Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen’
January 20, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Today is supposedly Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year. And Jude the Obscure, 120 Days of Sodom, Germinal: these are among the fifteen most depressing books in literature.
- And yet The Day of the Locust lands on a list of comfort reads.
- Ship first, ask questions later. Amazon’s latest stratagem: “anticipatory shipping,” a program in which the company preemptively sends you products it expects you to buy, “based on previous searches and purchases, wish lists, and how long the user’s cursor hovers over an item online.”
- Not unrelatedly, here’s a roundup of socially resonant dystopian fiction. “These dystopias, I think, speak to a different kind of anxiety … one of widespread helplessness in an unfathomably complex world.”
- “Using science to explain art is a good way to butcher both.” A scorched-earth takedown of Jane Austen, Game Theorist.
- This roundup is looking pretty bleak. In the name of balance, a celebration of literary rule-breakers.
January 1, 2014 | by Ted Scheinman
In honor of the new year, we are bringing you some of your favorite posts from the past twelve months. Happy holidays!
This summer, in honor of the Pride and Prejudice bicentennial, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held its first annual Jane Austen Summer Program, described informally as the “Jane Austen summer camp” and inspired in part by the Dickens Project at UC Santa Cruz. Our correspondent kept an illicit diary of his experiences, excerpted below.
Thursday, June 27
4:35 P.M. I have been hoodwinked into wearing many hats at this conference, some of them literal. E-mails from the braintrust inform me that I am to play Mr. Darcy at the Meryton Assembly on Saturday night, to which end I must shave my beard and attend two sessions of Regency dance instruction, all while perfecting my scowl. During convocation, I scan the order of the dance: “Braes of Dornoch”; the “Physical Snob”; “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot.” The more boisterous sounding the dance, the more I fear for my newly fitted tights and breeches on generous loan from the Playmakers Repertory.
Professor James Thompson of UNC is our first plenary speaker. Thompson explains the etiology of the program, suggests that next year’s gathering will likely focus on Sense and Sensibility, and floats the idea of one day holding a summer conference about “Austen and the Brontës.” From the collective intake of breath, he may as well have been talking of 2Pac and Biggie. Thompson also expresses gentle alarm over suspected "crypto-Trollopians" in audience, a joke that lands with shocking force among this mix of academics, various regional representatives of JASNA, garden-variety superfans, Ladies of a Certain Age Wearing Sun Visors, archaic dance enthusiasts, and one very precocious eleven-year-old who takes notes at each of the plenaries. I give thanks that Thompson is a friend and banish anxiety over the tights. Read More »
December 16, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
November 7, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen will never be allowed to rest in peace but will instead, in perpetuity, act as a vague and grotesque figurehead who is required to comment on every social issue of the day, speak dialogue she never uttered, chase zombies, star in movies, breakdance, leap around Etsy, dabble in molecular gastronomy, inspire jewelry feuds, headline summer camps, appear on banknotes, and, occasionally, be sexy. Because WHAT IF JANE AUSTEN REWROTE ALL THE HOUSEMARTINS B-SIDES AND THEN THEY WERE ALL ILLUSTRATED LIKE VARGAS GIRLS AND THEN WE MADE THEM INTO TAROT CARDS AND THEN IT WAS A MUSIC VIDEO AND IT WENT VIRAL? WHAT IF THAT HAPPENED?
All that said, this new video game, Ever, Jane, looks fun. As the creators explain it on the Kickstarter page,
Ever, Jane is a virtual world that allows people to role-play in Regency Period England. Similar to traditional role playing games, we advance our character through experience, but that is where the similarities end. Ever, Jane is about playing the actual character in the game, building stories. Our quests are derived from player's actions and stories. And we gossip rather than swords and magic to demolish our enemies and aid our friends.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing the prototype. I won’t pretend to have deepened my understanding of Regency England, but it certainly furthered my knowledge of role-play games. And everyone walks really fast.
November 5, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
November 1, 2013 | by The Paris Review
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 »