• JAFF

    Most Ardently: Pamela Aidan’s Mr. Darcy in An Assembly Such As This

    Pamela Aidan’s An Assembly Such as This, A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman (2003) is a partial retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) from the perspective of Mr. Darcy. It is the first in a series of three novels by Aidan that follow the story of Pride and Prejudice, and this volume covers the first part of Austen’s famous novel once the Bingleys have moved into the neighborhood bringing their friend, Mr. Darcy, with them. Aidan’s novel covers the events that take place from the Netherfield Ball up until Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley’s departure to London through Mr. Darcy’s perspective. She creates a character who looks…

  • JAFF

    Yours Forevermore, Darcy: Exploring the Feminine Side of the Romance Hero

    Mr. Darcy, the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice (1813), has become the model for many romance heroes. According to Deborah Kaplan, the romance hero is characterized by being “self-assured, hot-tempered, capable of passion, and often mysteriously moody” (171). All of these qualities are evident in Darcy’s character. Yet, despite Mr. Darcy’s undeniable status as a hero, his narrative remains a point of intrigue for readers and writers. Darcy’s shift from the “arrogant young man” at the beginning of Austen’s novel to the “polite gentleman whom Elizabeth marries” has generated an ongoing debate about his true character (Moler 491). The mystery surrounding Darcy might be why KaraLynne Mackrory’s novel, Yours Forevermore,…

  • JAFF

    Jane Fairfax and Emma Woodhouse Can’t Be Friends

    Emma Woodhouse is quite atypical for an Austen heroine in that her prettiness and charm are bolstered by both financial security and status, albeit within the intimacy of Highbury. This is an advantage not experienced by Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, the Bennets, or the Dashwoods, who for all their attributes, either have no fortune or only a tenuous proximity to one at the start of their stories. Emma is also arguably the most unlikeable Austen heroine, which is no accident on the part of the author who was famously quoted by her nephew James Edward as having stated that she had written “a heroine whom no one but [her]self will…

  • Romcom

    Old Maids and Mind Games in Austenland

    Jerusha Hess’ Austenland (2013) centers on Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a thirtysomething Jane Austen devotee who is having difficulty in the dating world. The audience is led to believe that Jane’s primary problem is her all-consuming love for Austen’s romantic stories. In one scene, Jane is watching BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with her date. He nibbles provocatively at her neck while she’s distracted by the sight of a sodden Colin Firth walking onto the banks of the lake on his Pemberley estate. Austenland follows Jane as she decides to become her own Austen heroine in a last-ditch effort to exchange modern spinsterhood for a love story written only…

  • JAFF

    Presumption: An Entertainment

    Julia Braun Kessler (1926-2012)  and Gabrielle Donnelly’s Presumptions: An Entertainment: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice (1993) offers a continuation of the well-loved 1813 novel, from the perspective of Georgiana Darcy. Written under the nom de plume Julia Barrett, who has also written two other Austen engagements, Presumption introduces readers to the happy marriage of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, explores Georgiana Darcy’s coming of age, and follows the Bennet family through another set of crises. The focus of the novel is marriage, particularly the marriage of Georgiana Darcy. While echoing the beginning of Pride and Prejudice (1813), as any discerning reader will recognize, Presumptions opens with “If, as the prevailing wisdom…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Three questions about Andrew Davies’ Sanditon

    Two weeks after Andrew Davies’ PBS Masterpiece Sanditon (2019) concluded, the #sanditonsisterhood continues its bid for a second season. Even some diehard #Sidlotte fans, though, have conveyed disgruntlement about the contrived finale, which completely turned the series on its head with Sidney Parker’s (Theo James) selfless decision to marry Eliza Campion (Ruth Kearny) in order to save his brother’s resort, thereby abruptly ending his and Charlotte’s imminent engagement. Fans have expressed their desire for a “neat ending,” arguing that Jane Austen would have given her readers such an ending. Although the design of the conclusion was meant to breath life into a second season, it has ironically had the opposite…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes Five and Six

    It remains to be seen if Andrew Davies’ Sanditon (2019) will prove popular enough in the USA to justify a second season, but the extreme reactions to the series do not bode well for a continuation. On one end is the #sanditonsisterhood’s plea for a second season, whose hype for the series is indexed under #sanditonseason2, #SaveSanditon, and the compound proper noun, #Sidlotte, after the series protagonists Sidney Parker (Theo James) and Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). A second season depends entirely on how it fares with American viewers, according to Davies and ITV, since its popularity in Britain was not enough to warrant a second season (Hallemann). On the other,…

  • Web Series

    Rational Creatures: The inclusive Austen inspired series we need

    In this transition from 2019 to 2020, Janeites have been regaled with a TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s last and incomplete novel, Sanditon (1817), directed by Andrew Davies and produced by PBS Masterpiece, and a glamorous new version of Emma (1815), directed by Autumn de Wilde and produced by Focus Films. Both are backed by major production companies, whose prowess is evinced in the quality of the production, the casts, and the costume design. Both have generated a frenzy of Tweets and a proliferation of online essays. Unlike Sanditon, which will almost certainly not see a second season, Emma has fans and critics—especially those with a penchant for period minutia—drooling, albeit not enough to…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes Three and Four

    Although PBS’ Sanditon (2019) has made many departures from the original, incomplete text, the series itself reflects an interest in patriarchal structures inherent to the original text and all of Austen’s published work. As Madeline’s review argues, the older women in Sanditon, while being either idealized or vilified, model potential paths for young women who depend upon their success in the marriage market and their resulting position of operation in a patriarchal society. However, another interesting and related facet of female agency within a patriarchal framework is explored in the relationships of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) with Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke) and Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) with Esther Denham (Charlotte…

  • JAFF

    Privileging the Male Perspective: Wendy van Camp’s The Curate’s Brother

    Wendy van Camp’s The Curate’s Brother: A Variation on Persuasion (2015) traces its literary ancestry back to fanfic more than the Regency novel. Whereas the Sir Walter Elliot of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818) reads through centuries of his family’s published lineage, the modern reader of Camp’s novelette skims through just over a decade’s worth of literary internet culture deceptively packaged as a period piece (Persuasion 1). Fanfic may have been coined in the 1930s, but according to Stephanie Burt in “The Promise and Potential of Fan Fiction”, the digitized fanfic that we recognize today began in 2007 (The New Yorker). Notable for its interactive qualities, fanfic allows writers and readers to mold literary…

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