When I look back on my younger years—O ye olde era of the Apple IIE!—I think how nice it is that we have the internet now. Responsible grown-up things like online bill pay aside, where would we be without netspeaking cats and inane music videos? What kind of cool-stuff threshold did we even have before Tumblr and BoingBoing and whole weird osmosis of the collective digital consciousness? Seriously, people. I think we had to play outside. And do work! It’s amazing we all turned out as well as we did.
Friends, the future is now, as seen in these cool Janely things we’ve picked up around the Web. Enjoy!
The Fug Girls, exemplars of all that is great and good on the internet, take on the Darcys (Mr. and Mark), as well as one impressively plaid dress.
Mansfield Park makes it into the Guardian‘s listing of 10 of the Best Balls in Literature. So to speak.
Now that our Southern California bureau is up and functional, we’ll expect our invitation to this aaaany day now. No, really. We’ll wait.
You tell ‘em, Vic: on the same old, same old of lady-fiction bashing. If ONLY romances were as diverse and innovative as the stories men tell themselves! Sigh.
And finally, for the conscientious early-bird holiday shoppers among us (surely nobody around here, but we hear this is a thing), Jane Austen stuff for dudes. For the skateboarding Jane aficionado who has everything!
Greetings, my excellent friends, old and new alike! Austenacious had a fab time at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday! It may have been 100° F in the shade, but we enjoyed chatting with Austen fans and other book lovers. We wished for some wholesome English rain, so we could be picked up by the beautiful people passing by, or at least cool off a bit, but whatthehey. At least Empire waists are back in style, and fans and parasols too.
We also had hours of quiet enjoyment watching small children and big children create dioramas using our Jane Austen action figures. We even got complimented on our antique toy collection. (Most common remark from passersby: “Look, a rubber chicken!”) The late Mr. Fitzpatrick had three rubber chickens, all of whom assisted Miss Austen at the fair, as did Strawberry Shortcake, the villains of G.I. Joe, and certain handsome Starfleet officers. What we say is, why limit yourself? And you evidently agreed with us, because Jane certainly had an interesting day! So, we are asking for your help. Use your imaginations! What’s Jane up to in these parallel existences, and should we be afraid? Please tell us, in each picture, what in the world is going on. The sky’s not the limit! Thank you so much.
All photos ©2010 Heather Dever or Christine Osborne. All rights reserved.
Hello, lovely readers! Please come out and support us and reading at the West Hollywood Book Fair on September 26! We will be in hanging in booth B5, chatting up Austeneers, zombie fans, and even Brontëites. We’ll also be premiering our premiere film, working title A Truth Universally Acknowledged. You may remember that we shot this at WonderCon, but production has been, um, delayed . . . to make you that much more excited . . . not because we got busy or anything . . . . Anyway, it will be so satisfying to have real data on this question at last! Bringing science to Austen, that’s us.
In the vein of films about books (has that been done at all?), check out the Book Fair’s awesome PSA on reading! Too bad they couldn’t fit Jane in, but maybe next time.
Photo credit: Used by permission from the West Hollywood Book Fair.
Okay, people. Let’s talk about civilized.
We, as Jane fans, get called civilized all the time. ALL the TIME. It’s in the news (to the extent that Janedom is in the news); it’s on the Web; it gets tossed around in casual conversation like it’s nothing. And, of course, it’s only right. If anybody is civilized, we are civilized.
Take this quotation from an old New York Times article on the appeal of Jane (circa 1995, so interestingly pre-Austenmania):
“The company of women is so droll,” [interviewee Barbara Stewart] said. “We get so satiric when we get going. That’s what reading her is like: being with great women. Like a great, great lunch. Life is so tawdry and rude and coarse, and this is so civilized.”
Well, sure. Jane was nothing but civilized, right? I mean, everybody in her novels wears those pretty and definitely un-boobalicious Empire-waist dresses, and then drinks tea! And the ladies are always smart and well-intentioned, and the men are never skeeves or sexual predators! And, nobody ever thinks of making catty comments, veiled or otherwise, about anybody else! Nor does anybody deserve said catty comments, ever! Clearly.
And the ladies of Austenacious, well. Let me tell you: we are the souls of civilization. No rudeness or coarse language, gluttony or sloth or envy here. Of COURSE we don’t talk about Colin Firth’s hindquarters, or anybody else’s! What do you think, we were raised in a barn? We are ladies, and we lunch, and our meetings feature more pearls than an oyster boat. And makeup. Always, always makeup. You can tell, of course, because of the courtly nature of Austenacious itself. Nothing but brawling and Boob Aprons and manly reading porn and men in showers here!
So, really, it’s just nice to be recognized, don’t you think? And now, let’s meet in the drawing room for some—ahem—wholesome entertainment. We’ll bring the tea.
We have spoken before about Jane Austen’s individualistic punctuation. Many of us feel that Austen’s incessant dashes, and other weird habits were ebullient—that we’d like to be as free as she was, even if our ever-copyediting hearts might tidy things up a little bit for other people.
Now there is a fracas afoot regarding Austen’s punctuation! Word on the street is that two chapters of the original manuscript for Persuasion will be on view at the British Library from November 12 to April 3 as part of the Evolving English exhibit. (Hey everyone, field trip!) Well, there has been back and forth about Miss Austen and her punctuation. Here’s Roger Walshe, curator of the exhibit:
Austen hardly punctuates at all, so what you get is a much more urgent form of language which becomes more restrained when it is edited. There tends to be an awful lot of clauses and sub-clauses. There is the odd comma, but they aren’t always in the most rational places. There are no paragraphs. It’s like she’s telling a story rather than writing one. The amazing thing is that there are so few corrections. You can imagine her thinking through a scene and then rushing to write it down. That’s possibly why the dialogue works so well, and why [film adaptations] are so successful.There is a real sense of urgency – more so than the slightly more restrained form you get from the novels.
This has led to snide comments about people’s comma usage and spirited rebuttals about artistic license (which take a comment of Walshe’s quite out of context). I’m kind of expecting that we’ll next see something about Jane Austen being the foremother of lolspeak and generally informal writing habits online, like abbreviations and the elongation of words to suggest tones of voice. (I feel impossibly elderly writing that, but wtf, i can roflol all night looooonnngggg. Righhhhtttt.)
All I’m saying is, I love to see a good comma fracas, and especially one where Our Girl Jane takes center stage! People getting passionate about language, that’s what we need! I hardly even care what they say—it just does my heart good—. With extra dashes!—
Guess what? Austenacious is going to the West Hollywood Book Fair! We would love to hook up with any of our LA fans at the Fair on September 26, 2010. (Well, or have tea, I mean.) We are so excited about this event! We even hope to have delicious new swag out to test your pocketbooks. But mostly we’d just like to see you.
Based on my previous experiences at the West Hollywood Book Fair and the inclusion of Austenacious at this year’s event, we might expect, among other delights, Zombiefied Regency figures posing for pictures with tourists, and children acting out Pride and Prejudice in their own words. “Hi my name is George Wickham and I look nice, but I’m evil!” I wouldn’t even be too surprised to see panels on new possible avenues for Austenploitation, and Carol Channing and Reza Aslan in conversation with Jane Austen about seances and big hair in the Middle East. Given the incredible confluence of different worlds at the Book Fair, our minds actually boggle at what might come of it all. We can’t wait!
Hope to see you there!
Photo credit: ©2009 by Heather Dever. All rights reserved.
Today we are giving props to a sister under the skin, namely, Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant. It makes us wish we could draw, it really does.
Lest we think Jane alone inspires Ms. Beaton, check out “Dude Watchin’ with the Brontës”.
You know, speaking as someone with $0.02-worth of knowledge about comics, I think the web has been a great thing for literary and nerdy comics. Would you have seen XKCD in the Sunday funnies? No, because it has math in it, and yet it is the most widely quoted comic among people I know. And as for Wondermark? Not even a chance. The way Wondermark pairs antique and modern is far too weird for The Normal Person, though, come to think of it, he’s probably a brother under our skin (ew). Even if he is kind of steampunk and we’re . . . not? But we do love to relate Austen to the earth-shattering concerns of our day!
Would Jane Austen herself have used comics? (Did she, O scholars of juvenilia?) She could pop off some awesome one-liners, and that makes it easy to connect her with the understated elegance of The New Yorker cartoons or the devilry of Charles Addams. (Was Jane the soul-sister of Wednesday Addams? Discuss.) But in end her forte was the subtle precision of words, lots and lots of words. I think she would have found the text-lite format of even the graphic novel to be a trial. Witness the weakness of Pride and Prejudice tweets compared to the original.
Photo credit: ©Hil. Used under Creative Commons licensing.
Readers, I think we all know that there are Austen fans—and then there are Austen fans. There are those who keep an emergency novel in their bags or cars, and there are those who dress up in custom handmade Regency outfits, either secretly or not-so-secretly. There are those who make syllabub for fun, and those who attend Austen-related opera events on Saturday afternoons. And then there are those who have something Jane-like applied to their bodies permanently—barring the application of lasers, money, and a whole lot of pain. These fans are, you might say, not afraid of commitment.
I finally figured out which quote I wanted for a tattoo. It is from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice: “Til this moment I never knew myself” I was thinking of taking a letter written by Jane Austen to her sister and asking my tattoo artist to duplicate Jane Austen’s handwriting to be the script for my quote tattoo. I wanted to put it on my left leg, above my ankle – but not wrap around my leg. I hate the type-writer faces from people trying to read or look at tattoos that wrap around the leg. But I was wondering what more I could do with it? Add “Jane Austen” or “Pride&Prejudice” or even just “P&P” underneath the quote – but now I’m not so sure.
And now I simply must know: illustrated/annotated readers of Austenacious, reveal yourself! If you have an Austen tattoo, this is your chance. Inquiring minds want—nay, are dying—to know.
If not—and I must go on record as belonging to this particular demographic—what would you choose? Something witty and elegant? That quotation about laughing at our neighbors? Colin Firth’s face in full color?
Oh, readers, it’s been so long since we’ve had a good awards show. The Oscars seem so long ago! And the Emmys—the poor, misguided Emmys, still quaintly nominating Diff’rent Strokes or whatever—don’t roll around until August. Oh, my Tivo for an E! red carpet special, especially if there’s a Ryan Seacrest/Joan-and-Melissa Rivers tag-team cage match. What to do about this land of no sequins and fruitless but ardent water-cooler discussion? If only there were another ceremony we could dote over, or a place where the Jane-loving community would make our voices heard via media grandstanding and full-page ads in Variety. Where’s our red carpet?
I mean, really: Lydia Bennet pulls an Adrien Brody with whatever gentleman or gentlemen happen to be within grabbing distance, whether she wins or not. Emma Woodhouse already knows—or thinks she does—who goes home with a statuette, and who goes home with another nominee. Emma Thompson travels through time by the sheer force of her own awesomeness, and gives a smart and hilarious speech, just because. Darcy refuses to show up at all, though Bingley’s happy to rock the eveningwear and accept any honors in his stead.
So, you see, it’s really too bad there aren’t any awards for Regency greatness.
The 2010 Jane Austen Awards, sponsored by the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England, are now open for voting—click here through June 30 to share the innermost workings of your soul, or at least your favorite Emma/Knightley pairing and the like. Results come out July 14 in Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, to which we assume each and every one of you subscribes. Obviously.
And if you feel the need to break out that strapless dress in your closet, well, Jane won’t tell.
So, how can I put this? Let’s see. Okay, so. Sometimes, it seems to me that Austen adaptations are…shall we say, remiss in failing to offer a satisfying ending? Failing to seal the deal, if you know what I mean? Sure, Lizzy and Darcy end up in the Carriage of Loooove at the end of the 1995 adaptation, but what’s with the little peck as they’re driving off (frozen for effect, even—what, BBC, do you think we didn’t see what you did there, you dirty cheaters)? And, really, nothing for Jane and Bingley? They’re going to get a complex, people. Even Emma Thompson’s Elinor promptly explodes with emotion when Edward turns out not to be married—but does she sweep him off his feet and carry him away, complete with soaring music and distracting crane-shot camera work? Spoiler alert: she does not. And oh, sure, maybe it’s not in the book, exactly, but then neither is a thirty-six-year-old Elinor, a Jane Bennet that looks vaguely like a Greek statue, or that awesome cake on a pedestal (with ribbons!) at the end of Sense and Sensibility. I stand by what I say: more kissing, please! Jane won’t mind.
Thankfully, there are some recent Austen adaptations that seek to remedy the situation, and I think this sort of thing requires some, uh, research. Or, more specifically, a poll. Here are seven ending scenes from relatively recent Austen adaptations, all of them containing some sort of kissy-kissy true-love moment. Inquiring minds want to know: Austenacious readers, which is your favorite, and why? If there’s one that isn’t listed here, what is it (and why couldn’t we find it)?
Pride and Prejudice 1995
Mansfield Park 1999
Pride and Prejudice 2005
Northanger Abbey 2007
Mansfield Park 2007