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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen Sequels’

Well, not sure if an ebook can be termed “on my bookshelf” but no matter – this new book out today by Austen scholar Janet Todd has already made its way to my kindle, so a virtual bookshelf it is … and I shall drop all my other reading and begin this immediately!

cover-ladysusan

Professor Todd has taken on Jane Austen‘s Lady Susan in her fictional account Lady Susan Plays the Game – this is from the Bloomsbury website:

A must-read for any devotee of Jane Austen, Janet Todd’s bodice-ripping reimagining of Austen’s epistolary novel Lady Susan will capture your literary imagination and get your heart racing.

Austen’s only anti-heroine, Lady Susan, is a beautiful, charming widow who has found herself, after the death of her husband, in a position of financial instability and saddled with an unmarried, clumsy and over-sensitive daughter. Faced with the unpalatable prospect of having to spend her widowed life in the countryside, Lady Susan embarks on a serious of manipulative games to ensure she can stay in town with her first passion — the card tables. Scandal inevitably ensues as she negotiates the politics of her late husband’s family, the identity of a mysterious benefactor and a passionate affair with a married man.

Accurate and true to Jane Austen’s style, as befits Todd’s position as a leading Austen scholar, this second coming of Lady Susan is as shocking, manipulative and hilarious as when Jane Austen first imagined her.

Published: 15-07-2013
Format: EPUB eBook
ISBN: 9781448213450
Imprint: Bloomsbury Reader 
RRP: £6.99  [ in the US, the kindle price is $7.19 :  Amazon.com

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You can read a post by Janet Todd here at the Bloomsbury Reader blog where she “tells us her thoughts on writing, language, and the pressure of re-imagining Jane Austen:”

Anne Elliot, virtuous heroine of Persuasion, was ‘almost too good’ for Jane Austen. ‘Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked,’ she remarked towards the end of her life. All Austen’s novel heroines are indeed ‘good’: two of them initially hazard improper or injudicious remarks—Elizabeth Bennet and Emma—but later they learn to repress such high spirits.

Now look at Jane Austen’s own letters. Recollect that most of them address her beloved Cassandra who, after Jane’s death, guarded her sister’s image by burning anything she deemed unsuitable—not so much for the public, since Jane was not yet famous enough to have her private correspondence of general interest, but for the younger members of the extended family now living in high Victorian rather than racy Regency times.  Yet even the unburnt letters show a woman very different from the fictional heroines, a woman with a naughty propensity sometimes to laugh at the virtuous, the vulnerable or the just plain unfortunate—a wife with an uncomely husband experiencing a still birth or young girls lacking beauty and unable to compensate for it.  This Jane Austen emerges very fully in a little work she wrote just as she was entering adulthood and long before she’d published any of her masterly novels: ‘Lady Susan’….

Continue reading…

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About the Author:

janet_toddJanet Todd is an internationally renowned scholar of early women writers. She has edited the complete works of England’s first professional woman writer, Aphra Behn, and the Enlightenment feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as novels by Charlotte Smith, Mary Shelley and Eliza Fenwick and memoirs of the confidence trickster Mary Carleton. She is also the general editor of the 9-volume Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and editor of Jane Austen in Context and the Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice. Among her critical works are Women’s Friendship in Literature, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction 1660-1800 and the Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. She has written four biographies: of Aphra Behn and three linked women, Mary Wollstonecraft, her daughter, and her aristocratic Irish pupils.

In the 1970s Janet Todd taught in the USA, during which time she began the first journal devoted to women’s writing. Back in the UK in the 1990s she co-founded the journal Women’s Writing. Janet has had a peripatetic and busy life, working at universities in Ghana, the US, and Puerto Rico, as well as England and Scotland. She is now an emeritus professor at the University of Aberdeen and lives in Cambridge.

 

Further reading:

book cover-LadySusanpenguin

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

 

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… and the winner is: Dianna Anderson who commented on January 15:

I would love to comment on a book I’ve read but sadly I haven’t, but I would love to. If I were to win a book though I could easily read it and email a question later. :-)

 

Congratulations Dianna! – please email me your contact information and the book shall be sent to you right away.  And after you have read it, we hope you shall comment!

And thank you all for your comments and to Syrie James for her great post about JASNA.

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

 

 

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A quick look at the upcoming Jane Austen books in 2013 has inflated my “Wish List” yet again – and I don’t even have all the 2012 books yet… alas! no shelf space! [not to mention my pocketbook…] – there are just some books you should not add to your kindle, though I might feel more strongly about this than many, but here is a quick list of what’s coming out in the next few months, more detailed info and reviews will follow, but for now, you can see that there is no slacking off in Austenland…

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Book Giveaway Alert! –  Head on over to romance writer Linda Banche’s blog, read visiting author Kara Louise’s post about her new book Darcy’s Voyage, A Tale of Unchartered Love on the Open Seas, and ‘Why Regency Women Sailed to America’ ~ then leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.  In this re-telling of Pride & Prejudice, Ms. Louise has Darcy and Elizabeth meeting on board a ship bound for America – interesting stuff!

[Note: this book was originally titled "Pemberley's Promise" and is being re-released with its new title Darcy's Voyage by Sourcebooks this month.]

[and visit Linda's blog again on September 23rd, when C. Allyn Pierson, author of Mr. Darcy's Little Sister, will be offering two copies of her book as well - a great way to stock up on winter reading!]

 

[Posted by Deb]

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This just in from Publicity at Sourcebooks:

“Next week marks the official launch of AustenAuthors.com, a labor of love started by two Sourcebooks Landmark authors, Sharon Lathan and Abigail Reynolds. Noticing the success of group author blogs in the romance genre, they decided to gather up some of their fellow Jane Austen Fiction comrades and start a group blog!


 
After putting together some initial plans in August, Sharon and Abigial began to contact Austen authors from all publishers and the final list of 20 contributors is very impressive: 

  • Susan Adriani
  • Marsha Altman
  • Marilyn Brant
  • Skylar Burris
  • Jack Caldwell
  • Carolyn Eberhart
  • Monica Fairview
  • Regina Jeffers
  • Cindy Jones
  • Sharon Lathan
  • Kara Louise
  • Kathryn Nelson
  • Jane Odiwe
  • C. Allyn Pierson
  • Abigail Reynolds
  • Mary Lydon Simonsen
  • Heather Lynn Rigaud
  • Victoria Connelly
  • J. Marie Croft

Staring on September 6, daily blogs posts will be put up, celebrations of new books going into stores will be had, and for the launch month of the blog, many giveaways and contests will be held!
 
Please feel free to share this fabulous new endeavor with your friends! As the leading publisher of Austen-related literature, Sourcebooks is pleased to help spread the word about this amazing new website devoted to the authors who have continued Jane Austen’s stories to the delight of the reading public. Let us know what you think about it!”

http://www.austenauthors.com/ 

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Wonderful news! – will be great to have all these Austenesque writers sharing a blog and keeping us informed of their writing and publishing news, so be sure to visit on a daily basis!

[Posted by Deb]

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book cover private diary darcyGentle Readers:   Maya Slater has penned a guest post for us on her book The Private Diary of Mr Darcy  – and as I mention in my previous post, it is quite an entertaining read!  Thank you Ms. Slater for sharing your thoughts with us [and those of Mr. Darcy!]

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING:  The Private Diary of Mr Darcy, the American edition to be published on June 15th by W.W.Norton.

 ‘What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?’

I found myself answering, without hesitation, ‘Oh, Mr Darcy’s diary.’ Everyone round the table laughed, and the moment passed. But the idea stayed with me for months, till finally I had to give in to it, and start writing.

It’s not as though Mr Darcy was the kind of man to have kept an intimate diary of his own volition. He started it as a child when his mother gave him a moleskin notebook, gently suggesting he should make it his confidant. A few days later she was dead, and keeping a diary became a sacred duty to him.

The final volume of his diary, published under the title The Private Diary of Mr Darcy*, begins on the day that he first sets eyes on Elizabeth Bennet – although she makes no impression on him whatsoever. It concludes as they happily plan their wedding. In between, he unburdens himself of many secrets, and lives through the weeks and months when he is absent from Pride and Prejudice: that first winter when Mr Bingley has deserted Jane, the following summer when Elizabeth has turned him down, the anxious search for Lydia and Wickham.

 Of course the diary is private. Much of what it contains would shock his female acquaintance, describing as it does his life as a rich bachelor about town.   His gentlemen friends too would be astonished – at the uncertainties, weaknesses and powerful emotions confided by this politely reticent and formal young man. It is not surprising that he decides to abandon it when he marries: it would not do for his wife to discover it.

Throughout, it is Mr Darcy who has directed operations; I have merely followed where he led.

 MAYA SLATER 

*The British edition (Phoenix, 2007) was titled Mr Darcy’s Diary.

[ See also the full Maya Slater interview at Bookzone.tv  [type in < Maya Slater > in the "search video" box and click on the book cover]  and my previous post with additional links here ]

The opening question, by the way, is quite thought-provoking – anyone want to add their thoughts? -

What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?

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In some random searching today I discovered that come December, there will be yet another Austen sequel in the mix.   Titled The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet: a Novel, the book is by Colleen McCullough of Thorn Birds fame and will be published by Simon & Schuster.  You can pre-order it at Amazon.  [note that it will be published in Australia in early October by HarperCollins...read their synopsis and pre-order here.]

Lizzy Bennet married Mr Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr Bingley – but what became of the middle daughter, Mary? Discover what came next in the lives and loves of Jane Austen’s much loved Bennet family in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off from an international bestselling author Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, twenty years on, Jane has a happy marriage and large family; Lizzy and Mr Darcy now have a formidable social reputation; Lydia has a reputation of quite another kind; Kitty is much in demand in London’s parlours and ballrooms; but what of Mary? Mary is quietly celebrating her independence, having nursed her ailing mother for many years. She decides to write a book to bring the plight of the poor to everyone’s attention. But with more resolve than experience, as she sets out to travel around the country, it’s not only her family who are concerned about her. Marriage may be far from her mind, but what if she were to meet the one man whose own fiery articles infuriate the politicians and industrialists? And if when she starts to ask similar questions, she unwittingly places herself in great danger?
[quote from Fantastic Fiction]

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Kathleen Glancy in her “Persuasions” article “What Happened Next? The Many Husbands of Georgiana Darcy”(Vol. 11, 1989, pp. 110-116) states that D.A. [Dorothy Alice] Bonavia-Hunt’s Pemberley Shades is the best written of all the sequels she has read, and though “lacking in the irony department….it is a brave try, and an amusing story.”  [spoiler alert!...Ms. Glancy in this article tells the full story, so read this after you have read the book!]

Published originally in 1949 by Allan Wingate in the U.K. and by Dutton in the U.S., Pemberley Shades is finally available again (it was reprinted in 1977 and again in 2007, but quickly out of print, and only available from antiquarian booksellers and sure to finish off your annual book budget…there is one online for $650.), so this Sourcebooks 2008 reprint is welcome indeed!

There is little known about the author, and even if perhaps she ever wrote anything else under another name; but what is known is that she was born in London, the daughter of a clergyman, was educated by a governess and in private schools, and lived with her brother, the Vicar of Stagsden, Bedfordshire, during the time she wrote her Austen Pride & Prejudice sequel.  She obviously was knowledgeable about Austen and the Georgian period, and comes very close to Austen’s style.

The title “Pemberley Shades” refers to Lady Catherine’s angry retort to Elizabeth “Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?” (ch. 56, P&P)  Austen’s use of the word “shades” has generated many theories and some research into the word does little to clarify.  Austen was likely being intentionally ambiguous- with a literal reference to the woods and forests of Pemberley, with the darkness and shadows, as well as the figurative meaning of the ancestral lineage and social standing of the Darcy family (i.e referring to the ghosts of ancestors.)   But there is so much darkness in this book, so many secrets and the sense of “not telling all” and characters living in shadow, the “lightly gothic” atmosphere pervading the story…the author chose the perfect term to headline her tale, in the same ambiguous way as Austen.

So the title itself leads into this gothic realm and the reader is on alert from page one, although it all SEEMS so peaceful and harmonious.  We  re-enter the lives of Darcy and Elizabeth a few years after the end of P&P:  they have a two-year old heir to the estate named Richard (an inside joke perhaps?!).  The action begins with the death of the elderly Rector of Pemberely, leaving his two maiden sisters in the Parsonage and Darcy in search of a successor.  Passing over Mr. Collins, who, on the outs with Lady C, has written an officious (though humorous of course!) letter of application, Darcy heads to London to engage the services of Lord Egbury’s brother Stephen Acworth, who has been highly recommended.

Acworth’s arrival at Pemberley sets the plot in motion:  his first meeting with Elizabeth who “at the moment of first beholding him [it] was her instant conviction of having seen him before”… we meet characters we know and those new to this story:  The Robinson sisters, who seem more like the sisters in Gaskell’s Cranford, set themselves at odds with the Darcys by supporting Acworth; Jane and Mr. Bingley the milquetoasts that Mr. Bennet so predicted; Mr. Bennet is wonderfully drawn here with his insights and many witticisms ["every woman requires a dose of neglect now and then to keep her from being above herself"]; Anne de Bourgh finally getting a moment to shine no longer under her mother’s watch ["Anne was not so much proud and disagreeable as stupid" says Elizabeth]; Lady C exactly the same; Acworth, an odd peculiar lost soul; and a host of servants and maids getting some prime time of their own, a nice touch.

But the story really centers on Georgiana Darcy and her three suitors, all new characters:  Mr. Mortimer, Major Wakeford, and the vicar-in-waiting Acworth.  Miss Darcy is a shadowy figure, aloof and secretive, with “something on her mind” as Elizabeth keeps saying; and the resolution of her courting dilemma propels the tale.  There is no point in telling more….it is a bit of a mystery and so I shall not divulge a thing!  But we can ask Who is Acworth and what are his motives in coming to Pemberley? and why does Elizabeth feel so uncomfortable in his presence? and why is Georgiana so secretive and preferring to be alone with her music?  It is a good story, and this reader was much impressed with the author’s use of language.  But of course there is no duplicating Austen, and so there are disappointments: the story feels a tad far-fetched; Darcy and Elizabeth are a wonderfully harmonious couple, all that lovers of P&P could hope for, but I found them both a little too perfect and more than a little condescending to all those around them; and Acworth is quite the disturbing character, something not quite right with him (I cannot say more!…);  and there is this underlying sadness that pervades the whole novel…but it is certainly compelling enough and has wit enough to definitely be added to your Austen sequel collection, and you shall enjoy the read immensely!

Further reading: see also Laurel Ann’s review at Austenprose.

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Sourcebooks Inc. has several new Austen-related books coming out this month, but one by debut author Marsha Altman, gives us new insights into the Darcy – Bingley relationship:  The Darcys & the Bingleys, a Tale of Two Gentlemen’s Marriages to Two Most Devoted Sisters.  I have just started to read it and hope to do a full review by weeks end, but am delighted to find already in the first few chapters that Ms. Altman has perfectly presented the Darcy I most love [the young proud man bound to his family duties, but oh so endearingly socially inadequate, unable to "perform before strangers"....], as well as giving Mr. Bingley a voice of his own…

So today we offer you a post from the author as well as a CONTEST for a free giveaway of the book, courtesy of Sourcebooks.  Ms. Altman has been most generous in sending us her thoughts on writing this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, and I append her post forthwith…  and we invite your questions and comments over the next week with Ms. Altman answering your queries!  On September 10, we will randomly draw a name from those commenting and the happy winner will receive a copy of this latest addition to the Austen legacy.  So PLEASE JOIN IN AND COMMENT!… and thank you Ms. Altman for joining us here this week! [ and for more information on the author and her book, go to the Marsha Altman.com website ]

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My name is Marsha Altman and I’m the author of the Pride and Prejudice sequel, The Darcys and the Bingleys

We’re currently enjoying a wave of Austen sequels, continuations, paraliterature, or whatever fancy term you want to give fan fiction. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise – Jane Austen is very much in vogue right now, and these floods generally follow a major adaptation by a year or two. The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries gave way to a lot of sequels, mostly self-published around 1997-98. With the 2005 movie, it’s not surprising that we’re in 2008 and talking about sequels again. Because publishing is sometimes based on speed and convenience, much of the current stock is composed of formerly self-published books, purchased and republished by a larger company. However, with new technologies and the internet, anyone can be an author and the potentials are therefore limitless. 

That doesn’t explain away the compulsive need to read and produce this spin-off literature, just proves the timing of production. The answer to the question of “What is all this nonsense?” in response to a torrent of fan fiction about the work of one of the greatest English novelists is simple: We can’t leave it behind. The book ends, the movie credits roll, the miniseries comes out with the definitive DVD edition and companion book, and we’re not ready to let go yet. Austen’s characters are too compelling. We want to stay with them a little longer, whatever the diminished literary quality. It’s the only way to explain how Emma Tennant’s Pemberley, a book I have never met a fan of, has stayed in print for 15 years – about 12 years beyond the shelf life of good books. 

Every sequel – and for brevity, let’s call them all sequels, as no one has written a prequel, just many books from Darcy’s POV – faces the same existential challenge: How to keep Austen on her well-deserved pedestal but take the characters down without having appeared to. The result is haphazard. Loyalists merely rewrite the story from Darcy’s perspective (or occasionally someone else’s), without adding any unexpected color that might offend purists, and lifting a lot of dialogue from Pride and Prejudice. There are sequels – actual continuations – that attempt to copy Austen’s style. Dorothy Hunt’s Pemberley Shades was probably the best attempt at that, but generally these things can fall flat because our task is different. Austen wrote contemporary fiction; we’re writing historical fiction while attempting to imitate the style of the Regency period. She wrote what she knew; we’re writing what we think she may have known. And let’s face it. None of us are Jane Austen, and no one’s claiming to be. We’re just using her public domain characters because we love them.

 Then there are authors who let themselves go and tell the story they want to tell, staying relatively within the lines when it suits them and moving into fantasy when it does not. Darcy has a scandalous past, Darcy and Elizabeth solve crimes, Elizabeth has magic powers, Darcy and Elizabeth have the best sex life in the history of mankind and the author isn’t short in the details. Purists rant and rave, but that’s usually because they’ve bought the book and read it, which meant, well, they bought the book. Linda Berdoll is reviled by many, but she’s the best-selling author of all time in this genre and she knows it. She wrote the story she wanted to write and she’s not ashamed of it.

 When I started writing Jane Austen fanfic (and I’m not going to distinguish between published work and fanfic, because much of the work on shelves was originally fan fiction), I had a story I wanted to tell. When I first read Pride and Prejudice in high school, I thought Mr. Bingley was shortchanged. If you read the story without knowing the plot ahead of time, you think for the first hundred pages or so that the story is about the Bennet sisters trying to marry off Jane to Mr. Bingley, and things go so well you wonder why there seem to be another 300 pages left. Darcy is a sucker-punch protagonist, the one you don’t see coming until Hunsford. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Darcy isn’t the ultimate romantic hero, but Bingley has been pretty ignored in sequels and even Darcy stories, which logically should contain a lot of Bingley. Precisely, there’s often no discussion – or just a throwaway line – to how they met, and as their friendship is so crucial to Darcy’s introduction to Elizabeth, I felt there was material there I wanted to play around with. That is how “A Bit of Advice” – the first of the two stories in my book – came about. Darcy and Bingley can be as much dramatic foils as Elizabeth and Darcy, just without the romance. 

The story was put up online and some people seemed to like it, so I rode that wave of confidence and decided to set up the ultimate challenge – making Miss Bingley a sympathetic character without making her pathetic or unrealistic. With so much ink devoted to different scenarios with Georgiana, Kitty Bennet, and Elizabeth’s life at Pemberley after their marriage, I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done yet except in a few obscure fanfics. Whether I did it successfully or not is up to the reader to decide. 

What are you looking for in a sequel? What stories do you feel are left untold?

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I am no lover of sequels. I just shut down really, when, in anticipation of a beloved author’s continued words on a character or plot or unfolding event, I run smack into a wall of some stranger’s thoughts.  I want JANE AUSTEN’s words, I want new works from her, something more to read, to savor, not a return to or a rehashing of any of the nearly perfect worlds of her six novels.  Those are complete to me, and I want them left alone, I want to protect her characters from someone else’s mutterings.  So I confess to not reading any of the many sequels and much prefer to just re-read Austen, who says most everything better than anyone. [After writing this, I was looking at Joan Klingel Ray’s Jane Austen for Dummies and find her words on pg 297, almost mine exactly…”  I have to admit that when I need more Jane Austen, I just reread Jane Austen….I am not a fan of sequels…and I would never attempt to convince [others] not to read the sequels…but I am content to let Austen’s characters’ lives end with her novels…” (p297)  So I am in good company I think!  ]… (more…)

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