived in a male-free household during the most productive years of her life, suggesting that running around after brothers, neices and nephews had stilted her talents in past years. She also dealt with her publisher alone on several occasions, not relying on her brother Henry’s help. Jane knew that woman could take matters into their own hands- be they prettily be-gloved in lace or not.
So Girl-Power is the message from Jane- a message that resonated down the decades and inspired the young women who read her generation after generation to take matters into their own hands, so competently that now it is 100 years since International Women’s Day was founded.
It influenced doctors, politicians, soldiers, pilots, artists, musicians and writers.
‘Women can do anything’ was her message, although it was restricted and held back by the tight constraints of society.
It’s not Jane Austen, but I recently read feminist, progressive novel South Riding by Winifred Holtby and loved every word of it. I think Holtby heard Austen, just as I did and I hope Jane would have approved of the message it gave to the girls leaving school in the novel:
“Go therefore and do that which is within you to do. Take no heed of gestures that beckon you aside. Ask of no man permission to perform.”
And pray remember Miss Austen when you’re next singing along to the Spice Girls.
Miss Smith, xxx