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…

  • 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

    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…

  • 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…