I am currently en route to Boston for my red-eye flight to London. (Fingers crossed for a timely departure and arrival!) My plan is to arrive in London tomorrow, find my way to my hotel in Central London, and then try to stay awake. If at all possible–that is, if my energy holds–I will do some light sight-seeing and get on a Brit time schedule. My plan is to spend two and a half days in London to acclimate myself before heading to Chawton, and perhaps to go to the British Library or British Museum. I don’t know if Austen will fit directly into any of my London plans, but I definitely have some Shakespeare plans (and Austen read Shakespeare, so…related? Actually, I don’t have any knowledge of her reading the play mentioned in the next sentence.). On Saturday night I will see the new Twelfth Night production at The Globe.
Check back in a few days for an update!
As I ready myself for travel to the UK, I am also priming myself to become a full fledged Janeite. You might have thought that I was already a Janeite, but you would have been mistaken. I was only a Janeite in the making before this summer. Although I attended a five-week NEH seminar on Austen and her contemporaries in 2012, I have been thinking intently and writing about Austen’s works for only five years–I’m practically a baby in the Austen world. This summer changes everything for me. I will spend six weeks immersing myself in everything Austen in the environs in which Jane became Jane Austen.
A couple of weeks ago I began this pre-immersion process. I started listening to audio versions of Austen’s novels. I began with Pride and Prejudice (narrated by Rosamund Pike) and then moved to The Watsons and Sanditon (both narrated by Anna Bentinck). I carried on with Emma (narrated by Juliet Stevenson). Tomorrow I will begin Persuasion (also narrated by Stevenson).
On top of this, I decided to binge watch the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice (swoon!) this past week, and to begin the BBC Emma. (NB: The latter production sacrifices fidelity at times for the sake of continuity, which bugs me a bit. However, the casting is divine, especially Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller.)
I have been rereading Austen’s juvenilia, especially pieces of it that I have not taught before, such as “A Letter from a Young Lady,” and one of her in-betweens, “Sir Charles Grandison.” I have also been reading David Nokes’ Jane Austen and Brian Southam’s Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts.
I have to admit: all of this listening, viewing, and reading has pumped me up! 🙂 I am so excited to go to England–which I want to call Austenland, but shouldn’t–this week!
Hi, All! Welcome to my blog about my time in England as the Jane Austen Society of North America’s International Visitor. In less than a week I will begin my sojourn to England, where I will fully immerse myself in everything Austen for six weeks. I will spend time volunteering and researching at the Chawton House Library and the Jane Austen’s House Museum. I will help the organizers of the Jane Austen Society of the UK hold their Annual General Meeting. I will visit exhibits on Austen in Winchester, Oxford, and Bath. I will visit the Hampshire Records Office. I will…. I will…. I will…. 🙂