Austen Unabridged

Apparently, all my life, I have been reading and listening to works by Jane Austen that are abridged. I read somewhere that the abridged books are best because Miss Austen tended to preach her fondest ideas which applied to her own time and would bore the modern reader. I have just discovered that this is not the case. I am listening to Pride and Prejudice, Unabridged, and discovering nuances that make the whole thing more well rounded.

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Satisfying Endings

I just finished listening to Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I’m sad because it was the last remaining Austen book that I had not read or listened to all the way through. Although I could re-read or listen to Sanditon as I don’t know it by heart yet. I loved the usual points about Jane’s writing, the humor and the confusion, the comic characters who don’t know their own reputations, much like Shakespeare created. But my favorite thing was the Satisfying Ending. (TM) Continue reading “Satisfying Endings”

Games to Play With Books

An advantage to Facebook and Scribophile is the ability to play weird games that would be much less fun face to face. Imagine getting out lists of silly words, one for each letter of the alphabet and one for each month of the year, and having your friends at a party tell you what their porn star name would be, based on the month they were born and the first letter of their last name. Not enough alcohol in the world to make that funny.

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Now Entering Jane Austen Land!

I go through audio books like I go through something that doesn’t last very long but you really like it. As a result, I often listen to my discs again and again. Sadly I only own one Jane Austen book on CD, but it’s Pride and Prejudice so it’s good. I try to limit my listening to P&P to once every six months. Same with the first Outlander book on CD. Don’t want too much of a good thing. Continue reading “Now Entering Jane Austen Land!”

Your Hero Versus Darcy

We know we shouldn’t compare our writing and skills to anyone else, we are only in competition with our self, improving how we write now from how we wrote a year ago. But I think it might be fun to compare a modern romance hero to the pattern card of Mr. FitzWilliam Darcy. Of course, you can do a comparison of your own ideal hero, but I will go with Darcy for argument’s sake. Continue reading “Your Hero Versus Darcy”

Jane Austin’s Christmas

I’ve read quite a number of special Christmas romances set in the Regency period. My favorites have been Mary Balogh’s collection, and I looked for her new story every year. I don’t think that’s still happening, and I miss it. Even the short stories that appeared in anthologies would brighten the holiday for me. Checking the list on Amazon, there are a few that I seem to have missed, so I look forward to completing my collection.

Many people don’t think Christmas was more than a holy day in Regency England, and that was the key to the celebration. And what we think of as Christmas, with the tree, the decorations, the candles and all, came to fashion with the very dashing Prince Albert when he married the young Queen Victoria in 1840. (Although several notable persons of German origin did keep the customs before that) But there were many native traditions in England.

Oh, sure, the Puritans, bless their hearts, were against Christmas for the association with Roman Catholic ceremonies and the extravagant feasting and fooling around, sometimes in masks, the drinking, and the plays, and oh so many things to dislike. http://austenonly.com/2009/12/12/but-surely-christmas-in-england-didnt-exist-until-dickens-invented-it/ But the traditions simply went underground, they did not die out.

The Irish held on to the Yuletide customs as part of their struggle to keep their culture alive under occupation and suppression. The use of holly to decorate began long ago there, and remains a source of holiday cheer today. http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/irishchristmastraditions.htm

The Yule Log, the Decorations on a Tree, the Singing of Carols, all started long before the Victorians got involved. Pagans marked the Winter Solstice by bringing evergreens inside, bonfires were lit outside, and Saturnalia celebrations also used lots of evergreen plants. When Christianity bloomed in England, the holiday of Christmas and the same plants were given Christian significance. Except for mistletoe, because that nasty little parasite was druid through and through. The Church banned it until the early 19th century. http://austenonly.com/2009/12/14/jane-austen-and-christmas-decorating-the-georgian-home/

So back to Miss Austen, and how she celebrated. Her letters tell us more, but she did cover some traditions in the novels. And a book I must add to my collection is Jane Austen’s Christmas: The Festive Season in Georgian England. The back cover blub states “Miss Austen would have known elaborate house parties and fancy dress balls. The Mummers would surely have attended her home in Hampshire, as would the Waits, encouraging ‘good Christians’ to ‘awake’ on Christmas morning. She is also known to have enjoyed Christmas pudding, still then a fairly new dish, loved by the Georgian monarchy and copied by many families at the time.” http://www.janeausten.co.uk/jane-austens-christmas-the-festive-season-in-georgian-england/

So don we now our Regency apparel, dish up the Christmas pudding, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1159/classic-christmas-pudding and ask Mary to sing a carol or two. I’ll be back on Sunday.