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Miss Austen Regrets

19 Dec

I recently watched Miss Austen Regrets and absolutely loved it. Olivia Williams, who I am sorry to say I had only seen in An Education before this film, played Jane Austen, and she did so superbly.

Based on her life and letters, this movie tells the story of Jane Austen’s last years. While writing and searching for a publisher for her next novel, she also helps her niece, Fanny Knight (played by Imogen Poots), examine potential husbands. This leads her to reflect on her own choice to remain unmarried and the consequences—both good and bad—that has brought.

This movie also brings to life the close relationship and friendship between Jane and her sister Cassandra (played by the splendid Greta Scacchi), which was a joy to see onscreen. Here’s the trailer so you can get a glimpse of this wonderful movie for yourself:

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Happy Birthday Jane Austen

16 Dec

Today marks Jane Austen’s 235th birthday. In honor of her birth, Google UK created this beautiful temporary header for their homepage. I wouldn’t mind if this Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet art was a regular part of their site. Happy Birthday Miss Austen!

Fantastic Font

23 Nov

I simply love this font! As a devoted Jane Austen fan, how could I not?


And check out the numbers:

The best part is you can download it for free right here. Enjoy!

Jane Austen’s manuscripts

3 Nov

There’s just something magical about seeing an original. It could be a painting, classic car, monument, place, or, in this case, handwritten manuscripts by one of the world’s most well-known British novelists. And while these aren’t originals per se, they’re the closest thing Austen fans on this side of the pond are likely going to see without hopping on a plane. This particular image is taken from a page of Jane Austen’s manuscript for Persuasion, which happens to be my second favorite Austen novel behind Sense and Sensibility. (You can go here to tell what the text says more clearly.)

What’s interesting about the manuscripts is that they suggest Austen required heavy editing, which goes against what Austen’s brother Henry always said, “Everything came finished from her pen.” Apparently not. Oxford University Professor Kathryn Sutherland has studied more than 1,000 original handwritten pages of Austen’s novels, and she’s found some significant differences between these handwritten pages and the finished published works—namely that the manuscripts contained misspelled words, bad grammar, and minimal punctuation. Sutherland was interviewed on NPR about her work. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript here.

While these may show that Jane Austen wasn’t the infallible writer that history has made her out to be, she was, without a doubt, an exceptional writer with a gift for creating wonderful, timeless stories. As a book editor myself, I can attest that any manuscript, no matter how brilliant the writer, always, always contains mistakes, has omissions, and requires revisions and corrections to be made. It’s simply impossible to make sure everything is 100% perfect when the deadline comes around, and it’s why so many editors and copy editors read it before it goes to press. I for one love seeing the scratch outs. It reveals the lightbulb moments writers get when they discover a better word or phrase to make their work even better. It also shows that every writer, even great ones like Jane Austen, needs a good editor.

You can read about my experience visiting Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, England here.

Another New Drawing

31 Aug

Here is a new drawing inspired by Jane Austen and England in the early 19th century. I love this time period for myriad reasons so you’ll definitely be seeing more drawings in this theme. (A print of this drawing is currently available in my shop.)

Confidantes

Jane Austen

27 Jul

I’m pretty nuts for Jane Austen. I have multiple copies of all of her novels plus a fairly large assortment of Austen-related books. I just discovered these paperback editions from Penguin Red Classics printed in 2006. They sure are gorgeous to look at. (All images from Amazon.com)