I had a WHOLLY different blog post planned for today – then a friend with whom I was discussing “Black Friday”, and asking if there WAS such a thing in the U.K. (in the U.S. it designates the Friday after Thanksgiving — when most people, having the day off, would “begin” Christmas shopping), sent me notice of 20% off at the Jane Austen Giftshop (Bath).
But MORE IMPORTANTLY is this hook for the weekend of a FREE gift with a purchase over £10:
A Mr Darcy keyring!
Sunday, 9 February – Instead of Luge…
….. Lost in Austen (2008)
Perhaps the “original” Austen-Next-Gen, Lost in Austen created such buzz that many of us in the US quickly sought it out on YouTube. Girls just gotta have fun… As “Mr Darcy” (Elliot Cowen, above) takes a dip to indulge a lady (Jemima Rooper). Must admit, if I remember correctly, I rather liked Darcy in modern London even better than Amanda back in Regency England. Time to tune in again, and see if it stands up. If you want a more-serious follow-up, read Laurie Kaplan’s “Lost in Austen and Generation-Y Janeites” in Persuasions On-line (2010). And (by the way) Elizabeth Bennet is played by St Trinian’s “head girl” Gemma Arterton.
Seen it? Find it a Winner/Loser?
Gold – Silver – Bronze?
Bored with sports? Want a “Mr Darcy” fix — here’s some suggested antidotes:
Saturday, 8 February – Instead of Men’s Sprint…
…. St Trinian’s (2007)
Campy, fun, cheery, irreverent. Watched this tonight and rather enjoyed it. LOTS of familiar faces from several “Jane Austen” films… And it started the ball rolling on this series of blog posts by having TWO Mr Darcy’s! The “original” (Colin Firth, above) and a little chap whom Miss Fritton (Rupert Everett) can’t quite control.
Watched it? Find it a Winner/Loser?
Gold – Silver – Bronze?
Kooky? Hideous? HUGE!
Colin Firth’s “wet shirt Mr Darcy” advertises a new (free!) UK digital Channel, “DRAMA”. Read the drama behind the story:
USA Today (home of the above photo)
- Moviefone features HuffPost video
- The Guardian features the “original” P&P scene
- The L.A. Times reasons it “another reason to move to England”
According to his daughter, Mary Augusta Austen Leigh, it wasn’t until the end of 1814 that James Edward Austen was “admitted to the knowledge of a well-kept secret, this being that his Aunt Jane had lately published two books, though he had read these books with a keen enjoyment.”
The two books, of course, were Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Pride and Prejudice (1813). The latter first saw the light of day TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO TODAY (28 January).
Many in the family traded poems, and Edward composed this one after finally being let in on the “secret” of Jane Austen’s authorship:
To Miss J. Austen
No words can express, my dear Aunt, my surprise
Or make you conceive how I opened my eyes,
Like a pig Butcher Pile has just struck with his knife,
When I heard for the very first time in my life
That I had the honour to have a relation
Whose works were dispersed throughout the whole of the nation.
And though Mr. Collins, so grateful for all,
Will Lady de Bourgh his dear Patroness call,
‘Tis to your ingenuity he really owed
His living, his wife, and his humble abode.
Cheers! to the author who invented Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy of Pemberley, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, my dear Charlotte Lucas, and of course the sisters Bennet and their relation the Reverend Mr Collins.
I could resist no longer. Although I may never have the time to devote to my Pinterest boards as I might wish, I’ve begun! So, if you too are on Pinterest, please follow me and I’ll follow you. There’s a lot of boards dedicated to Jane Austen; to films; to books; to Regency fashions. I’ve only found the tip of the Austen Iceberg, I’m sure.
And what made me finally take the plunge?
The following made me chuckle – How True, How True:
Then this one made me LAUGH OUT LOUD:
(I, too, have no children… and because my work colleagues have youngsters, I think I now know why Austen called Pride & Prejudice her own darling child => manuscripts clamber for attention and time, just as children do. Only people easily dismiss your work and dedication.)
Although the boards have only been up since last evening – and are hardly “filled”, this little image (one among so many along the same lines; how DID this type of “poster” begin its life???) has been a hit, getting likes and repins. It perfectly illustrates how I wish my life — as a wish to live by my research takes hold more and more (but the bank account has other ideas!) — could be:
Sprinkle the magic words “Mr Darcy” in marketing campaigns today – and you’ve a probable “hit” on your hands. A War of 1812 bicentennial celebration in Spencerville, Ontario (Canada), invites “Regency Dress” enthusiasts to help break a Guinness Record.
Music and crafts highlight a weekend of historic tours, 1812 “elections”, cricket, antiques appraisals; English Country Dancing is also on the slate of activities.
Many other links for War of 1812 enthusiasts throughout the region.
So, to get back to the book I’ve been reading: Priviledge and Scandal, by Janet Gleeson tells the life story of Harriet Spencer, later Countess Bessborough. I remember when the book first came out (2006 in the US), and one reviewer was quite negative, calling it a rehash of Amanda Foreman’s biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire mainly because (since they were sisters) it covered much of the same territory. Poor Harriet; and poor Janet Gleeson. It is a very decent read; evidently quite what I am in the mood for, at present.
It helps that the time period is well in the period in which the Smiths (in general) lived and which I am writing about — the more I read, the more some small puzzle piece sometimes clicks into place.
Anyway, I was struck, reading about Granville Leveson Gower (Harriet’s lover, by whom she had two children) and also of his friendship with Henry Richard Vassell Fox, 3rd Lord Holland (nephew of Charles James Fox). Curious, I do wonder how much Jane Austen might have come across concerning either man, for their early friendship, as Gleeson tells of it, so reminds me of Darcy-Bingley.
I mentioned this in my earlier post, a little teaser. Read that one to get an idea of why I immediately thought “DARCY” when first encountering this description of how people sometimes thought him haughty.
And it’s also the description of his new-formed “Grand Tour” friendship with Holland that struck me. Read this description: “Holland had not until now numbered Granville among his close friends — Granville’s hauteur was alien to Holland’s outgoing ebullience. But being onboard ship for three months had smoothed Granville’s affectations and perhaps too make Holland less choosy about the company he kept. ‘I think Leveson much improved both in intellect manner etc., and has lost that reserve which however laudable and prudent always prevents my liking a man much — I fancy my reason for not liking in this instance … must originate from self love and that I cannot much esteem …’.”
So Leveson Gower got better upon acquaintance! Just like Darcy.
Now how much, and what type of information, Jane Austen might have heard about the man — men, if I include Lord Holland, which in his amiability rather reminded me of Mr Bingley, I perhaps can never say. A bit of a coincidence? Or, did some little news tidbit or gossip once plant the seed for this seemingly unusual friendship between two “opposites”? Inspiration does come out of the blue sometimes…, and takes on consequences of its own, far outshining the original thought.
updated 6/26/11: Am reminded: From the mouth of Jane Austen, when asked if she had portrayed an individual: “she expressed a very great dread of what she called an ‘invasion of social proprieties.’ She said she thought it fair to note peculiarities, weaknesses and even special phrases but it was her desire to create not to reproduce ….” (See Deirdre le Faye Jane Austen : A Family Record p233)
Am reading a biography published five years ago and just purchased used for $5; to give the title would be to give away my little game.
Within the illustration section is a portrait of a quite handsome man; I’ve read of him before; seen the portrait before. But this author had this to say about him mid-way in this biography (of quite another person):
“His manners were perfectly polished and he had an air of distinction about him that some thought bordered on hautiness and others attributed to shyness. As one later acquaintance described him, he was ‘…one of those men who, once seen, leave an impression on the memory…’.” The author later tells us that “as his mother’s only son … he had been much cosseted and lavished with praise.”
While on “The Grand Tour”, he encounters a compatriot who was “Friendly, jovial, and unaffected”; the one is now described as displaying a “hauteur” while the new friend is said to have an “outgoing ebullience”.
Now I would be the FIRST to say that Jane Austen’s characters were not modelled on, nor meant to represent, any given person — yet an author can’t help but be influenced by people met or read about, seen or gossiped about. An author takes away some little something — a trait, a look, a quirk, a tale — and adds that to the pot to create something wholly original.
But don’t these lines rather describe Darcy and Bingley? A tantalizing thought — even if untrue! More later.
Just watched 60 Minutes. Wonderful to see Colin Firth (AKA Mr. Darcy to many, many Austen fans…) called a successful actor about whom little is known; and wonderful to see him walking around Hampshire (I think I recognized a bit of street in one segment…).
But my main reason for this post is to talk about the TERRIFIC “FIND” — a cache of letters and diaries in the attic (where else…) of the speech therapist’s former home; his grandson unearthed the items when searching for photographs. The film crew had asked for photos, hoping to find some costume ideas — but they got more than they bargained for when the response came back I’ve got photographs, and a lot more.
I’ve not had the opportunity to delve deep into 60 Minutes Overtime (with more information on the letters and diaries). The same link will give you video (if you missed it) of Colin Firth and his visit to Hampshire.
P.S. Writer David Seidler has an interesting tale to tell too. See it at Boston Globe.