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Showing posts from July, 2009

In Defence of writing Jane Austen Sequels

I came across a blog post the other day where the author had some feelings of discontent about the genre in which I write myself - that of Jane Austen sequels - she even had particular advice for myself, Diana Birchall and Helen Halstead. I'll post it below so you can read it for yourself. I have a lot of sympathy with the writer of the post who obviously doesn't like any tampering with Jane's novels and thinks it's all gone a little too far. At one time I would never have considered reading a sequel to Jane Austen's novels and I must admit I didn't read any until I wanted to write one of my own. I have read a couple and one or two 'spin-offs' if you'd like to call them that, but my own preference is for the originals like most people. I don't read them mostly because I don't want to be influenced by other's writing - there are a few I know I would really enjoy - likewise there are some I would avoid. But this is the point - no one has …

Young Love - Willoughby and Marianne

In a romantic frame of mind today - here's a description of young love at its most besotted! The photo is from the film Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet (a perfect Marianne) and Greg Wise (Emma Thompson, you are such a lucky girl!) as Willoughby.

When he was present, she had no eyes for any one else. Everything he did was right. Everything he said was clever. If their evenings at the park were concluded with cards, he cheated himself and all the rest of the party to get her a good hand. If dancing formed the amusement of the night, they were partners for half the time; and when obliged to separate for a couple of dances, were careful to stand together and scarcely spoke a word to anybody else. Such conduct made them of course most exceedingly laughed at; but ridicule could not shame, and seemed hardly to provoke them.

Mrs. Dashwood entered into all their feelings with a warmth which left no inclination for checking this excessive display of them. To her it was but the …

Jane Austen, the most wonderful writer that ever lived!

(16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)
Thinking of Jane Austen especially today on the anniversary of her death. She could not have imagined how much her books would be treasured and loved by so many people over the next two hundred years!

Here is the letter Jane's sister Cassandra wrote to her niece Fanny on the event of Jane's death. It is one of the most beautiful and moving letters I've ever read and illustrates just how close the sisters were and what they meant to one another.

I am taking a short break from today - be back soon with more posts!


Winchester: Sunday.

MY DEAREST FANNY,

Doubly dear to me now for her dear sake whom we have lost. She did love you most sincerely, and never shall I forget the proofs of love you gave her during her illness in writing those kind, amusing letters at a time when I know your feelings would have dictated so different a style. Take the only reward I can give you in the assurance that your benevolent purpose was answered; you did contribute …

Falling in love with Mr Willoughby!

Here are two Mr Willoughbys for your delight! Greg Wise and Dominic Cooper star in recent productions - I wonder which was your favourite?
After Marianne's accident when Willoughby scoops her up into his arms and carries her home the whole family are eager to learn about the handsome man who has behaved so gallantly. I love the way Jane Austen only gives us tantalising glimpses at Willoughby's character through Sir John Middleton's eyes. Willoughby is a good huntsman and rider and as far as Sir John is concerned there is no higher recommendation than a young man who enjoys sport and can dance all night. Of course hearing that Willoughby dances with elegance and spirit makes him all the more interesting to Marianne!

Sir John called on them as soon as the next interval of fair weather that morning allowed him to get out of doors; and Marianne's accident being related to him, he was eagerly asked whether he knew any gentleman of the name of Willoughby at Allenham.

"W…

Sense and Sensibility-Is going for a walk always a good idea?

Here are a couple of photos taken on the Flete estate of the house that was used in Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility and the surrounding area. This part of the country in South Devon close to the Erme estuary is very beautiful and there are some wonderful walks. The following extract from Sense and Sensibility involves a walk, leading us to a turning point in the book for Marianne - one, which will change her life forever!
The Dashwoods were now settled at Barton with tolerable comfort to themselves. The house and the garden, with all the objects surrounding them, were now become familiar; and the ordinary pursuits which had given to Norland half its charms, were engaged in again with far greater enjoyments than Norland had been able to afford since the loss of their father. Sir John Middleton, who called on them every day for the first fortnight, and who was not in the habit of seeing much occupation at home, could not conceal his amazement on finding them always employed.
Th…

Two Colonel Brandons to set hearts aflutter!

Two Colonel Brandons for your delight! The top photo shows David Morrissey playing the part in the recent BBC adaptation - the bottom photo is Alan Rickman starring in the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version. With these lovely examples of Colonels how did it take Marianne so long to realise where her heart lay?
In Sense and Sensibility Marianne first meets Colonel Brandon at Barton Park - home to the Middletons on whose estate the Dashwoods have kindly been given a cottage. Mrs Jennings, Lady Middleton's mother takes no time in asserting that the Colonel has fallen in love with Marianne and sets about teasing them both mercilessly. Marianne is less than impressed!

"...Colonel Brandon is certainly younger than Mrs. Jennings, but he is old enough to be my father; and if he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind. It is too ridiculous! When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?"

"In…