“I am never too busy to think of S&S,” Jane Austen wrote to her sister, referring to her 1811 novel by its initials, “I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child.” Sense & Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first published novel. First begun when she was in the throes of her doomed dalliance with Thomas Lefroy, the novel contains the familiar Austen project of a Hero, a Heroine, a Search for Love, and the Obstacle Called Money. In this case, the heroines are two sisters named Elinor and Marianne, representing the “sense” (prudence, restraint) and “sensibility” (passion, impulsiveness) of the title.
In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the writing of Sense & Sensibility; the still common themes contained within this classic novel; and the 1995 film adaptation, in which Emma Thompson, herself in the midst of an Austen-like entanglement, nevertheless drives a shiv into Jacke’s battered old heart.
She was admired by Dr. Johnson, revered by Jane Austen, and referred to as “the mother of English fiction” by Virginia Woolf. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and works of Frances Burney (1752-1840), author of the influential early novels Evelina (1778), Cecilia (1782), and Camilla (1796).
In the Christmas holidays of 1795-96, a young Irishman named Thomas Lefroy left his legal studies in London to visit some relatives who lived in the countryside. While staying with them, he attended a series of provincial balls that also happened to be attended by the Austens, including the 20-year-old Jane Austen. “I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved,” Jane later wrote to her sister Cassandra. “Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking.” What transpired between these two young people? How did it end? And could it have been the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice, the novel that famously introduced a charming young woman to a mysterious outsider at just such a ball? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at what we know – and what we tantalizingly don’t – about the young Jane Austen and her dalliance with Thomas Lefroy.
Jacke starts a new Thursday Theme with a look at genre fiction. First up: Romance novels! Every year, over a billion dollars are spent on these books about love and relationships and…well, what else do we consider fundamental to a romance novel? Sex? A happy ending? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the history of the romance novel, the efforts to define the category, and some of the leading examples, both current and historical.
“Our dear enemies,” a French writer once said of the English. Englishman John Cleese called them “our natural enemies” and joked “if we have to fight anyone, I say let’s fight the French.” With the exception of a few big twentieth-century alliances, the French and the English have been at each others’ throats for a thousand years. Occasionally this has meant taking up arms and fighting for land or religion or rule. But what about culture? What if the battlefield were a literary one? What if supremacy was determined not by the sword but by the pen? In this episode, Jacke and Mike choose their sides and get ready to wage a literary battle between two proud, rivalrous, and highly literate nations.
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In 1813, a young author named Jane Austen built on the success of her popular novel Sense and Sensibility with a new novel about the emotional life of an appealing protagonist named Elizabeth Bennet, who overcomes her mistaken first impressions and finds true love with the enigmatic and ultimately appealing Mr. Darcy. The novel was called Pride and Prejudice, and for more than 200 years it’s been celebrated as one of the great pinnacles in the history of novels – and indeed, in all of literature. What was Jane Austen’s background, and how did she come to write such a marvelous novel? What accounts for the book’s success? And what lessons can we take from it today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at one of the most beloved works in literary history – and tells a story of his own youthful efforts to avoid being part of someone else’s Austen-influenced plot.
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When are two artists or characters more than the sum of their parts? How is that magic created? And what does it mean for the rest of us? Part two of a conversation with host Jacke Wilson and his guest, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, on great literary duos.