Category Archives: Everything Austen Challenge

The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel – it’s very readable (unlike some of Fanny Burney’s work).

Here’s what’s on the back …

Maria Edgeworth’s sparkling satire about the Anglo-Irish family of an absentee landlord is also a landmark novel of morality and social realism.

The Absenteecentres around Lord and Lady Clonbrony, a couple more concerned with London society than their duties and responsibilities to those who live and work on their Irish estates. Recognising this negligence, their son Lord Colambre goes incognito to Ireland to observe the situation and trace the origins of his beloved cousin Grace. To put matters straight he finds a solution that will bring prosperity and contentment to every level of society, including his own family.

Although the time period and the phraseology is very similar to Austen, this novel lacks the sparkling wit and is very didactic – I occasionally felt I was being beaten over the head with the message.

But it is worth reading for the social history. Also I think it’s a good thing to read things Austen read and to realise how extraordinarliy talented she was (i.e in comparison with the predecessors).

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The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth

 I’ve had this book in my ‘to be read’ pile for quite some time. I thought the Everything Austen Challenge would be a good opportunity to force me to read it.

At the moment I’m about a third of the way through and I have to admit that I like it. Edgeworth has none of Austen’s wit, but her phraseology is eerily similar. I will write a proper review later.

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Mansfield Park 1983 BBC

This is a six part adaptation that is very faithful to the novel. It first aired in the UK in 1983. Check out the IMDb site.

To a modern audience familiar with the beautiful recent Austen adaptations, such as Sense and Sensibility, this seems dated and dull. And very quiet – there is no music in the background. It definitely lacks sparkle and prettiness (we need Andrew Davies involved).

Having said that, the acting is brilliant and as the screenplay follows the novel closely, it’s our only choice if we want to watch a faithful adaptation.

Here are some screen shots …

Opening Screen

Young Fanny and Edmund

Fanny Price

Miss Crawford, Edmund and Fanny

Miss Bertram and Mr Crawford

Fanny and Edmund

The Wedding!

Here are some more reviews…

From the Jane Austen Centre

From Screen Online


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Lost in Austen (Everything Austen Challenge)

I’m giving up on this one. I made it to stage two, but I lack the motivation to continue.

I find the concept intriguing and I think it would be quite fun to do as a group.

If you’re extremely familiar with Pride and Prejudice then I recommend just reading the bits where you have to make decisions – Ms Webster paraphrases Pride and Prejudice, but if you’ve read the original why would you want to read a lesser version?

Next up Mansfield Park (the BBC adaptation).

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Everything Austen Challenge – Lost in Austen

I’m still here. At the moment I’m working my way through Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster (and I’m up to Stage Three). I’ve also watched Mansfield Park and shall write some comments later.

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Jane Austen – Elizabeth Jenkins

I found this book (Jane Austen – A biography by Elizabeth Jenkins) at my local second hand book store. What a fabulous find (and it was only $10.50). It’s been out of print for ages.

Oh and I’m slowly making my way through Chapter Five of Jane’s Fame.

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Everything Austen Challenge – Jane’s Fame

My first selection in the Everything Austen Challenge was Jane’s Fame – How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman.

I found my copy (under a pile of to-be-dealt-with magazines and books) and I have planned my reading for the month. The book has seven chapters – I plan to read two chapters a week.

In a completely unrelated aside I just finished watching the latest version of Little Dorrit. It was fabulous – if you like a period drama, then you’ll definitely want to see this (and let’s face it you’re reading a blog about Jane Austen so you must like period dramas). You can buy it from the BBC Store and it is in regions 2 and 4 (that means you can watch it in Australia).

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Everything Austen Challenge

Stephanie’s written word is offering an ‘Every Austen Challenge’. In this challenge you have to read or watch six Austen related items in six months (July to December 2009).

Now my six Austen things are…

Jane’s Fame by Claire Harman

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster

The Absenteeby Maria Edgeworth – Possible influence on Austen (does that count?)

Lesley Castle by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park BBC (1983)


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