Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jane Austen Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations in Men

It's true.  She did.

But I love her anyway.

Earlier this month, agent extraordinaire Joanna Volpe and I took the fabulous FinePrint interns to the Morgan Museum where we checked out the Jane Austen exhibit: A Woman's Wit, Jane Austen's Life and Legacy.

From the Morgan Museum:
This exhibition explores the life, work, and legacy of Jane Austen (1775–1817), regarded as one of the greatest English novelists. Offering a close-up portrait of the iconic British author, whose popularity has surged over the last two decades with numerous motion picture and television adaptations of her work, the show provides tangible intimacy with Austen through the presentation of more than 100 works, including her manuscripts, personal letters, and related materials, many of which the Morgan has not exhibited in over a quarter century.


A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy also includes first and early illustrated editions of Austen's novels as well as drawings and prints depicting people, places, and events of biographical significance. A highlight of the exhibition is a specially commissioned film by the noted Italian director Francesco Carrozzini, featuring interviews with artists and scholars such as Siri Hustvedt, Fran Lebowitz, Sandy Lerner, Colm Tóibín, Harriet Walter, and Cornel West.

The exhibition is organized into three sections: Austen's life and personal letters, her works, her legacy, and concludes with the documentary-style film.


I took a few pictures (without my flash) until the security guard scolded me.  But I did managed to snag this great shot of a handwritten Jane Austen "plan of a novel."

The real event began though downstairs in JP Morgan's personal library (My dream library!) where Jane Seymour did a fantastic dramatic reading of the beginning of Pride and Prejudice.  (I just hadn't realized how incredible dramatic readings could be until I managed to see - in person - someone do it so right.)


Oh yes, this is the dream library!

And this was all in celebration of the release of Beth Pattillo's new novel Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart.

Claire Prescott is a sensible woman who believes in facts and figures, not fairy tales. But when she agrees to present a paper to a summer symposium at Oxford on her ailing sister’s behalf, Claire finds herself thrown into an adventure with a gaggle of Jane Austen-loving women all on the lookout for their Mr. Darcy. 

Claire isn’t looking for Mr. Anyone. She’s been dating Neil, a nice — if a bit negligent — sports fanatic. But when a tall, dark and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire suddenly discover her inner romantic heroine? Her chance meeting with a mysterious woman who claims to have an early version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — in which Lizzie ends up with someone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy — leads to an astounding discovery about the venerated author’s own struggle to find the right hero for Lizzie Bennett. 

Neil’s unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire’s journey to finding her own romantic lead. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is the story of a woman who finds that love isn’t logical and that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected of places.

Her first book Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of my life.  (Okay not really, but I swear I feel like the cover of the book was stolen from my diary.)  It is truthfully one of my favorite modern Jane Austen-esque works of fiction.

Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father said she should — a respectable marriage, a teaching job, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good, as her favorite author might say, until the day Emma finds her husband with another woman. Suddenly, all her romantic notions a la Austen are exposed for the foolish dreams they are.
Denied tenure in the wake of the scandal, Emma packs what few worldly possessions she has left and heads to England to find the missing letters of Jane Austen. A reclusive widow claims to have the author’s correspondence, but she allows Emma to see the letters only if she promises never to tell anyone about them. Emma reluctantly agrees and sets off across Austen’s England — from Steventon to Bath to Lyme Regis — to complete a series of tasks that bring her closer and closer to the secret Jane Austen hoped to bury. And the reappearance of Emma’s old friend Adam doesn’t make her quest any easier.
As Emma uncovers the legendary author’s innermost thoughts, she begins to understand the reasons for her idol’s secrecy and Austen’s own struggles as a woman of faith. Laced with excerpts from the missing letters, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of a woman betrayed who discovers the true meaning of loyalty.

14 comments:

elizabeth said...

Both of these books sound good! Not my usual read, but I'm intrigued.
Sounds like you had fun at the Morgan Museum. I'll have to go there one day!

Myrna Foster said...

I really enjoyed "Jane Austen Ruined My Life." I'm happy to see it has a sequel.

And that library looked perfectly dreamy.

Sarah said...

It sounds like you had a great time! So Jane was an outliner? <3 the picture!

And both books sound great. I can't wait to check them out!

Christi Goddard said...

I love Jane Austen so much. Persuasion has always been my favorite. I'll need to check these books out.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Both books are in my TBR pile and now I REALLY REALLY want to go to that exhibit!!

Tracey said...

I love Jane Austen so I'm going to have to check out those books. And OMG - I want that library!

beth said...

Adding Jane Austin Ruined My Life to my Amazon cart now...

Lisa Desrochers said...

I'd love to see that exibit. JARML is one in my HUGE TBR stack.

Shelley Watters said...

Both books sound amazing. I will definitely add them to my 'to read list'. Did you rep both books?

The library looks incredible. I would love to have a library like that!

Brandy said...

That's what the Princess Bride did to me. I've dumped every boyfriend I've had who didn't throw himself down an mountain yelling "as you wish." Really, what's so difficult about that?

thebookishtypebookreviews said...

Jane Austen is my hero. This exhibit sounds soooo amazing! I absolutely agree - JP Morgan's library looks like the Heaven I envision. The two books you mention are definitely going on my reading list!

suzie townsend said...

Elizabeth - they're not usually my typical read either, but I really enjoyed both of them!

Sarah - I took that picture of the outline and the security guard almost tackled me :) It was so worth it.

Frankie - You must go to the exhibit. It is awesome :)

Tracey - I want to get married in that library.

Beth - You'll like it :)

Lisa - Come back! :) I'll go again!

Brandy - I might have to quote you. That is exactly what I want in a man - why is that so hard to find?

Suzette Saxton said...

Thanks for sharing the field trip! Sounds like pure bliss.

I just bought Jane Austen Ruined My Life and What I Saw and How I Lied. Thanks for the suggestions!

Christina Farley said...

Okay, so I'm terribly jealous of you now. I'd love to see that exhibit! I'm off to find those books now. They sound fabulous. Thanks.

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?