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Inquiring readers, Over a week ago, Chris wrote a post about her blog and her personal journey in pursuing a course of study about Jane Austen, her novels, and the time she lived in. This is her second post about her year-long project.

Over here at ‘Embarking on a Course of Study,‘ I’ve been hard at work on the project. Having finished Sense and Sensibility, I asked people to weigh in on who they felt they were most like, Marianne or Elinor, and who they would like to have as a friend. The results so far are overwhelmingly in Marianne’s favor. If you haven’t posted your comment/vote, please do! I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve begun Mansfield Park again and have re-encountered, as I expected, another heroine I don’t much like (my other has always been Emma – I love her spunk, but she does too much damage). I forgot how dull Fanny is. Not that I think Mary Crawford is as fantastic as Lizzie Bennet, with whom I’ve read her compared. Mary is manipulative and racy. I enjoy how she pushes the limits, but not much more. The dynamics among the characters are the most fascinating for me, as are Austen’s insights and writing, of course.

I’ve been reading the Jane Austen Cookbook as well, to decide on something to contribute to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and have settled on Little Iced Cakes. As you’ll read in my blog, I had to choose something family would actually eat. I do want to make Things With Fun Names like ‘trifle’ and ‘syllabub’ at some point. I was tempted to go for something really foreign to us these days, like the ‘forcemeat balls,’ which would require the purchase (or capture?) of 2-3 pigeons, but just couldn’t wrap my brain around the concept of eating what struts around the streets of Baltimore on a daily basis. If you’d like to join me in the making of this dessert, the recipe is on my blog, along with a link to other recipes from the Jane Austen Cookbook.

If you’re in New York City any time before March 14th, there’s a wonderful new exhibit at The Morgan Library: A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy. Comprised of letters, drawings, films, and lectures, it promises to thrill the Austen lover. If you’d like to see the 15 minute documentary film entitled The Divine Jane, which “examines the influence of Austen’s fiction—and her enduring fame— through interviews with leading writers, scholars, and actors,” go to my blog.

Next week, I’ll post notes from my meeting with Professor Robin Bates at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, who has been teaching a class on Austen for years, asking his students to read the books and poems mentioned in her novels, similar to my plan. I will also update you on my efforts to arrange an English Country Dancing class with an instructor from the Baltimore Folk Music Society. I have 8 ladies interested and am working on the venue. We’re all tremendously excited about learning some dances.

For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!

Chris Stewart

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“But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.”

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen has always had its admirers. I must admit, I am liking the novel more and more. Seen across the ether, are some interesting sites and posts:

  • Mansfield Park by Chris Dornan is a brand new blog. You might also check out his other blog, Peace and Wisdom, in which he writes about Jane’s novels, politics, and Buddhism. Recently his thoughts have turned mostly to Jane.
  • A Reading of Mansfield Park is a compilation of Ellen Moody’s comments about the novel on two listservs and certainly worth a visit.
  • Pemberley Image Gallery offers two graphics of Mansfield Park for its discussion board. One is rather sedate; the other, which sits on page two, is rather out there. Both images represent how people feel about this novel – either you love it or hate it.
  • I’m a little late reading this review of Mansfield Park 2007 on Flick Filosopher. In it the critic likens Fanny Price to a Mary Sue, and she seems to assume that the the film’s portrayal of Fanny is accurate.

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You can download a podcast of Jonathan Bing’s audio interview with Joe Wright, director of Pride and Prejudice 2005, and Donald Sutherland, who played Mr. Bennet (left). Or you can click on the link and simply listen to it from your computer. This podcast is part of the LA Variety Screening Series of 2005.

As an interesting aside, Annie Coleman, a reader for Librivox, offers her recording of Pride and Prejudice on her website. Click here to listen to the book or to download the podcasts, which are free. You can also listen to her other podcasts, such as Anne of Green Gables and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Joe Wright and Keira Knightley

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Our blogs are gearing up in anticipation of PBS’s airing of Emma two weeks from now.

Laurel Ann wrote a wonderful post on Austenprose about Jane Austen, Stella Gibbons, and Kate Beckinsale . Kate fans know that one of her major movie roles early in her career was as Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm. In fact, Flora was Emma’s equal in setting herself up as a matchmaker and putting peoples’ lives to right, and the very young Kate played that part to perfection.

Jane Austen Today published two Emma posts this weekend: one about the darkly handsome Mark Strong, who played Mr. Knightley, and the other on Andrew Davies’ role in writing the script for the A&E version of Emma.

For those who can’t wait to see this movie, which came out just after the theatrical release of Emma directed by Diarmuid Lawrence, you can purchase the DVD at WGBH Shop.

  • Learn more particulars about Emma on IMDb.

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Today, Jane Austen is more popular than ever. Books, movie adaptations, sequels, and audio tapes are flooding the market. Her name is instantly recognizable, and her brand is HOT! Why not translate such fame into political glory?

republic-of-pemberley-flag-and-girl.jpg
Image, Regency Fashions, The Republic of Pemberley

Laurie Viera Rigler, the author of the current bestseller, The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, has been writing a series of informative posts about Jane Austen’s life and novels in conjunction with PBS’s Total Jane Austen. During a recent talk at Whittier Library in California, she discussed the idea of electing Jane Austen for President. According to her, Jane has character, experience, and courage. Her reasoning seems good enough for me:

If we go by the assumption that there is a little bit of the author in each of her characters—well, at least in each of the characters she likes—than who can lead the country better than someone who has the wit and intelligence of Elizabeth Bennet, the diplomacy of Anne Eliot, the prudence and strength of Elinor Dashwood, and the stay-the-course steadfastness of Fanny Price?

To read more of Laurie’s interesting political take, click here. Thank you Laurie, for giving me an alternative candidate. I was straddling the fence until you mentioned Jane.

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