Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of): A Review

    What would happen if Mr. Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth was not delivered? Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), written and directed by Isobel McArthur, asks the audience to reflect on our unacknowledged erasure of servants as characters in novels, plays, and other cultural representations. Not quite a musical, this play nevertheless reimagines what an adaptation can do by turning to karaoke, with the actors grabbing microphones and singing modern songs to further the plot. The show originally opened in Glasgow in 2017 at the Tron Theatre, before gaining the support of eight regional producing theatres to produce a nationwide tour of the show. It officially moved to the West End on…

  • Emma,  Holiday Austen

    “A Holly Jolly Christmas”: Oppositional Binaries in McGrath and de Wilde’s Emma

    Both Douglas McGrath and Autumn de Wilde seize upon the holiday scenes in Emma (1815), the only Austen novel with a Christmas scene. Each film’s Christmas scene display the cultivation of relationships and community-building. However, in their respective representations of Emma and Mr. Elton (McGrath) and Emma and Mr. Knightley (de Wilde), the movies underscore binary and oppositional relationships. In these relationships a mirroring occurs, positioning Mr. Knightley and Mr. Elton against each other with Emma as an anchoring force—all against the backdrop of Christmas. In both films, Christmas becomes a kind of oppositional holiday, one that brings out the combativeness of others, not one that creates relationships among them.…

  • 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…

  • Engraving of Thomas Rowlandson Sea Bathing 1813
    PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes One and Two

    Andrew Davies’s 2019 television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon (1925) promised to be a departure from the text: “there isn’t much of ‘Sanditon,’ a new eight-part Austen adaptation arriving Sunday on PBS’s ‘Masterpiece,’ that was taken directly from the author’s writings” (Suclas, NYTimes). The lack of Austen’s Sanditon in PBS’s Sanditon is abundantly clear in the first two episodes of the series. The first episode quickly diverges from the original plot; and while the viewer will find similarities between the two, the Twitter backlash facing the series becomes increasingly understandable with each episode. In an article for The New York Times, Davies revealed, “‘It’s not a secret that we were…

  • An image of Jane Austen photoshopped to wear holly on her hat
    Holiday Austen

    Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe

    Pride and Prejudice is one of the most recognizable stories of the literary canon, but does it truly fit in the holiday season? As a result of the popularity of the story, it has been adapted many times and has taken a central place in holiday movie culture. The Hallmark Channel’s Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018) attempts to bring the plot of Pride and Prejudice to small-town Ohio with a gender reversed casting that pits Darcy Fitzwilliam (Lacey Chabert) against Luke Bennet (Brendan Penny). Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe quickly strays from the plot of the novel, the only similarities come from the names of characters, Darcy Fitzwilliam for Mr. Darcy…

  • JAFF

    Henry Tilney’s Diary

    In Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1798/1818), Henry Tilney pokes fun at Catherine Morland for not keeping a journal: “‘my dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journalizing which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated’” (Austen, Northanger Abbey, 27). Henry’s teasing disbelief at Catherine’s lack of journalizing informs Amanda Grange’s novel inspired by Northanger Abbey: Henry Tilney’s Diary (2011). Grange chronicles three major periods of Henry’s life through the form of a personal diary. Set between 1790 and 1799, the diary traces Henry’s maturation and…