Everything Emma, and Horrors to Come
Here's what just happened at the Austen Connection, and what's coming up
This month has been Everything Emma - and we’ve explored the hidden implications in the story of Jane Fairfax, the delectable images and sounds of the 2020 Emma film, the demeanors and demons of the various Mr. Knightleys, and topped it off with a wonderful conversation with Professor George Justice on the complex relationships between the men, the women, the romance, and the power dynamics going on in Austen’s novels, including of course in Emma, but also Mansfield Park, Dr. Justice’s favorite novel.
If you missed any of this, here are the links to these conversations. And don’t just look, y’all - go ahead and make a comment!
The Edible, Audible Emma - Here we unpack all that’s going on in the wonderfully choreographed 2020 film
Jane Fairfax Drops the Mic - Is the story of Emma really the story of Jane Fairfax? Let us know what you think, friends!
All the Knightleys - What do we see in Austen’s most formidable leading man? I kind of like where this post ended up, with an actual, metaphorical answer: He asks us to dance. Aw. But let me know what you think!
Jane Austen Will Teach You, Challenge You, and Rescue You - Here’s our conversation with Dr. George Justice. He spoke about how teaching Jane Austen after a serious illness was “a miracle” - and then he set about categorizing Austen’s leading men as “worthy” and “unworthy.” You can too - listen and comment on who is worthy and who unworthy in Austen!
And, friends, let’s look ahead: Coming up, we have horrors - absolute horrors, I tell you! And these horrors are found in the stories of Jane Austen, for the spooky month of October, including:
Mansfield Park, Horror Show - Here we will discuss what is going on in this novel, which is so controversial - just try throwing out an opinion about Fanny Price, Henry Crawford, Mary Crawford, or anything to do with this novel. Next week, we’re wading in to it with the thesis that Austen was tearing down some walls in this novel, subtly undermining the architecture of empire, patriarchy, and class in this story - that Fanny Price ultimately ascends and conquers. That’s next week! Be ready to disagree!
Mousy, Monstrous Fanny Price - It’s the late great critic Nina Auerbach who compared Fanny Price to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster . I think she might have been on to something. We’ll further explore the dismantling that is going on in Mansfield Park, and how the baffling, weepy character of Fanny Price is deployed to do it.
Death by Drawing Room - Here we invoke the world of Sense and Sensibility, and the evil lurking under its romantic vistas and poetry. Look underneath there, and you’ll see monsters (Lucy Steele, anyone?) and mayhem.
Beware friends, once you’ve gone here with me, you’ll be shown horrors in Austen you can’t unsee!
Finally, also in October we have planned a conversation with professor-bruja Dr. Maria DeBlassie, who incorporates everyday witchery, gothic stories, and social justice into her life and her teachings of historic romance and bodice rippers. I cannot wait to talk with her about how all these things come together - and what she teaches, and learns from, her students in New Mexico.
This is a lot! Stay with us and enjoy the ride.
Persuasion and Jane Austen in the Monitor
Before we leave you today, one more look at something we’ve done and something coming up:
The Austen Connection took our conversations recently to the Christian Science Monitor - this piece explores the story of Persuasion and what Jane Austen has to offer us for the times we’re in. We talked with Damianne Scott, who is writing a contemporary retelling of Persuasion, due out next year, and we spoke with playwright Sarah Rose Kearns about putting this story on the stage in an off-Broadway play that runs through October. The piece comes out in the Monitor’s print edition this week.
Coming up, we have a wonderful podcast conversation with Sarah Rose Kearns about putting this classic, romantic and painful story on the stage, and why Persuasion heroine Anne Elliot makes the perfect imaginary friend. Plus, we talked about the music she’s incorporated into her play - and it’s wonderful to hear this in the podcast. That’s all in an upcoming podcast conversation.
So, stay well and stay tuned, friends. If you are signed up for the Austen Connection, all these conversations come straight to your inbox. So subscribe, and share with a friend.
Meanwhile, enjoy the onslaught of autumn - hope you are finding health, peace, and maybe even some pumpkin spice lattes, good autumn soups, and colorful leaves to crunch under foot right now.
Take care, stay well, and stay in touch with us here at the Austen Connection,
Yours most truly,
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