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....more
Posts Tagged: Jane Austen
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.
For The Millions, David Busis chats with Curtis Sittenfeld about her recent release Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. In the interview, Sittenfeld discusses the challenges that come up when modernizing older works, and how reality television served as a useful tool in her novel....more
For the New Yorker, David Denby listens to Jane Austen’s Emma and reflects on how listening to the book highlights the insincerity of the its characters:
Austen was one of the first modern writers, one of the first thoroughly to understand the unconscious and such things as insincerity and false candor.
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.”
(n.); unification; to make into one; the unifying power of imagination; accredited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
“Austen is far from superficial … Her books are intimate and compelling. She has a voice that somehow seems to chime even with a modern sensibility.
Brain Pickings looks at Jane Austen’s “History of England,” a satirical pamphlet penned by the then 15-year-old Austen and illustrated by her sister Cassandra....more
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.
Following her essay about the influence of Adam Smith’s economic theories in Jane Austen’s novels, writing at The Atlantic, Shannon 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.
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....more
Jane Austen invented a clever way of editing her manuscripts: pins. Without the convenience of electronic word processors, Austen relied on a method of pinning snippets of text into her manuscript drafts. Open Culture looks at The Watsons, one of Austen’s manuscript drafts that employs the method....more
While readers today might think of Jane Austen novels as the equivalent of 18th century bodice rippers, money, wealth, and economics played a major role both in their creation and in their narrative. Austen wrote as much for financial benefit as for art....more
You think your mom was a harsh critic? Slate published an excerpt of criticism about Mansfield Park from Jane Austen’s friends and family. Austen compiled the criticism in an 8-page document, which just shows that even successful novelists are insecure....more
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.
With writers, it’s usually neither rags to riches nor riches to rags. Marx had Engels, Austen had her family. Read this and rest assured: some cool people lived with their parents.
Austen didn’t start out rich and she never got rich by writing excellent and even popular fiction, not by a long shot.