<![CDATA[JASNA Oregon & SW Washington Region - Home]]>Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:50:57 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Movie review of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies']]>Sun, 07 Feb 2016 20:00:01 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/movie-review-of-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies opened in general release in Portland on February 5, 2016. The following movie review is by regional members Stephanie Fleming and Elaine Blatt, who attended the sneak preview of the film on January 22, 2016.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.
Thus begins Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody of Pride and Prejudice, now made into a movie to which JASNA members were invited for a sneak preview January 22. Since most of you did not avail yourselves of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Stephanie Fleming and I thought we’d let you in on what you missed. Please be aware that this description includes spoilers.

The story begins in a Regency England threatened not by the French, but rather by unruly masses of zombies. The zombies are the result of a mysterious infection, which renders its victims “undead” and which is spread through biting living humans. In this Regency England, young ladies of accomplishment don’t just cover screens and speak French, they also must be skilled zombie warriors and speak either Japanese (preferably) or Chinese, depending on where they received their combat training. Thus it is not just rain which threatens Jane as she heads to Netherfield for dinner on horseback, but also zombie hordes in want of more brains.

Grahame-Smith credits Jane Austen as “co-author” of his book, and indeed, the book fairly well hews to Jane’s original story, mainly adding in zombie attacks at appropriate moments and providing what some readers (myself included) found to be a much more satisfying end for Mr. Wickham than merely being banished to New Castle to join the regulars. The movie, on the other hand, deviates from Grahame-Smith’s book (and from Jane Austen’s story) in a number of important ways. You will be glad to know that Mr. Collins still makes an offer to Lizzy, whose refusal still receives approval from Mr. Bennet. And Elizabeth still tries to kill Mr. Darcy after his rather rude proposal (actually, this fight scene is one of the more entertaining parts of the film) and fights Lady Catherine (England’s most successful zombie killer in the book and movie) with swords and daggers rather than words. However, Austen’s/Grahame-Smith’s story is substantially simplified and changed for the movie. There is no trip with the Gardiners to Pemberley, and Lydia does not run away with Wickham to London. Instead, the movie includes a completely new plot line involving a mysterious Lazarus Church, where some zombies are hiding out eating pig brains in the hope (we are told) of living in peaceful co-existence with living humans. Wickham is a liaison to this community and – gasp – the community is not so benign as it is made out to be. Elizabeth’s feelings for Darcy in this film version overtly surface when Darcy rescues Lydia from Lazarus, where she has been taken prisoner by Wickham. Elizabeth reveals her true feelings for Darcy as he lays apparently unconscious after a climactic zombie battle at the walled city of London. Wickham does get his just reward in the movie, but it’s not nearly as delightful (in the book he is rendered paralyzed and incontinent after a carriage accident). 

Darcy is well played in the movie by Sam Riley, best known for his role as Ian Curtis in Control, a biopic about the lead singer of the post-punk bank Joy Division (OK, I had to Google Joy Division, too). A leading zombie killer, this Darcy doesn’t just put people off with his haughty behavior, he also disrupts dinner parties by loosing carrion flies to detect latent zombies (the flies can find undead flesh), and unceremoniously beheading them at the table. Lily James of Downton Abbey fame gives a feisty performance as Elizabeth, and is enjoyable as an action hero version of the Jane Austen heroine, who declares she will never trade her sword for a ring. Who-vians will recognize Matt Smith as Mr. Collins. Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) is the zombie-decimating Lady Catherine. 

This movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is clearly more zombies than Pride and Prejudice, although it’s entertaining to note that, apparently, zombie aficionados aren’t entirely satisfied with it as a horror film:
“While the insertion of romantic elements may appeal to some, personally the added genre muddles the overall action and semi-Horror elements of the film. It’s important to note that the romantic theme of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is a critical component, a base originally introduced in the novel written by Jane Austen.” 

Yes, DecayMag.  Who knew?

For me, the actual “added genre” in the movie – zombies – worked as a parody. Much has already been written about sub-currents of dread in Pride and Prejudice related to threats of invasion and war, and the zombie threat clearly personifies that dread. But more importantly, I think the present day popularity of zombie-themed entertainment reflects our own sub-currents of dread in an increasingly uncertain world. Thus the zombie threat connects the modern audience directly with people in Jane’s world. And even the substituted plot line of the Lazarus Church (clearly added to up the zombie-ante) retains a connection to Austen’s original – can’t Darcy’s intervention to effect Lydia’s marriage be seen as rescuing her, in a sense bringing her back from the metaphorical “death” that her flight with Wickham imposed?

Don’t get me wrong. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not a good movie. But it is good fun. 
<![CDATA[Sources for Bath Presentation - Jan. 10 Reading Group]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 22:46:17 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/sources-for-bath-presentation-jan-10-reading-groupHere are the sources for the Bath presentation by Margaret Harshbarger for our January 10, 2016, reading group meeting and discussion:
  1. Oxford English Dictionary
  2. Pamphlet of #1 Royal Crescent Bath Museum
  3. What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan
  4. England’s Thousand Best Houses by Simon Jenkins
  5. Austen Country by Tom Howard
  6. The Touring Book of Britain
  7. A Frivolous Distinction by Penelope Byrde
  8. A Dance with Jane Austen by Susannah Fullerton
  9. All Things Austen Vol. 1 by Kirstin Olsen
  10. Jane Austen by Brian Wilks
  11. Jane Austen’s Town and Country Style by Susan Watkins
  12. Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye
<![CDATA[Where technology and Jane Austen meet]]>Sun, 10 Jan 2016 06:20:11 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/where-technology-and-jane-austen-meetA local article focuses on Eugene-based writer Collins Hemingway, author of the new book, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. Hemingway, a former Microsoft businessman who majored in English, connects modern technology with Jane Austen's time:
"The early 1800s were as radical in their uptake of technology as the 21st century in our uptake of technology,” Hemingway said, prior to giving a reading from his newest work, “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” at the Wilsonville Public Library Dec. 6. “There is a parallel, and there’s an excitement in that period and a transformative kind of energy in that period that’s very similar to what we’re going through now.”
<![CDATA[Sense & Sensibility play in Portland opening Feb. 10]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 02:38:02 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/sense-sensibility-play-in-portland-opening-feb-10The Portland Actors Conservatory, located a few blocks west of the PSU campus, is staging a production of Sense & Sensibility, opening February 10th. This new adaptation by Kate Hammill is directed by Brenda Hubbard.

Information about the specific dates and tickets is available on the Portland Actors Conservatory website at 
<![CDATA[RSVP for Jan. 10 meeting]]>Sun, 03 Jan 2016 23:35:55 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/rsvp-for-jan-10-meetingOur first meeting of the year will be held at Alexandra Guerra's house on Sunday January 10, 2016. The topic will be the Pleasures and Dangers of Bath, presented by Margaret Harshbarger. Hope to see you there!

~ Margaret Christmann, Regional Coordinator
<![CDATA[Is 'Emma' the perfect novel?]]>Sat, 26 Dec 2015 21:57:36 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/is-emma-the-perfect-novelHere's an excellent piece by Slate's Laura Miller about Emma ​and the perfect novel:  http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2015/12/jane_austen_s_emma_is_the_perfect_novel.single.html

Below is an excerpt from the article:
It’s now more customary to rank Emma as Austen’s “most perfect” book. But given that Austen has a pretty good claim on the title of Most Perfect Novelist—she never published a bad or even a weak novel—and Emma is widely acknowledged to be her masterpiece, calling it her most perfect book is really just a sly way of asserting its supremacy in the form. Why not come right out and admit it? Emma, which was published 200 years ago today, is indeed the perfect novel.
<![CDATA[NYTimes.com: Jane Austen’s Guide to Alzheimer’s]]>Wed, 23 Dec 2015 18:09:51 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/nytimescom-jane-austens-guide-to-alzheimersJane Austen's works can truly touch every aspect of our lives. Here is a New York Times article, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/20/opinion/jane-austens-guide-to-alzheimers.html, about how Austen's novel Emma helped one woman during a caregiving crisis in her life:
Early on in tending to my mother, who had Alzheimer’s, I was sustained by other Austen novels, but during the middle stages of her disease it was all “Emma,” all the time. What started as entertainment soon became an important guide.
<![CDATA[How Jane Austen’s Emma changed the face of fiction]]>Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:37:19 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/how-jane-austens-emma-changed-the-face-of-fictionAn article from The Guardian, suggested by our own Pauline Beard, about how Jane Austen's Emma changed the face of fiction. An in-depth and interesting take on how Emma is so revolutionary a novel.

​Here is an excerpt from the article:
Emma, published 200 years ago this month, was revolutionary not because of its subject matter: Austen’s jesting description to Anna of the perfect subject for a novel – “Three or four families in a country village” – fits it well. It was certainly not revolutionary because of any intellectual or political content. But it was revolutionary in its form and technique. Its heroine is a self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours. The narrative was radically experimental because it was designed to share her delusions. The novel bent narration through the distorting lens of its protagonist’s mind. Though little noticed by most of the pioneers of fiction for the next century and more, it belongs with the great experimental novels of Flaubert or Joyce or Woolf. Woolf wrote that if Austen had lived longer and written more, “She would have been the forerunner of Henry James and of Proust”. In Emma, she is.
<![CDATA[Jane Austen's 240th birthday!]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 17:03:39 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/jane-austens-240th-birthdaySketch of Jane AustenSketch of Jane Austen
Today, December 16th, is Jane Austen's birthday! She was born in 1775, making 2015 her 240th birthday.

What other famous people does Jane Austen share a birthday with? Among others, Jane Austen shares a birthday with the following:
  • Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536)
  • ​Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806)
  • Leopold I of Belgium (1790-1865)
  • Noel Coward (1899-1973)
  • Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
  • Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)
  • Liv Ulmann (1938- )
  • Steven Bochco (1943- )

<![CDATA[Readings of 'The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen' from local author and regional member]]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 23:58:12 GMThttp://www.jasna-orswwa.org/home/readings-of-the-marriage-of-miss-jane-austen-from-local-author-and-regional-memberBook cover of 'The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen'
Collins Hemingway, a member of our local JASNA region and author of several books, will be giving a book reading of his novel, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, at 2 p.m.Saturday, December 5, at the 23rd and Thurman branch of the Multnomah County Library. Collins will also be giving another reading on Sunday, December 6, at the Wilsonville Library.
The novel reimagines the largely blank period of Austen’s life, 1802-1809, to ask how marriage might have changed her as a person and writer. It is not light fare but a serious look at life for women in the early 1800s. 

You can read more about the book, and enjoy extras like podcasts and book reviews, on the book's website, ​http://austenmarriage.com.