mon 11/12/2017

Jane Austen

'Fanny Price’s pained silences gave me the impulse to write music for her'

When I first read Mansfield Park, some 30 years ago, I heard music. That doesn’t always happen when I read, and it certainly didn’t happen when I read other novels by Jane Austen. There is something about this particular book that provoked musical...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Love & Friendship

“For a husband to stray he is merely responding to his biology. But for a woman to behave in a similar way is ridiculous, unimaginable. Just the idea is funny.” This unwitting strapline issues from the boobyish Sir James Martin towards the end of...

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Love & Friendship

Jane Austen’s early novel-in-letters Lady Susan has more in common with Vanity Fair or even Les Liaisons Dangereuses than it does with the author’s mature works. Austen’s familiar wit is there, certainly, but sharpened from embroidery needle to...

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Miss Bennet has been a busy Lizzy. In recent years she's popped up in a British Bollywood setting (Bride and Prejudice) and in the present...

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Death Comes to Pemberley, BBC One

At the time a mere 90 years old, detective novelist PD James raised literary eyebrows in 2011 with the publication of Death Comes to Pemberley, a crime-based sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Deftly recognising that Jane Austen’s popular romance had,...

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Austenland

There is a life-size cardboard cut-out of Colin Firth in Austenland. He blends in very nicely. The only way you can tell him apart from the other actors in this cloth-eared, cack-handed romantic comedy of paramount awfulness is you can't see...

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Listed: Jane Austen provides

Right at the start of the boom around 20 years ago, a Hollywood mogul is said to have told one of his people to get some more work out of that Jane Austen. She seemed like a good source of romantic comedies. Regrettably for all, there were only ever...

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Pride and Prejudice, Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is essential to quote the famous opening line in any reference to Jane Austen's best-loved work. Pride and Prejudice is 200 years old and being celebrated with balls, literary walks, readathons,...

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Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, British Library

Wordsworth would not be happy. The bard of Grasmere once wrote a poem deploring the new-fangled habit of tourists wandering about the lakes with a book in hand. “A practice very common,” he harrumphed, before crossing out the whole poem. The...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Colin Firth

In some ways it’s been an odd career. Everyone else in Another Country (1982), the stage play by Julian Mitchell about gays and Marxists in a 1930s English public school, shot out of the blocks. Colin Firth was the only actor to play both lead parts...

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Corin Redgrave, 1939-2010

Corin Redgrave: 'Very good, but his eyes too close together' according to his father Michael Redgrave

I once witnessed Corin Redgrave, who died last week, terrify a member of the audience at the National Theatre. He was playing an old beast of a journalist in Joanna Murray-Smith’s play, Honour. It opened with Redgrave in mid-rant, so when a...

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Extract: The Burning Leg

Tess takes a hike: Gemma Arturton in the BBC adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Walkers, like lovers of literature, are driven by the urge to explore, and writers have blessed their fictional characters with itchy feet since the earliest of narratives. Walks found in novels, short stories and even drama can have a multitude of...

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