Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Emma’s Love Story

Our Friday Favorite this week is what I like to call “modern music for historical romance”.  It’s the story of Jane Austen’s Emma and her Mr. Knightly, set to the music of Taylor Swift’s Love Story. That might sound like an incongruous pairing, but it totally works. Take a look!

For more period drama set to modern music, check out my Pinterest board on the subject.

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Jane Austen’s World Pinterest Boards

Pinterest perusers, Austenites, and Regency romance lovers, prepare to be wowed.

If Jane Austen’s World doesn’t have the largest Pinterest collection of Georgian/Regency information, it’s pretty darn close. There are also boards for more modern pursuits and fashion. Get a cup of coffee and find an hour–or four–to browse. It will totally be time well spent!

Covent Garden Theatre 1808 J. Bluck

Fashion, Food, Friday Favorites, Society

Friday Favorite: Having a Ball

I mentioned this video a couple of weeks ago in my Austen in August post, but it was so much fun (and so informative) that it deserves its own day.

Produced by the BBC and aired in May 2013, “Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball” attempts to re-create a Regency-era ball. Using Bingley’s ball at Netherfield as a guide experts in the clothing, food, and even dancing use their knowledge and skill to bring history to life.

That sounds cliched, I know, but it’s truly what they do–not only do you see the finished product, but you experience the chaos of the kitchen as supper approaches, the energy and precision required for each of the dances, the realities of wearing Regency dress. The participants are interviewed throughout, so you also get a modern perspective: what is this like compared to what you’re used to?

Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and enjoy 😀


Austen-tatious: My Austen in August Experience

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer who is also a teacher will never get everything done she has planned for the month of August. And so my Austen in August participation has not gone exactly as I’d envisioned it.

I own a beautiful Kindle version of all six of Jane Austen’s novels, together in one austeninaugustrbr-buttonillustrated file. I also have, waiting on my TBR list, Vera Nazarian’s Austen mash-up Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons. It was my intention to read all of these, and I had even triaged a list in case I began to run out of time.

Instead, I got caught in the back-to-school web, and have been focusing on summer reading books—at my school the departments take turns grading the essays the students turn in, and this year my department is up—and getting my classroom ready. Reading for pleasure has been tough to squeeze in.

So instead of reading for our Austen in August celebration, I’ve taken to watching. It’s a different kind of experience to be sure. I’m such a visual learner that seeing actual images leaves a different kind of impression on my brain than creating images as I read. But it’s been exceedingly enjoyable.

Here are a few of the productions I’ve watched this month:

Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball
Produced by the BBC, this is a 90 minute recreation of the Netherfield Ball from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Host Alastair Sooke takes the viewer through myriad Pride and Prejudice BBCpreparations: dance students learning the steps to a cotillion, a seamstress making an older style dress into a Regency one, a master chef creating historically accurate ices from Georgian molds. I consider myself pretty well-versed in Regency culture, but even I learned a thing or two (did you know that gentlemen sometimes wore cosmetics?). And the visual display of the finished product was absolutely stunning, not just as an Austen adaptation but as a Regency recreation.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
If P&P’s Elizabeth Bennet had been a 21st Century grad student, this is what her life would have been like. This online modernization is presented as Lizzie’s video Lizzy Bennet Diariesblog, with each episode running around three minutes. For those of you looking for a classic adaptation, cover your eyes now. This version is coarser than Jane Austen’s (with references to nights spent drinking, and language I wouldn’t use in front of my grandmother, for example). But it’s funny, light, and oddly on the nose so far (one of the developers is Hank Green, brother of Mental Floss’s John Green, so I expected no less). I haven’t finished all the episodes yet (there are 100, plus extras), but I can’t wait to see how the rest play out. Catch the complete series here.

Pride and Prejudice
Colin Firth. Jennifer Ehle. What more do I need to say? 😀


I’m still hoping to get to all the books I mentioned, but I’m officially back to school today, so we’ll see if my free time and energy level will play nice with each other. If not, there are plenty more adaptations to watch!


Would Darcy Have Ridden a Bicycle?

Jane Austen's London


The combination of this fantastic print and the discussion in the UK press recently about encouraging cycling and making it safer prompted this post. Unfortunately the “Pedestrian Hobby Horse” arrived in England soon after Jane Austen’s death – I’ve love to know if she’d have ever given one of her characters a ride. I can imagine Lydia Bennett, skirts flying, shrieking with laughter!

The print, from Ackermann’s Repository (1819) is entitled Pedestrian Hobbyhorse and the text says it was invented by Baron von Drais, “a gentleman at the court of the Grand Duke of Baden.” The baron apparently invented a horseless carriage powered by two servants but it proved heavy and expensive so was abandoned, much to the relief of the unfortunate servants, I imagine!

 The baron went on to invent the hobbyhorse which he used for getting around large parks and gardens and it was introduced to London by…

View original post 469 more words

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Jonny Lee Miller

He currently stars as a modern-day, just-out-of-rehab Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Elementary. He’s had a variety of roles in shows like Dexter and East Enders. He even appeared in a Brother Cadfael mystery.

So what does actor Jonny Lee Miller have to do with Regency romance? He seems to have a knack for playing an Austen gentleman–which is why he’s our Friday Favorite this week 😀

He’s been in two different adaptations of Mansfield Park, in 1983 as Charles Price and in 1999 as Edmund Bertram.

In 2003, he played the title role in the movie Byron.

And in 2006, he played Mr. Knightly in the BBC miniseries Emma. The clip below is one of my favorite parts of the series, with Romola Garai as Emma Woodhouse.

Contests & Giveaways, Friday Favorites, Regency

Friday Favorite: Austen in August

This is summer reading, Regency style!

Roof Beam Reader is hosting the 2nd annual Austen in August event, a celebration of all things Jane Austen. Participants read as many Austen or Austen-related works as they choose (biographies, spin-offs, contemporary re-imaginings, and re-reads count too!), and blog about their adventures. Roof Beam Reader will also be hosting guest posts and giveaways throughout the month.

If you’d like to be a part of Austen in August, you can sign up or find more info here. Some of the giveaways require that you sign up by August 3rd, but others don’t. You can participate in the reading and blogging at any time.

Any posts you make for Austen in August should be linked here.

I’m signed up and ready to go–my Kindle is full, my audible account is stocked. Who’s joining me?

Fashion, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: (Un)Dressing Mr. Darcy

Our Friday Favorite this week comes to us from Brian Cushing, a Regency period re-enactor who gives workshops and talks about gentlemen’s dress in the early 19th century. This video is taken from his demonstration at Burdett’s Tea Shoppe in Springfield, TN. Mr. Cushing begins with the outermost layer of clothing and works his way inward, explaining the function and development of each piece as he goes–great for those of you who like visual aides!

Art, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Sir Joshua Reynolds Art Exhibit

Okay, all you Art History majors out there–here’s a chance to get your geek on. Our Friday Favorite this week is an interactive art exhibit from 1813:

“On 24 May 1813, Jane Austen visited an art exhibit at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London. The popular show was the first-ever retrospective of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), England’s celebrated portrait painter. Two centuries later, this e-gallery offers the modern visitor a historical reconstruction of that long-lost Regency blockbuster.”

Clicking on a painting opens a new window with a whole host of information: the painting’s title in 1813 and its title now, its current location, some juicy tidbits about the subject of the portrait, and its connections to other paintings in the exhibit. There are also suggestions for further reading.

rowlandson_enlarged 1808

Buildings & Architecture, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Jane Austen’s Home

When Jane Austen was 33 years old, she took possession of a cottage in the village of Chawton, which had been a gift from her brother Edward. Our Friday Favorite this week is not one but two virtual tours of this cottage.

The first deals mainly with the exterior of the house, and comes to us via Jane Austen’s World right here on WordPress:

The second deals mainly with the interior of the house, courtesy of the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton: