This Blog Post Is Emma Approved

August 6, 2013

Fans of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will be excited to hear that creator Bernie Su is launching the next Austen-based web series, and it’s going to be based on Emma.

For Austen fans who haven’t seen the wildly popular webseries, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice told entirely through social media. In this adaptation, Lizzie is a 24-year-old grad student who hosts a web blog, filmed by her best friend Charlotte Lu, in which she dishes about her crazy mother who wants to marry her daughters off, her older sister Jane’s new boyfriend, Bing Lee, and Bing’s snooty hipster friend, Darcy, that she just can’t stand. But is Darcy really a snob, or is he just socially awkward? Each character has a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Tumblr, and even a Pinterest page. The biggest surprise of the series is the treatment of younger sister Lydia, who is usually portrayed as an airhead. In this version, she starts off as a party girl, but ends up being a very thought provoking, three-dimensional character. If you don’t like the idea of watching a show on the internet, keep an eye out for the DVD coming out soon.

According to Tubefilter, the new adaptation of Emma features Emma Woodhouse as a “confident and proud female entrepreneur who, like the literary version, will believe she is an excellent matchmaker.” Get ready to start following, because she already has a Twitter account, just waiting for the big launch this fall.


Read a little Austen in celebration of the bicentennial of "Pride and Prejudice"

January 29, 2013

Jane AustenYesterday, January 28th, marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. Why not spend a little time reading it?

As one might expect on such an occasion, attention must paid to this fine author, perhaps one of the best and most loved worldwide. On Monday’s “Fresh Air,” host Terry Gross re-ran critic Maureen Corrigan’s January 24th commentary on Pride and Prejudice at 200. Featured in Corrigan’s homage is a review of one of the latest in a slew of critiques and biographies that have been released as part of the celebration. Paula Bynre’s offering, The Real Jane Austen, caught Corrigan’s attention because it allows the reader into Austen’s 18th century life by taking careful real jane austennote of the personal possessions and household goods she owned, such as her childhood poetry notebooks, topaz jewelry, and an exotic East Indian shawl.

For many Austen fans, no special anniversary is needed to get them reading. I know a few who keep a copy at their bedside and on sleepless nights, open the book to almost any page and immerse themselves again in the world of Regency England and the family of the Bennet girls.

Barbara L.

Darling Darcy Never Dies

July 19, 2011

In the minds and hearts of many 21st century authors, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is very much alive and has a lot more story to tell. What would Jane think? I posed that question, hypothetically, of course, since Miss Austen is long deceased, when I became of aware of all the novels and at least one made-for-TV film (Lost in Austen) being produced that feature a romantic leading man named Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, that most eligible bachelor from Pride and Prejudice. Most of the stories take us beyond the original story to imagine a life after his happy marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Some offer a back story of his life before even meeting her.  Do a simple keyword search on “Darcy” in the library’s online catalog and narrow the topic to ficticious character, and the resulting hit list is five pages long! There are even more choices  when you include Elizabeth Bennet in your search, but in my very unscientific tally, Darcy trumps Elizabeth as prime character in these derived stories.

So would our gentle author, Miss Austen, approve? Tough question. With her finely developed sense of irony and her generally sharp sense of humor, I think she’d get a kick out of all the permutations of her male leading character, though a few of the cheesier ones, especially those that portray him as a bodice ripper might elicit a gasp and some eye-rolling. If you disagree, I’d love to hear why.

If your pulse still quickens at the thought of the haughty but oh-so-handsome gentleman in well-fitting breeches, you are not alone. And, lucky you, if your fantasy image needs some bolstering, there are more ways to get to know Darling Darcy.

[Pictured Darcys in descending order: Colin Firth, Matthew MacFayden, Elliot Cowan]

-Barbara L.

Pride and Prejudice and Editors

October 27, 2010

As painful as it may be for some devotees of Jane Austen to acknowledge, everything did not, as her brother Henry claimed, come finished from her pen. Researcher Kathryn Sutherland at Oxford University has been studying a treasure trove of the original handwritten mansucripts, and has discovered a fair amount of discrepancies between the manuscripts and the printed books.  Atrocious spelling errors and grammar goofs abound, and punctuation is practically non-existant, leading Sutherland to the conclusion that a very good editor used a deft hand in whipping things into shape. NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly presents the full story in her interview with Professor Sutherland on today’s broadcast of Morning Edition.

Barbara L., Reader’s Services

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