Netley Abbey and the Gothic by Tony Grant

Please read this terrific in-depth post by Tony Grant over at ‘Jane Austen’s World’ on Netley Abbey and Austen’s ties to it and possible influence on her ‘Northanger Abbey.’ I visited Netley Abbey with Tony a few years ago – pouring rain, but also more atmospheric as a result!

Sitting on the base of a pillar

 

Jane Austen's World

Inquiring readers, Tony Grant, a blogger and contributor to this blog for a decade, has submitted this interesting post about Netley Abbey. He ties history, literature, poetry, and painting to Jane Austen’s fascination with the gothic novel, which led to her writing Northanger Abbey in her wonderfully satiric vein. Enjoy!

My Memories of Netley Abbey

When I was eight years old, I recall one of my grandmothers telling me about the ghosts that haunted Netley Abbey. Netley Abbey is four miles along Southampton Water from where I grew up. I lived in Woolston, a small industrial area of Southampton next to the Itchen River, which flows into Southampton Water at the cities docks. (See Google satellite map image below and Google map image alongside it.)

Within walking distance of where I lived are extensive areas of woodland and farms that specialized in market gardening. Netley Abbey itself is set within…

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Austenesque Vermont ~ & Other Austen Sightings…

There are a few Austen-related happenings in Vermont coming up, so mark your calendars:

 1. Take a Class:

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…?] 

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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 

[I’ve done these classes – they are fabulous! – so dust off your dancing shoes and just show up – you will glad you did – a perfect antidote to winter!]

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 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
http://www.OneHundredMain.com/jane_austen.html

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
http://www.OneHundredMain.com/jane_austen.html
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.

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4.  Austen sightings: 

A Podcast

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…]

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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…

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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.

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The Movies

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!

 Marti

 [thanks Marti for the alert – anyone else see this? – the reviews seemed to be universally horrific, excepting the hero’s apparently often bare chest…]

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 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]