• A woman with an umbrella with her back to the audience

    Carrie Cracknell’s Anne Elliot is a Girl with a Rabbit

    As Katherine Voyles’ insightful essay on the discourse around Persuasion (2022) demonstrates, historical inaccuracy has been pegged as one of Carrie Cracknell’s unforgivable misdeeds, especially related to the use of contemporary language and even the protagonist’s bangs. Yet when I finally watched the film, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cracknell draws on the visual and literary culture of Austen’s era in the choice to associate Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) with animals. When Anne first introduces her family, she is carrying a pet rabbit who will be by her bed, on her lap, and in her arms, when she breaks the fourth wall. In her first conversation with Lady Russell (Nikki…

  • 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…

  • 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…