Re-blogging this from Julie at Austenonly – all about celebrating Jane Austen in Worthing…with thanks to Janet Clark and Julie!
A big thank you to Julie at Austenonly for blogging about this. And do visit the link to Harrington’s other Austen materials – a treasure-trove for the Austen-collector…
Well, this should be a “Follow Friday” but it’s already Saturday, so hopefully no one notices….
Please visit Austenonly for this ‘absolutely fabulous’ post: Austen Attired: Marvellous Costume Exhibit at the Magnificent Peckover House where Julie shares pictures of the costumes from various Austen TV and film adaptations currently on exhibit at the Peckover House in Wisbech. For those of us unable to visit, we can be most grateful to Julie for this birdseye view of the many costumes, and to the National Trust for giving her permission to take the pictures. A catalogue of the exhibition would be most welcome!
[wedding attire of Marianne and Colonel Brandon in S&S]
from the Austenonly website: visit to see close-up details of these and many more fashions on display.
A post to merely to remind you that the exhibition at the Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum on Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art, and Landscape Design will be there only until August 29, 2010:
Scenic vistas, winding paths, bucolic meadows, and rustic retreats suitable for solitary contemplation are just a few of the alluring naturalistic features of gardens created in the Romantic spirit. Landscape designers of the Romantic era sought to express the inherent beauty of nature in opposition to the strictly symmetrical, formal gardens favored by aristocrats of the old regime.The Romantics looked to nature as a liberating force, a source of sensual pleasure, moral instruction, religious insight, and artistic inspiration. Eloquent exponents of these ideals, they extolled the mystical powers of nature and argued for more sympathetic styles of garden design in books, manuscripts, and drawings, now regarded as core documents of the Romantic Movement. Their cult of inner beauty and their view of the outside world dominated European thought during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Jane Austen, as her brother Henry Austen writes in his Biographical Notice [included in the Northanger Abbey and Persuasion edition of 1819]:
“was a warm and judicious admirer of landscape, both in nature and on canvass. At a very early age she was enamoured of Gilpin on the Picturesque; and she seldom changed her opinions either on books or men.”
And so just how did Austen express her opinions on these matters?
From Northanger Abbey, ch. 14:
They were viewing the country with the eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing — nothing of taste… she confessed and lamented her want of knowledge, declared that she would give anything in the world to be able to draw; and a lecture on the picturesque immediately followed, in which his instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in everything admired by him, and her attention was so earnest that he became perfectly satisfied of her having a great deal of natural taste. He talked of foregrounds, distances, and second distances — side–screens and perspectives — lights and shades; and Catherine was so hopeful a scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff, she voluntarily rejected the whole city of Bath as unworthy to make part of a landscape. Delighted with her progress, and fearful of wearying her with too much wisdom at once, Henry suffered the subject to decline, and by an easy transition from a piece of rocky fragment and the withered oak which he had placed near its summit, to oaks in general, to forests, the enclosure of them, waste lands, crown lands and government, he shortly found himself arrived at politics; and from politics, it was an easy step to silence….
[The lovely watercolor of Henry, Miss Tilney and Catherine is from Jane Odiwe’s post on Beechen Cliff ]
Edward Ferrars in Sense & Sensibility, ch. 18:
“You must not inquire too far, Marianne — remember, I have no knowledge in the picturesque, and I shall offend you by my ignorance and want of taste, if we come to particulars. I shall call hills steep, which ought to be bold! surfaces strange and uncouth, which ought to be irregular and rugged; and distant objects out of sight, which ought only to be indistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere. You must be satisfied with such admiration as I can honestly give. I call it a very fine country — the hills are steep, the woods seem full of fine timber, and the valley looks comfortable and snug — with rich meadows and several neat farm houses scattered here and there. It exactly answers my idea of a fine country, because it unites beauty with utility — and I dare say it is a picturesque one too, because you admire it; I can easily believe it to be full of rocks and promontories, grey moss and brush wood, but these are all lost on me. I know nothing of the picturesque.” … I like a fine prospect, but not on picturesque principles. I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight and flourishing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages. I am not fond of nettles, or thistles, or heath blossoms. I have more pleasure in a snug farm-house than a watch-tower — and a troop of tidy, happy villagers please me better than the finest banditti in the world.”
[I love this passage from Sense & Sensibility. Edward is bantering with Marianne, and one sees here a relaxed and humorous Edward – he is comfortable with Marianne and so much more himself – he is more stilted and uncomfortable with Elinor because of the feelings he has for her – this passage has always given me hope of the real Edward when the obstacle of Lucy is removed from the equation – and thankfully she is!]…
And let’s not leave out Mr. Rushworth and his efforts to “improve” Sotherton! Mansfield Park, ch. 6: [image from Molland’s]
He [Mr. Rushworth] had been visiting a friend in the neighbouring county, and that friend having recently had his grounds laid out by an improver, Mr. Rushworth was returned with his head full of the subject, and very eager to be improving his own place in the same way; and though not saying much to the purpose, could talk of nothing else. The subject had been already handled in the drawing–room; it was revived in the dining–parlour…
“I wish you could see Compton,” said he; “it is the most complete thing! I never saw a place so altered in my life. I told Smith I did not know where I was. The approach now, is one of the finest things in the country: you see the house in the most surprising manner. I declare, when I got back to Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison— quite a dismal old prison.”
“Oh, for shame!” cried Mrs. Norris. “A prison indeed? Sotherton Court is the noblest old place in the world.”
“It wants improvement, ma’am, beyond anything. I never saw a place that wanted so much improvement in my life; and it is so forlorn that I do not know what can be done with it…I must try to do something with it,” said Mr. Rushworth, “but I do not know what. I hope I shall have some good friend to help me.”
“Your best friend upon such an occasion,” said Miss Bertram calmly, “would be Mr. Repton, I imagine.”
“That is what I was thinking of. As he has done so well by Smith, I think I had better have him at once. His terms are five guineas a day.” …
After a short interruption Mr. Rushworth began again. “Smith’s place is the admiration of all the country; and it was a mere nothing before Repton took it in hand. I think I shall have Repton.”
“Mr. Rushworth,” said Lady Bertram, “if I were you, I would have a very pretty shrubbery. One likes to get out into a shrubbery in fine weather.” …
… Mr. Rushworth, however, though not usually a great talker, had still more to say on the subject next his heart. “Smith has not much above a hundred acres altogether in his grounds, which is little enough, and makes it more surprising that the place can have been so improved. Now, at Sotherton we have a good seven hundred, without reckoning the water meadows; so that I think, if so much could be done at Compton, we need not despair. There have been two or three fine old trees cut down, that grew too near the house, and it opens the prospect amazingly, which makes me think that Repton, or anybody of that sort, would certainly have the avenue at Sotherton down: the avenue that leads from the west front to the top of the hill, you know,”
Fanny, who was sitting on the other side of Edmund, exactly opposite Miss Crawford, and who had been attentively listening, now looked at him, and said in a low voice—
“Cut down an avenue! What a pity! Does it not make you think of Cowper? ‘Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.’”
He smiled as he answered, “I am afraid the avenue stands a bad chance, Fanny.”
[Humphry Repton, from Wikipedia]
The exhibit at the Morgan includes two of Humphry Repton’s Red Books. Repton [1752-1818] was the leading landscape architect of his day, as Mr. Rushworth so notes – his Red Books were the compilations of his observations in words and watercolors of his landscape plans for a client’s property, and included the use of overlays for a before-and-after scenario. – The Morgan has made available an online page-by-page view of two of these books: The Hatchlands and Ferney Hall.
and a view of Hatchlands Park today [Ferney Hall was replaced in 1856 with a Victorian mansion and has recently been restored]
Gilpin first introduced the term “picturesque” 1782 in his Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, etc. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; made in the Summer of the Year 1770, a book that outlined for travelers in England a way to view the beauties of the country based on his rules of the picturesque. Austen was very familiar with Gilpin’s writings – as seen above, both Henry Tilney and Edward Ferrars comment on and satirize his theories. And the trip taken by the Gardiners and Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice closely follows a travelogue set forth by Gilpin, and so to Elizabeth relies on Gilpin to escape a walk with Mr. Darcy and the Bingley sisters:
But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered, —
“No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye.”
[Pride & Prejudice, ch. 10]
Further Reading: [all Google Books sources are full-text]
The two must-have books for your Austen Library on Jane Austen and the landscape:
Mavis Batey. Jane Austen and the English Landscape. London: Barn Elms, 1996 – absolutely lovely!
- The Art of Landscape Gardening. 1907 reprint by Houghton Mifflin
- The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, Esq. Being His Entire Works On These Subjects. A New Edition by J.C. Loudon. London, 1840.
- Repton’s Regency Landscapes at Jane Austen’s World blog
- Humphrey Repton at Wikipedia with links
William Gilpin and the “Picturesque”:
- Austenonly post: “Enamoured of the Picturesque at a Very Early Age”: William Gilpin and Jane Austen
- Observations on the River Wye, 1789 edition
- Three essays: On Picturesque Beauty; On Picturesque Travel; and On Sketching Landscape. 1794 edition
- Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, made in the year 1772 on several parts of England. 3rd edition, 1792.
- William Gilpin at Wikipedia with links
- The Picturesque at Wikipedia with various links
[Posted by Deb]
Since I am flunking blogging this week, I will just share some links that I have seen or heard about in the past week “all things Austen” of course with a few others thrown in for interest:
An article at Salon.com by Laura Miller: The battle for Jane Austen: Great novelist, chick-lit pioneer, vampire. Will the real Miss Austen please stand up? [are YOU sick of zombies and sea-monsters and vampires?] [and thanks to Ellen M for the link]
Penguin Classics On Air has interviews with Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre, and the Austen scholar Juliette Wells, who speaks on the Brontes, their contribution to literature, and her love of teaching the writings of the Victorian era.
Visit the Austenonly blog and scroll down through the almost daily posting on Emma in celebration of the new Masterpiece Classic’s BBC Emma to be shown FINALLY in the US starting tomorrow night [Sunday January 24, 2010] and then see of course…
The Masterpiece Classic Emma site which offers previews, reviews, background story, cast bios, and online viewings of the film [which will debut Monday the 25th]. Masterpiece will also be hosting a wild and crazy “Twitter Party” on Sunday night during the show- click here for more information on how to participate [reason enough to finally register yourself on Twitter and join the “tweeting” world at last!]
JASNA-NY co-sponsored the Morgan Library Masterpiece Emma event this past Wednesday night. There are three videos from this evening’s events now on YouTube for your viewing pleasure [with thanks to Janeite Kerri from JASNA-NY for the tip and links!]:
the Morgan Library curators Declan Kiely and Clara Drummond on Austen’s letters in the exhibition:
and Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Masterpiece Classic on Emma:
And Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times weighs in on this latest Emma – see her review “It’s Still Mostly Sunny at Hartfield”.
[Posted by Deb]
There are a few Austen-related happenings in Vermont coming up, so mark your calendars:
AUSTEN: PAGE & FILM
Wednesdays, 4:05-7:05pm, January 20, 2010 – May 4, 2010
University of Vermont Continuing Education: Spring 2010
After nearly two centuries in print, Jane Austen’s works continue to enthrall us, whether in their original form or in the numerous television and film adaptations created since 1938. This course examines the role Austen played during her own time as well as the role she continues to play within our contemporary cultural imagination by analyzing four of Austen’s novels (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma) and by viewing faithful adaptations, reinterpretations and modernizations of each novel. We begin by placing each novel within its social and historical context, by defining themes that may help explain Austen’s modern appeal, and by creating our own vision of the action and characters. We then turn to the adaptations and investigate the historical moment of production, analyze changes to script and character, and read several essays that raise questions about how prose fiction differs from film in an attempt to understand the screenwriter’s choices and our current love of anything Austen. Course requirements include lively participation, a presentation, reading quizzes, various response assignments, and a final essay.
Register today at http://www.uvm.edu/~learn/ or contact UVM Continuing Education at: 800-639-3210 or 802-656-2085
[NOTE: Vermont residents 65+ call and ask how you can enroll in this course for FREE!]
This would be great to take – but alas! who has the time OR the money! [maybe next year…?]
2. Learn to Dance:
English Country Dance Classes in Richmond, VT
Learn about and enjoy Jane Austen’s favorite social pastime!
What is English Country Dance? It’s a social dance form with roots in 15th century England and France, was extremely popular in Jane Austen’s time, and continues to be widely enjoyed today. Some of the dances are old, from the 17th and 18th centuries, and some are modern compositions, and are danced to a wide variety of beautiful music. The dance movements are easy to learn: if you can walk, you can do English Country Dancing! You get to dance with lots of people, but you don’t need to bring a partner. ECD is a great way to get mild exercise, meet friendly people, enjoy beautiful dance forms, and express your inner joy (and get out on a cold winter evening)!
4 Tuesday Night Classes in 2010: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
January 12 & 19 ~ Teaching by Val Medve
January 26 & February 2 ~ Teaching by Judy Chaves
Richmond Free Library, 201 Bridge Street, Richmond, VT
Voluntary donation to defray cost of heat & electricity ($2 per class suggested)
For adults & teens. Come with or without a partner; we’ll change partners throughout the evening. Dress comfortably and bring clean, flat-heeled shoes with smooth soles (avoid sneakers & mules). Recorded music. All dances taught and walked through.
No sign-up or registration required. Just show up and join us for some fun evenings!
Visit the website for contact information: Burlington Country Dancers
3. A Weekend retreat:
[just use your imagination and add a little snow!]
Jane Austen Weekend: Pride and Prejudice
The Governor’s House in Hyde Park
Friday to Sunday, January 8 – 10, 2010
802-888-6888, tollfree 866-800-6888 or info@OneHundredMain.com
A leisurely weekend of literary-inspired diversions has something for every Jane Austen devoteé. Slip quietly back into Regency England in a beautiful old mansion. Take afternoon tea. Listen to Mozart. Bring your needlework. Share your thoughts at a discussion of Pride and Prejudice and how the movies stand up to the book. Attend the talk entitled The World of Jane Austen, where JASNA-Vermont’s very own Kelly McDonald will be speaking on “The Naive Art of Georgiana Darcy.” Test your knowledge of Pride and Prejudice and the Regency period and possibly take home a prize. Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride. For the gentleman there are riding and fly fishing as well as lots of more modern diversions if a whole weekend of Jane is not his cup of tea. Join every activity or simply indulge yourself quietly all weekend watching the movies. Dress in whichever century suits you. It’s not Bath, but it is Hyde Park and you’ll love Vermont circa 1800.
Jane Austen Tea at Governor’s House in Hyde Park
Saturday, January 9, 2010 – 3:00 p.m $14.00
802-888-6888 [Advance reservations required]
Part of the Jane Austen weekend at The Governor’s House, the afternoon tea is open to the public. Although this is English afternoon tea made popular in the Victorian Era with scones and clotted cream, finger sandwiches and tea cakes, there will be readings and discussion of the tea that Jane Austen would have enjoyed during the Regency.
4. Austen sightings:
This has been making its way about the blogsphere, the news, listservs, etc – but there are only a few days left to hear this Jane Austen podcast on BB4 Radio: – catch it before it is too late…
Jane Austen collected songs all her life but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants. Jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs Austen’s favourite songs, with new piano and clarinet accompaniment by David Owen Norris. At Austen’s house in Chawton, Hampshire, scholars and biographers discuss how they cast a new light on one of our best-loved writers.
[Image and text from BBC Radio website ]- the scholars are Deirdre LeFaye and Richard Jenkyns. Visit soon as it is only available for a few more days; or you can download the podcast to your ipod until January 15th…]
A Talking Jane
Another item clogging the airwaves of late, Janeite Bonnie alerting me to this several weeks ago [and I confess it fell through the holiday cracks… there have been many such fallings by the wayside..] – is a YouTube video of Jane Austen reading aloud her own letter to the Revd. James Stanier Clarke, the Prince Regent’s Librarian, who notoriously wrote to Austen suggesting a topic for her next book [“…to delineate in some future Work the Habits of Life and Character and enthusiasm of a Clergyman – who should pass his time between the metropolis & the Country…” – did he not perhaps like Mr. Collins??] – her response? – listen [though another confession – I hate these things with movable lips, like the babies in commercials who talk like adults – they give me the creeps – but it is Austen, after all, or at least the bonneted, bug-eyed, full-lipped Victorianized version of Dear Jane, babbling away – so enjoy [I also think she sounds like she is a priggish 85 years old, rather than a mere 40…but I am getting a tad snarky now… so just listen for yourself and I will shut-up.] The letter, if you want to follow along is in the LeFaye edition, No. 138(D), dated April 1, 1816. I think this cured him of wanting to be her editor – she never heard from him again… or at least there is nothing extant…
Austen Blogs abuzz
There is a new Austen blog [since October!], Austenonly, penned by the author of the lovely My English Country Garden blog – she adds much to the Austen blogging community with almost daily postings about Austen’s world, filled with luscious illustrations and insightful commentary. Plan to visit every day – you will be glad you did!
And speaking of Austen blogs, Laurel Ann at Austenprose has posted a list of her favorite books of 2009 [those she has read of course!] – many titles to add to your TBR pile, along with her wonderful reviews!
Vic at Jane Austen’s World Blog has done what I have so far failed to do [another tumbling into the now pot-hole sized cracks…] – pen her take on the Austen exhibit at the Morgan she was fortunate enough to visit. She has some wonderful thoughts and pictures, so follow her along as she treks through the letters on display. I promise to post my thoughts soon – if I can remember them.
This in from Janeite Marti: [she was watching a holiday show on Lifetime and has this to say:]
Around Christmas I was watching a made for TV movie because it had Kristin Chenoweth in it. It was called the ‘12 Men of Christmas’ or something like that and took place in Montana.
Partway through the movie I started yelling at my husband that it was starting to look like P&P! Our heroine thought she had met her dream man (Wickham) who blamed the hardware tycoon (Darcy) for his troubles. Dreamy disappears for a while and later it is found out that he was away with a Rich New Yorker. In the end our heroine ended up with the Darcy character and the truth’s behind the lies are revealed.
Believe me it was the last place I would have guessed to find a nod to our favorite author!
[thanks Marti for the alert – anyone else see this? – the reviews seemed to be universally horrific, excepting the hero’s apparently often bare chest…]
Stay tuned – I have some thoughts to post on the BBC Sense & Sensibility 1981 movie I am currently watching – for those of you who have seen this, I welcome your comments…
[Posted by Deb]