Monday, April 27, 2015

Jane Austen Resources

Just a few links to Websites, Texts and Blogs about Jane Austen

Jane Austen Centre, Bath, UK

Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen

The Letters of Jane Austen by Jane Austen

Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh

200 years of Jane Austen Anniversaries in 2015

Other Austen reviews I have written or posted

Old Friends and New Fancies

The Jane Austen Book Club (movie)

Darcy's Story

Which Austen heroine are you?

You are Anne Elliot of Persuasion! Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use "the Elliot way" against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly.

You Are...Anne Elliot!

Feel free to post this placard, with a link to the main quiz page, on your webpage or online journal. You may direct link the image for the purposes of the quiz, just don't abuse the privilege, and be aware that the files may move.

Quiz Source - Which Austen heroine are you?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SPIN substitute - Persuasion by Jane Austen

Since I refused to read that horrible book about the Dumb Blonde who does nothing but gossip all day, it occurred to me that perhaps I could read another novel by Jane Austen.

Up until this Spin challenge began, the only Jane Austen Book I was familiar with, was of course Pride and Prejudice.

Now I am familiar with 3 of Jane Austens Books. P&P, Emma and the novel I WAS able to read.

Title - Persuasion
Author - Jane Austen
Published - 1818

THIS Book I fell in love with.

I now claim Persuasion to be MY most favourite Jane Austen Novel!!!

There are several reasons why I LOVED this book.

1 - It only has 24 chapters compared to 55 of the Dumb Blonde Book.

2 - It was set in Somersetshire and I have ancestors from Somersetshire, although they were NOT from Bath.

3 - It started off in Chapter 1 with the Elliot family genealogy and I LOVE genealogy!!

4 - Anne is the middle of three daughters. So am I!!

5 - Anne loves to read. So do I!!

6 - Anne did not get on at with her older sister, but did get on reasonably well with her younger sister. The same for me. My older sister and I never got on at all. My younger sister and I get on very well indeed.

7 - This novel involves Officers from the Royal Navy, and takes place a few years after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. (Persuasion is set in 1814). I have always loved the sea and the many Navies that fought battles upon the waves. I also love reading and learning about the Age of Exploration!!

8 - Like Anne, I too was persuaded to not follow a dream of mine (education rather than marriage). This is a decision I have not been able to rectify and which I still regret.

9 - Anne married late. Well, it was late for the Regency era anyway. She was 27 when she became engaged to Captain Wentworth. I too married late, I was 35 when I met him, and 36 when I got married. 

10 - In this novel Anne gets to travel. While she does not travel to London, she does travel from her home near Crewkerne in Somersetshire to Lyme Regis and to Bath. I don't think anyone from the other novels get to travel much. Certainly not Emma.

Lyme Regis is famous for dinosaur skeletons and Mary Anning who discovered them. Oh, but in 1814, Mary Anning is still just a teenager. If you know the riddle - She sells sea shells on the sea shore - this riddle is believed to refer to Mary Anning.

I have travelled and lived in 3 countries in my lifetime. New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Canada.

Frederick Wentworth has travelled all over the Mediterranean during the course of the Napoleonic wars.

There are of course plenty of differences between myself and Anne as well.

Anne's mother died when she was a child. Both of my parents are still alive - although my mother is currently ill with cancer.

Anne's older sister never married. Both of my sisters married in their twenties. I did not get married until I was 36 years old.

Both of Anne's sisters are still alive in this novel, although the oldest sister does not have a very large part to play. My older sister passed away more than 20 years ago. She left behind 3 young children. Those children are now well adjusted and happy young adults in their 20's. None of them married yet, although one is living with a partner.


That's enough, lets get on with it... (quote by Rolf Harris)

Eight years before the novel opens, Anne Elliot was persuaded by her godmother to NOT marry a young officer in the Royal Navy because he had no money and no prospects.

Anne deeply regrets making that decision but has not seen the young man since.

In the meantime, her father, Sir Walter Elliot, a Baron, has been living above his means and is now in debt. He is forced to leave his home and move to a smaller house in Bath and let out the family home of Kellynch Hall.

The new tenants turn out to be Admiral and Mrs Croft. Mrs Croft's brother is the young man whom Anne rejected. Only a very few people are aware that they did have plans to marry. Anne is terrified of meeting him.

Anne's younger sister Mary demands that Anne go and live with her instead of moving to Bath and Anne agrees. Because Mary still lives just three miles away from Kellynch Hall, there was always the chance that she and the now Captain Frederick Wentworth would eventually meet, which they do. By now the Captain has made a lot of money from the wars. It is rumoured that he now has 25,000 pounds, which is QUITE the fortune!!! 

 It is clear that Captain Wentworth has not forgiven Anne for her actions. He flirts with Mary's two young sisters in law - Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove.

Someone suggests a ride to Lyme Regis. so they all bundle up and make the 4 hour trek to Lyme.

Lyme Regis has this huge harbour wall called The Cobb. It is wide enough to easily walk 3 abreast. It has stairs along it every few hundred feet, leading down to the Lower Cobb (or lower wall).

Louisa Musgrove, being the teenager she is, jumps off the steps and into Frederick's arms. She runs back up the stairs to do that again. But Frederick gets distracted and there is noone to catch Louisa when she jumps the second time. She hits the ground and hits her head.

Henrietta and Mary both start screaming in panic thinking Louisa is dead.  Frederick doesn't know what to do either. Anne demands that Frederick's friend Benwick be sent to find a surgeon (doctor),  since he has lived in Lyme and would know where to find one.

Anne and Henrietta return home while Mary and Charles - Louisa's older brother and his wife - remain in Lyme.

Louisa ends up remaining in Lyme for a month during her recovery. Wentworth disappears to Shropshire to visit his brother. Noone notices his friend James Benwick who stays behind and visits Louisa every day.

Anne is eventually persuaded to visit Bath with her godmother Lady Russell. While in Bath, some distant cousins of Mr Elliot, the Dalrymples, who are slightly higher than Mr Elliot on the Nobility rankings, also visit Bath and Mr Elliot schemes to obtain an audience.

Around this time, the news is spread that Louisa has fully recovered and is now engaged to be married to James Benwick, the friend of Frederick Wentworth, Anne is thrilled to hear this news because she had thought that Louisa was rather overly friendly with Frederick in Lyme and that perhaps they would become engaged.

At the same time, another cousin of the Elliots, William Elliot, who is the heir to Mr Elliot, is making a play for Anne, in order to not only obtain the Baronet title, but also what little money there is left.  He starts a rumour that he and Anne are engaged. This has Frederick rushing to Bath to find out for himself. He has never stopped loving Anne. He eventually sends Anne a letter.

Tell me that it is not too late.

Anne runs after Frederick and when he proposes again, she accepts and tells him that this time she will NOT be persuaded to change her mind.


Jane Austen died in July 1817. Persuasion was published in December 1817, although the publisher placed the official date of 1818 on the book instead. 

This is another typical love story from Jane Austen. But this time while Anne's sister Mary was the one doing the whining, and everyone did the gossiping, Anne is portrayed the sensible one. Which is why I like her so much. In Lyme, while everyone was panicking over Louisa, Anne knew what to do. This is why Frederick notices her again.

At one point Anne described what she considered to be good company.

My idea of good company, is the company of well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation. 

I whole-heartedly agree. Well, about the well-informed people anyway. I do love a good intelligent conversation. I detest gossip.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Failed my first Spin - Emma by Jane Austen

OK I give up.

I announce it officially.

I cannot stand Emma!!!

I have not been able to get past Chapter 10. There is NO way I will be able to finish this book.

I will NEVER ever touch this book to read again. 

I don't know how ANYONE can read this novel.

Emma does nothing but whine and gossip and stick her nose into other peoples business all day, every day.

Sure she can dance and sing and paint and play the harpschicord, all very prettiily. But in modern vernacular, she is absolutely the epitome of a DUMB BLONDE!!!!

And the fact that the classic actress who plays Emma in the movie of the book, was Gwyneth Paltrow, who is also a blonde, and sometimes acts very dumb, just enforces the Dumb Blonde stereotype. 

And I cannot stand Dumb Blondes. Which is why I hate the movie CLUELESS.I could not watch Emma either.

It eventually occurred to me to read another Jane Austen Novel in place of Emma, so that is what I did.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why my Dad loves Jane Austen's books

I asked a question in my previous post about why my dad loves Jane Austen's books. So I sent my dad an email and asked him. This is his reply.

Emma is not my top favourite. I find Emma Woodhouse to be such a bossy, opinionated young woman, that she irritates me somewhat.

There are several reasons I like the Austen novels.

1. They are “old friends” – I have been re-reading them since I was introduced to “Persuasion” in English 1 at University. Must have been about 1959. (and yes this was before I was born)

2. I find her characters so vivid and  real. I know one or two “Miss Bates” in real life, who waffle on too much, and are really boring. Austen even manages to make Emma very vivid, so that she is like a real person, even if she is a slow learner.

3. My all-time favourite is “Pride and Prejudice”. It has a good caste of interesting characters. Rev. Collins is one of the most marvellous comic creations in all of English literature. The plot is very carefully mapped out, so that the families of the hero and the heroine, even though from differing social classes, are perfectly symmetrical.

4. The novels collectively are like a window on life in the middle classes in the era 1790 – 1810. The limitations placed on woman are amazing, and clearly delineated. About the only important decision a young woman of that time could make for herself was to accept or decline a marriage proposal. Of course, marriage was the only “career option” for middle class women. They could not take a job, and young women had nothing to spend their time on except in gossip, and approved crafts such as art, sewing etc. The social snobbery that was taken for granted is interesting. Work was somehow demeaning, and “to be in trade” was to mark one’s low level in the pecking order.

You need to remember that this is all very middle class. Most of our ancestors would have been “working class” who only appear fleetingly in Austen’s novels as “Cook” or “Gardener”.

I hope you enjoy “Emma”


BTW, Pride and Prejudice is the only other decent Austen novel that I have read as well. I really admire Elizabeth Bennet for being as strong willed and as intelligent as she is. She wants to be able to have intelligent discussions with her husband, instead of being a trophy wife. Good for her, I say.!!!

I commented back to Dad about his comments.

I totally agree with your point number 4, about the social snobbery.  It is just disgusting.I wonder of this snobbery influenced those who left England on the Mayflower to find religious freedom?

And he commented back to me.

The social snobbery is just how it was, and continued to a greater or lesser degree until the 1st world war. Everyone, except a few radicals, accepted it as normal. The Mayflower was much earlier than this. By Austen’s time, USA was independent and a serious challenge to England’s domination of the seas. Many of the middle and upper classes owned investments in West Indian sugar plantations, a subject that, together with its darker side – slavery -  pops up in at least one novel, Mansfield Park. Austen is a very accurate social commentator.

And one last comment from me - Mansfield Park is also on my classics club list to read.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reading the SPIN book - Emma by Jane Austen.

There are 55 chapters in Emma. So if I read 5 chapters per day, I should be able to read the whole book in 11 days. This is good, as the deadline is May 15, and that is 5 weeks from today. Plenty of time to read, write and recover.

I did read the first five chapters of Emma today, and made plenty of notes - mostly noting down all the passages that I thought were demeaning towards women or men!!!

Up until today I have not watched any movie or TV series named Emma. Although I have just discovered that the comedy movie CLUELESS is a modern day version of Emma.

I did not like Clueless at all. These teenagers were ditsy and dumb and all they cared about were clothes, makeup and boys.  They were not all blondes - although the leader named Cher was definitely a dumb blonde.

There are 2 movies based on the book called Emma by Jane Austen. Both movies were made in 1996. One was released on TV and other was released in the movie theatres.

The TV movie starred Kate Beckingsale and was filmed in very low lighting. I could not even watch it on Youtube, because it was just so dark!!

The mainstream theatre movie starred Gwyneth Paltrow. This movie was made several years before her Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love.

The Paltrow movie was much nicer in cinematography. Very light both indoors and outdoors.That is all I can say that was good about it. I am only referring to clips seen on Youtube.

But again, I refuse to watch ditsy girls talk of nothing about men and boys and gossiping about their prospects.

All these 18th century girls ever think of, is men and money. They do not wish to marry poor men. They are determined to marry only rich men or men who will inherit money or land.

There is nothing mentioned of feelings or of love.

I have also discovered a recent Mini-Series called Emma made in 2009. This one starred Jonny Lee Miller (from the 1995 movie Hackers) and Romola Garai (whom I have never heard of). I don't plan to be watching this either.

If I were born in 1764 instead of 1964, I guess I would have been considered an old maid by the time I was 25. I actually did not get married until I was 36 years old!!  In the late 1700's that is practically old age, Indeed, some women at age 36, could easily be grandmothers by that age!!!

My father adores Jane Austen's books. I need to ask him why he likes them. And which is his favourite.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spin Book - Emma by Jane Austen

I now have 5 weeks to read EMMA by Jane Austen. (Number 2 on my Spin List)

I will be reading the Project Gutenberg version.

And I think I will also read Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey as well. (Number 8 on my spin list)

I am behind on my book reading for this challenge and I do need to read 2 books per month so this will help.

Lucky SPIN Number

We promised you a spin number this morning, and here it is! Your Spin Number is -


If you joined the game last week, find number 8 on your Spin List! That's the title you are challenged to read by May 15, 2015. We'll toss a post up on May 15 to see who completed the game.

As always, the prize is the reading experience. In case anyone asks -- it would be awesome if everyone posted about their Spin book on May 15. But that's not mandatory or anything. If you want to, though, have at it! :)

Check in below if you played. What's your #2 title? Are you glad, hesitant, excited about your title? Do tell!

So am I challenged to read number 2 or number 8?? 
Number 2 is one of those books I really dont want to read. 
Number 8 is one that I DO want to read. 
Number 2 on my list is Emma by Jane Austen
Number 8 on my list is Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey

Number 8 was chosen for the last spin. 
So these moderators really need to be more careful when CUTTING and PASTING their old posts.