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Tag Archives: Becoming Jane

Talking about the new Pride and Prejudice movie (and Jane mania in general!) has sent me in search of the most interesting sites featuring our favorite author. Here are just a few: (A wonderful site, full of all sorts of fascinating literary doo-dads! My favorite here is the Little Thinkers line of dolls. I don’t have the Austen doll yet–Christmas gift, anyone???–but I do have the Frida Kahlo and Emily Dickinson models) (The Museum of Costume in Bath. They are having an exhibit that runs through the end of the year which features costumes form various Austen films, including the 1995 P&P, both the Paltrow and Beckinsale Emma versions, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. I would dearly love to see this, but I guess I have to be content with the photos!) (The Republic of Pemberly, a great repository of All Things Jane) (The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I went here on my last trip to England, and it’s great fun. I can vouch for the excellence of their gift shop, too!) (The Jane Austen Society. I’ve been a member for many years, though I’ve never had the chance to attend their annual general meeting. Their newsletter and “Persuasions” are great perks) (Jane Austen paperdolls!!!) (The official website for Chawton Cottage) (they have a whole section of Jane products, including a Pride and Prejudice board game that I’m dying to play!)

And more movie info: It seems that in 2006 we will get a film called “Being Jane,” starring Anne Hathaway as Jane (I’m a bit mystified by this, but then again I doubted Keira Knightley until I saw P&P). I couldn’t find a whole lot of info on it, but you can see bit at

These are just a few! Let us know what some of your favorites are.

Mostly videos today, something to put you in the Christmas spirit, and I want to share with you some of my favorite Christmas music.

First, here’s a new favorite, a Winter Solstice piece–thanks to Jane George for directing me to this.

Moving on to something entirely different and not necessarily anything to do with winter or Christmas, and from one of the all time flops of the big screen, a dance scene from Becoming Jane. (It’s the season for parties, after all!) I think this is so brilliantly done because the expressions and gestures tell us so much about the relationships:

But moving a little toward Christmas now, here’s Steeleye Span performing Gaudete (rejoice), a medieval plainchant. I’ve been a fan of this group for, uh, a very long time:

What would Christmas be without the Messiah? I always try to get to a live performance although I think this year I’m not going to make one. I’m torn between the Messiah performing style I grew up with, featuring a huge local choir, and the original instrument/performance practice approach I now prefer. So here’s Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge (all boys club!) a reconstruction of the 1752 version.

And now it’s time to make you cry. First, John McCutcheon, Christmas in the Trenches. (It’s all true!) Listen to what he says at the beginning about this “story that needs to be told 365 days a year”–and may all our loved ones come home safely.

Finally, what for me is the ultimate tearjerker, the December 24 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge again–this is the beginning of the 2010 service. It always starts with the treble solo singing Once in Royal David’s City, and is broadcast live worldwide. Check out American Public Radio for the time in your area. There’s a wonderful shot of the vaulted ceiling and windows of the Chapel at about 1:20 in.

Hope you like these. What are your Christmas sounds?

Happy holidays, everyone.

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I asked my friend, author, and Pemberley co-founder Myretta Robens what she thought of the movie Becoming Jane and she sent me the following rant (see how I cleverly avoided having to think of fresh writing myself?). But before she starts, let me say we both recognize the importance of seeing something before judging it. She does admit, however, she went in with more of a closed mind than she would’ve liked.

Myretta Speaks:
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Becoming Jane is just wrong. Okay, I realize that for the regular movie-goer, this is probably a nicely filmed, affecting story. But for someone who is deeply and passionately interested in Jane Austen, it’s just wrong! And here’s why:

Location – Ireland is NOT England and the parts used for this film didn’t look at all like the bits of England they purported to be. And…Godmersham by the Sea? What the heck was that? Although Godmersham (one of the homes of Jane’s brother, Edward Austen Knight) is in Kent, and Kent has some coast, Godmersham is, most emphatically, not near it.

Anachronism – Steel nibbed pens. That’s all I’m saying.

Historical inaccuracies – This is a big one. Almost none of this story ever happened. Yes, Jane Austen met and flirted with Tom Lefroy for a couple of weeks in 1795-6. There is nothing to indicate that she ever did most of the other things depicted in the movie. And that last scene was totally impossible. I could go on and on about these inaccuracies in serious detail, but you probably don’t want to hear it.

The gravest problem of all is the implication on which the film is based: That Jane Austen was a frustrated and mediocre writer until a man entered her life, introduced her to Tom Jones and taught her love. And the idea that some of her most sparkling prose was cribbed from other
people’s ideas. The premises of this film denigrate the genius and originality of Jane Austen. I am outraged on her behalf and on behalf of other women writers who are fully capable of telling their own stories.

End of Rant; Beginning of Q&A Period:

Thanks, Myretta! Have you seen the movie? What did you think? And what do you think in general of historical fictionalized accounts of something that may or may not have happened?

I found out some exciting news last week–my Avon book, The Rules of Gentility, is being released a month early, in August.
(Another excuse to post my gorgeous cover!) So I’ll be a beach read! (OK, that’s my quota of exclamation points used up.)

But there’s a reason, and lest you think I’m going to talk entirely about myself, here’s why: Becoming Jane opens in the US August 3, and the publishers want to take advantage of the Jane-mania that will accompany the movie.

Becoming Jane has just opened in England and in case you haven’t heard about it, it’s a very fictional account of Jane’s formative years and her short-lived engagement to Tom Lefroy. Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy star in a cast that includes Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, and Ian Richardson. The reviews I’ve read indicate that it’s a gorgeous movie–shot on location in Ireland–but with a rather weak story line.

Find out more at Becoming Jane’s official website and there’s also some interesting info at the (with less fancy downloads and some reviews).

Of course we’ll all rush to see this movie, but tell me what you think of the casting (here’s James McAvoy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!). And do you think the storyline is too inevitable to justify two hours worth of film, however gorgeous? Who would you have chosen to play Jane Austen?

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