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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen’

What We’re Loving: Self-Help, Self-Hate, Sense and Sensibility

November 1, 2013 | by

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In the last month, thanks to some timely advice from Sam Lipsyte in the Oslo airport, I’ve gone back to two books that I could never get through as a kid: Blood Meridian and Sense and Sensibility. Blood Meridian still defeats me, though I got about halfway through. Does every pueblo have to be ruinous, every puddle some shade of crimson? Will the Judge ever shut up about Darwin? The book it keeps comparing itself to is Moby-Dick, but Moby-Dick doesn’t compare itself to anything, and isn’t—or doesn’t feel—anywhere near as long. Sense and Sensibility, on the other hand, was just my speed. The last two pages are so good, I tore them out and pinned the sheet over my desk as a talisman. (The airport paperback had a painting of Spanish Gibson girls on the cover, and had to be thrown away.) —Lorin Stein

First published in 1957, the late Daniel Anselme’s On Leave chronicles one week in the lives of three soldiers, furloughed in Paris. Anselme, a resistance fighter and journalist, interviewed many conscripted men while researching the novel, and its unflinching look at the horrors of the Algerian conflict meant it was initially ignored by critics and never reprinted or translated. A new edition by Faber & Faber brings this “lost novel” to a whole new readership, and that’s a good thing. While it’s not a light or easy read (although David Bellos’s translation is spare and clear), it remains deeply affecting and, needless to say, relevant. —Sadie O. Stein Read More »

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Modern Austen, and Other News

November 1, 2013 | by

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  • Informality, sex, reticence, and other challenges of modernizing Austen.
  • Morrissey’s autobiography crosses the pond December 3.
  • Starting today, Amazon.com will start collecting sales tax in Massachusetts and Connecticut. “This so, so, so overdue,” the manager of a Brookline bookstore tells the Boston Globe.
  • Speaking of Amazon.com! The behemoth is launching a digital literary magazine, Day One. Says Daphne Durham, publisher of the adult trade and children’s group, “Literary journals have long been an important part of giving a voice and a platform to new and undiscovered authors … We are trying to add to that tradition in a digital age.” Phew, glad someone’s on that.
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    No One? How Does No One Work for You?

    October 8, 2013 | by

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    Alternatively: All of these people? By all means, join the discussion!

     

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    One Ring to Rule Them All

    September 27, 2013 | by

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    Amid the bustle of this year’s Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), where many attendees sport Regency garb from dawn to dusk, one curious piece of material history is provoking sustained, triumphal glee.

    Last year, Kelly Clarkson, winner of the first American Idol, in 2002, bought a turquoise-and-gold ring that Austen had bequeathed to her sister, Cassandra. Clarkson is a devotee of the novelist and, by virtue of her fortune, a serious collector who already keeps a first edition of Persuasion in her personal library. Sotheby’s had placed the ring’s reserve price at £30,000; Clarkson paid £152,450.

    Original Austen totems are hard to come by. Slivers of her library have survived, as have a few likenesses by Cassandra, various small items of jewelry (including a topaz cross that Paula Byrne is especially fond of), and whatever portion of the novelist’s letters Cassandra didn’t burn. The scarcity of such items, and the national importance of the writer Rudyard Kipling once called “England’s Jane,” prompted furrowed brows on at least two continents over the prospect that this ring—perhaps she wore it as she wrote Persuasion!—might find an unceremonious home in southern California. Austen blogs and listservs lit up, as did the Republic of Pemberley.

    The Jane Austen’s House Museum, in the Hampshire village where Austen spent the last eight years of her life, marshaled this general unease into a pledge-drive campaign. Meanwhile, England’s culture minister, Ed Vaizey, enforced a rare “temporary export bar” that kept the ring in the U.K. and gave the museum until the end of December 2013 to match the Clarkson bid. Vaizey’s statement was simple: “Jane Austen’s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a UK buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation.” Read More »

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    In Which Jane Austen Tells Your Fortune, and Other News

    August 29, 2013 | by

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  • Oxford Dictionary Online (not to be confused with older sibling OED) has added twerk, derp, and selfie.
  • “I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones.” The Jean-Paul Sartre cookbook.
  • The top twenty books people leave in motel rooms. (Fifty Shades Freed leads the pack.)
  • The (inevitable?) Jane Austen tarot deck.
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    Secret Erotica, Jane Austen, and Other News

    August 13, 2013 | by

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    Photo Credit Sean Malone

  • A tribute to the Blackwing 602, the favored pencil of many a writer, including Nabokov.
  • The saga of the Jane Austen ring continues! Now, an anonymous donor has given £100,000 to prevent Kelly Clarkson from spiriting the gold and topaz bauble off to America.
  • “All had a little twinkle in their eye that suggested a colorful, lively imagination!” The secret lives of erotica writers
  • The British Library’s Wi-Fi blocks Hamlet on grounds of “violent content,” fixes it.
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