An Ambitious Project

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“I have indulged myself, for the purposes of this book, in reading her entire output in chronological order, and it has proved a rewarding experience as well as a delightful one.” – Jane Aiken Hodge, The Private World of Georgette Heyer

I’m embarking on a reading (and writing) project that I’ve been thinking about for a while: reading all of Georgette Heyer’s novels in order of publication, including the “suppressed” novels and the mysteries and the historicals and the anthologies and, well, all of them! I’m also going to be blogging about the books as I go along, because why not?

Continue reading

Never Assume


ceciliaNever Assume – that person messing with his or her mobile might be reading a book.

The first ebook I read in its entirety was Fanny Burney’s Cecilia, which I read on the tiny screen of my Palm Treo 680. We were reading it for my book group* and I tried to order it on Amazon, searching for “Fanny Burney.” It didn’t come up (I should have searched for “Frances Burney,” la-de-dah, Amazon), and I stupidly assumed (not all assumptions are stupid, but an awful lot of them are) that the book was out of print.

I had the brilliant idea of downloading the ebook from Gutenberg.org, and read the whole thing on my Treo. I was gripped by the story, which in itself is not extraordinary, but the experience of reading it was sort of like an archeological dig into Jane Austen’s head; it was obvious to me that the book was a favorite of Austen’s and had shaped her own style and influenced her greatly.

But I was also thrilled to pieces that I didn’t have to lug around a 900-page book. It was right there on my phone, which I had with me all the time anyway. I had no problem making my way through this very long book on a three-inch smartphone screen. I was all in with ebooks after that.

*well, some of us read it, some of us made fun of those who read it, which makes one wonder why they joined a book group if they didn’t want to, you know, read the books

Ridiculously photogenic children

There are cute babies all over the Internet, but I have a particular fondness for one of them. She is a princess–really: Princess Estelle of Sweden, the daughter of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. I love this kid. She often wears a rather grumpy frown and tends to look at the press with an “Off with their heads!” sort of expression (which it appears she inherited from her grandpa, King Carl Gustaf). Her royalty comes very naturally. I have kind of an odd little enthusiasm for the Swedish royal family anyway, but it’s really only odd because I’m not Swedish.*

Last weekend Princess Estelle the Magnificent (as I like to call her) went to the finals of the Stockholm Open tennis tournament with her parents. This video of her arrival is hilarious–she’s totally greeting her public once the boring hand-shaking bit is over, waving and smiling for the cameras. Then inside she’s even more adorable–no grumpy face today!

Why, yes, minion! I WILL be your Queen! Go ahead and genuflect now, please.

Why, yes, minion! I WILL be your Queen! Go ahead and genuflect now, please.

Pics and story at the HuffPost | Lots of pics at New My Royals

As a commenter said at the Royal Order of Splendor, Estelle has set the bar pretty high for little Prince George of Cambridge. But then came his christening yesterday, and oh my bob, HE IS SO CUTE–and like Princess Estelle, just ridiculously photogenic!

Pater, this minion displeases me. Off with his head!

Pater, this minion displeases me. Off with his head!

THOSE CHEEKS! Just like his father’s at the same age.

Oh, and Kate looked nice too, I guess. I feel my British royal family obsession shifting to a new object.

Lots of christening pics from Auntie Beeb | Official pics at Hello! George says he is SO BIG!

*Gentle Readers who are also interested in the history of Jane Austen’s time might be interested to learn that the Swedish Royal Family, the House of Bernadotte, is descended from Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who was one of Napoleon’s marshals. The childless king of Sweden adopted him as his heir, presumably to keep Napoleon from invading Sweden. Bernadotte’s wife, Desirée Clary’s, sister was married to Joseph Bonaparte. I am not sure if this is part of my odd little enthusiasm for the Bernadottes.

The Shades of Mirkwood

Editorial Note: When the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released, I was quite taken with the hero shot of Thorin, especially since the first trailer had (in my opinion) not nearly enough Thorin. I posted a link to the trailer on my personal Facebook page, and my friend Karen commented that she was taking a liking to Thranduil, king of Mirkwood and Legolas’ father. I replied that he was being rather Lady Catherine de Bourghish, as he was advising Evangeline Lilly’s character Tauriel to guard against raising expectations in Legolas that could not be fulfilled. All of a sudden we’re in a Jane Austen novel! Karen demanded a parody. I demanded payment, to wit, one screencap of Thorin’s hero shot. Heather delivered it within moments, and I was stuck writing obliged to write the parody. Not that I minded very much. It’s worth the payment, plus being a lot of fun.

Heroic Thorin

I don’t know about you, Gentle Readers, but I’d write just about anything for that.

Since Tauriel is not in the book, but an original character created for the movie by Peter Jackson and company, I went looking online for information about her character, and found this.

“Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard,” Lilly explains. “She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”

Seriously, we are in a Jane Austen novel, y’all.

Thus, in fulfillment of a debt and for the lawls, herewith we present a little bit of silliness, where Jane Austen meets J.R.R. Tolkien and tells him he needs some more chicks in his little stories. Continue reading

Lords and Ladies and Sirs, oh my!

Attention British authors (and authors from other countries, too): please to learn proper usage of your own aristocratic titles! The wife of a knight is never, ever Lady Firstname (“Robert Galbraith,” I’m looking at you*), ever!** Even in 2013! Georgette Heyer could learn them, Dorothy L. Sayers could learn them, a Yank (me) could learn them for pity’s sake, it’s not beneath you. There’s even a handy chart.

That being said, I’m available for consultation. I charge only a free copy of the ebook.

*Awesome book. Review to come. Rantage about the general situation also to come.
**Unless of course she is the daughter of an earl/marquess/duke, which did not appear to be the case here.

Things We Learned From Clueless

I still love Clueless and think it’s the best adaptation of Emma ever!

AustenBlog

cluelesscover We were delighted and bemused to see several articles celebrating the 18th anniversary of the release of Clueless (which, as apparently some people don’t know, is really a fairly faithful adaptation of Emma, though set in 1990s Beverly Hills). We have loved Clueless from the first time we saw it, mostly delighted with its intelligence and humor and Amy Heckerling’s obvious affection for Emma. We don’t think she could have done such a masterful job of adapting the novel for a modern audience if she didn’t love it; or at least she respected the heck out of it, which is good enough for us.

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We re-watched the film last night, and realized the film is not just amusing but educational. Herewith, Things We Learned From Clueless:

  • It does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty.
  • Tolerance is always a good lesson, even when it comes from nowhere.

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In Which Giant Colin-in-the-Pond Moves the Editrix to Song

Originally posted on AustenBlog.

We received a press release telling us about a giant statue of wet-shirted Mr. Darcy that has been installed in the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park to publicize a new series on UKTV called “Drama.”

Here’s a photo, helpfully provided by the publicist. Click to embiggen:

firthzilla

Several things sprung immediately to mind:

  • One can pretend it’s not Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but after all he’s the only one who goes for a swim. We don’t count the Lost in Austen one because it was an imitation.
  • It’s a good thing Colin has retained a sense of humor about the whole Darcy thing. At least, we think he has. (Private to Mr. Firth: Dude, you have an Oscar. Laugh at it.)
  • They do know that Mr. Darcy doesn’t go in the pond in the book, right?
  • They do know that we never actually see Mr. Darcy in the pond even in P&P95, right? (cf. Miss Bridget Jones–the dive was done by a stuntman, the underwater shots were done in a tank at Ealing Studios. The rest is all your heated imagination.)

This is either the greatest thing ever for sheer comedy value, or the Austen fandom has truly reached its nadir. Being a glass-half-full kind of girl (stop laughing), the Editrix has decided that it’s the greatest thing ever, and it has already occasioned much hilarity amongst Austen friends with a similar sense of humor.

A comment by Heather L. (“Firthzilla attacks London”) has inspired a filk based on a certain song by the Blue Öyster Cult. And then we went into Wawa to pay for fuel for the voiture tonight and guess what was playing on the loudspeaker? IT WAS A SIGN.

And here is a link to the lyrics.

Herewith we present to our Gentle Readers: FIRTHZILLA! A filk of Godzilla, by the Blue Öyster Cult.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He declines to dance with all the girls in Meryton

Helpless people on a country walk
Scream bug-eyed as he strips his waistcoat off

He sneers at your family, but keeps hanging around
As he wades through those upon whom he looks down

Oh, no, they say he’s got ten thou
Go go Firthzilla!
Oh, no, there goes Derbyshire
Go go Firthzilla!

Literature shows again and again
Jane Austen points out the folly of man (and woman)

FIRTHZILLA!

Really, it just filked itself.

After the jump, the full press release, just to prove we really don’t make this stuff up. Continue reading

Edwardian is the new Victorian

Cross-posted to AustenBlog.

Perusing an article on a new YA rewrite of S&S, we were a bit startled to read this sentence:

[book title*] is a contemporary retelling of another, equally amazing classic tale by the Edwardian authoress

Huh? What Edwardian authoress would that be?

Jane Austen. She meant Jane Austen.

You know, we’re hardened now to hearing Jane Austen referred to as Victorian. We still roll our eyes, but it no longer makes us twitch, because we’ve heard and read and seen it so many times. After all, Queen Victoria had a really long reign. We’ve even heard Jane referred to as Old English, which just makes us laugh. But really? Edwardian? Is this what the overwhelming popularity of Downton Abbey has brought us to? We hope we don’t have to remind our Gentle Readers that there’s about 100 years between Austen’s novels and the adventures of the Crawleys et al. We hope this article isn’t a test balloon of sorts for a whole new flight of historical ignorance: “Edwardian” replacing “Victorian” as a catchall term for “old-timey.” It’s like they learned a new word from reading articles about the costumes in DA or something and started throwing it around like they know what it means.

inigo-montoya

:: dresses up in Edwardian cricket whites, takes up Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness, smashes dopey story over the fence. What do you mean they don’t do that in cricket? ::

*book title redacted because the book and its author are not responsible for these shenanigans, and we respectfully request that our Gentle Readers keep that in mind.

In defense of Persuasion

Cross-posted to AustenBlog

So I guess it’s kind of obvious that I’m burned out on Austen blogging, but that doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention to what’s going on in Janeworld. I suppose I’ve just been waiting for something to bring me out of my funk. So I guess I should thank Adelle Waldman for her article in Slate, as it aroused my ire sufficiently to get me blogging again; but really it just made me cranky, and made me get the Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness out of hibernation.

Why do so many of Jane Austen’s smartest readers consider her weakest novel to be her best? Persuasion, the story of kind, helpful Anne Elliot—who made a mistake years ago and is still suffering for it when the book opens—is didactic and full of crude, overdrawn characterizations.

*splutters* 

*hefts Cluebat*

Okay, this is the opening paragraph. I’ll give her some slack.

*caresses Cluebat lovingly*

It is also the least funny of Austen’s books.

Oh, really? But wait, she’s read it several times. No one else has, of course. No one could possibly pull several funny quotes out of her butt. Could they?  Continue reading

Stuff I’m making

As promised…posts about stuff I’m making. For anyone who might be reading this who doesn’t know, I’m a crocheter and tatter, and dabble in cross-stitch, tapestry/needlepoint, and embroidery.

I recently finished an embellished hanky–I embroidered my monogram and made a tatting edging. I’ve sewed on the edging, but the embroidery needs a bit of touching-up, and of course it needs ironing before a final reveal. But here is the hanky with the edging not yet attached:

2013-03-24 20.15.42I also made myself a tatted lanyard to hold my tools:

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I have several other things in progress, so more soon!