Posts Tagged: Jane Austen

In Sickness and Friendship and Jane Austen

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Long before Curtis Sittenfeld was a New York Times bestselling author (Eligible), she was friends with Sam Park (This Burns My Heart). And they’re still friends: in an essay for the New Yorker, Sittenfeld chronicles their decades-long platonic romance, from early days collaborating on “50 Most Beautiful Sexiest Men Alive of the Year at Stanford” to dedicating their novels to each other to Park’s diagnosis of Stage III-C stomach cancer in 2014.

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The Rumpus Review of Bridget Jones’s Baby

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Perhaps Bridget fans who watched the movies but never read the books might not find this movie to be such a hard blow... But those who read the books—and those who loved the pilgrim soul in Bridget—will feel the loss more keenly. ...more

Keep Minor Characters Minor

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At the Guardian, Charlotte Jones takes issue with the recently announced Pride and Prejudice sequel fleshing out the life of Mary Bennett—a character whose neglect is central to Austin’s plot:

The singularity of Elizabeth Bennett, after all – the reason she so often features in lists of our favourite literary characters – relies solely upon the relief cast by her dull sisters.

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The Rumpus Interview with Rebecca Schiff

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Rebecca Schiff discusses her debut collection The Bed That Moved, choosing narrators who share similarities with each other and with herself, and whether feminism and fiction-writing conflict. ...more

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The Saturday Rumpus Essay: The Sword and Her Sister

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Frozen is a study in what happens when imagination is constrained to a single narrative arc ...more

Brain Training

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Great news for avid readers! It turns out that intense reading is good exercise for your brain. Over at Open Culture, Josh Jones writes about a study by Michigan State University Professor Natalie Phillips, who compares the brain activity of participants alternating between a close read and a casual perusal of a chapter in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park:

Thus, she theorizes, the practice and teaching of close reading “could serve—quite literally—as a kind of cognitive training, teaching us to modulate our concentration and use new brain regions as we move flexibly between modes of focus.”

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The Rumpus Interview with Lori Rader-Day

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Lori Rader-Day discusses her second novel, Little Pretty Things, the “five lost years” when she didn’t write at all, and her favorite deep-dish pizza. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Paul Griner

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Paul Griner talks about his newest novel, Second Life, his just-released story collection Hurry Please I Want to Know, putting real life into fiction, and whether creative writing can be taught. ...more

Pride, Prejudice, Repeat

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Jane Austen has been blowing up these days, with hundreds of fan-fictional responses to Pride and Prejudice gracing the dusty corners of bookstores and the Internet. Over at Flavorwire, Sarah Seltzer wonders why we’re still so eager to return to Pemberley:

Because Austen doesn’t overload us with sensory details about her characters, but merely depicts them walking around in the world, talking, judging, and making mistakes, we project a lot of our own experience and imagination into our reading, and this makes us feel personally acquainted with them.

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The Novel of Economics

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Following her essay about the influence of Adam Smith’s economic theories in Jane Austen’s novels, writing at The AtlanticShannon Chamberlain gets back to the topic, this time debating what influence fiction had, and in particular the emerging genre of the novel, in Smith’s production:

“Perhaps this sense of turmoil, of progress that could still be undone, explains Smith’s apparent ambiguity about novels.

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Seriously Serious

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Over at the Paris Review, Jason Novak has taken up the pen again; this time, he’s turned to authors and their eccentricities. Among his observations:

“Somewhere Hemingway is sitting quietly at his desk. Pouring another bull. And fighting another drink.”

Other targets include Don DeLillo, Jane Austen, Hegel, Nabokov, Heidegger, and the state of Publishing itself.

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“Don’t Go Online” and Other Good Advice for Writers

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Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Sisterland and guest judge of McSweeney’s first-ever student short story contest, told McSweeney’s in an interview that she is looking for fiction with a “pulse,” that engages “in a kind of conversation,” and that serves the writer’s obsessions.

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Lit Fic Is Just Another Genre

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Jane Austen wrote for money. She also made readers laugh. So why are her books considered literature rather than genre fiction? Clever marketing, claims Elizabeth Edmondson over at the Guardian. Despite many attempts to define “literary fiction” as something dry and bland, writers have historically written to entertain (and to sell their words)—the importance of categorization comes much later:

Of course, the fact that lit crit types make some absurd claims for lit fic doesn’t mean writers within this category don’t write good books.

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