Janeite’s delight: Northanger Abbey (bonus Whoverse content)

Tonight’s Jane Austen on ABC stars Carey Mulligan, AKA Sally Sparrow, in the role of Isabella Thorpe. There is no TARDIS interaction to be expected though, simply those dimples being roguish.

Lucy Tartan will be having her weekly discussion of Sunday Austen over at Sorrow at Sills Bend (or at least I imagine that she will, she hasn’t put a post up for this weekend, but I doubt she’d miss it Update: her Northanger post now up here). Sadly I missed last week’s Persuasion because I was watching a Doctor Who marathon on cable (I may have even been watching Blink while Persuasion was on), so I also missed Rupert Penry-Jones (and Anthony Head) in breeches. Bugger.

Bonus Whoverse connection: Felicity Jones, who plays Catherine Morland in NA, also appears in an episode of the upcoming 4th season of the resurrected Doctor Who series, episode entitled The Unicorn and the Wasp. For a different period drama delight, she also appears as Lady Cordelia Flyte in the completed but not yet screened remake of Brideshead Revisited.

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16 replies

  1. Oh, har. This scene with the girls in their combinations, doing each other’s hair and whispering about scandalous romantic flights of fancy, is about the Most Femmeslashy Thing Evah.

  2. You’re right, it is. Especially with the able support of Isabella’s Décolletage of Doom.

  3. Shakespeare, check. Dickens, check.

    Has the good doctor ever met Jane Austen on his travels?

  4. avps, he gets to meet Agatha Christie in Season 4 (actually, in the very episode I mentioned that Felicity Jones appears in, The Unicorn and the Wasp). I suspect that one famous British author per season is about the limit, so we may have to wait for the next season to see the Doctor in Regency breeches.
    David Tennant did look quite fetching in Venetian breeches (as did Rupert Penry-Jones, who while not pictured here did play the bad guy in Casanova in a delightfully ruthless combination of breeches and boots).

  5. I couldn’t make it through this one, but I noticed the JA industry recycles its heroines as Sylvestra le Touzel played Fanny in the 1983 MP (and was in a 1968 episode of Dr Who). I have an older adaptation of NA with the most bizarre musical score and Colin Baker as Mr Tilney (to complete the who-JA circle).

  6. O noes Peter Firth not Colin Baker. I hang my head in shame. I am a very poor excuse for a fanperson. I sentence myself to 15 hours watching P&P.

  7. I sentence myself to 15 hours watching P&P.

    I’m sure that I’ve done something truly dreadful today that requires me to be your comrade in punishment there, su.

  8. Oh dear, she’s much too pretty to play Cordelia Flyte.
    Has Dr Who ever met Jane Austen – Bwca / Brownie sent me this article which contemplates the very same question. Recommended reading.

  9. And speaking of Dr Who crossovers, Billie Piper is in Mansfield Park on Sunday.

  10. I saw that was coming up. She got quite good reviews too.
    I think Piper’s been very clever with the variety of parts she’s been playing over the last few years. No pigeon-holing for her, eh?

  11. That David Baddiel article was terrific – thanks Laura (and Brownie).
    The view he’s arguing against, that of Austen as an embittered spinster does irk me, I confess. I see her as a deliberate spinster, who knowing that she had neither the face nor the fortune to attract a great match decided that life as a spinster was infinitely more attractive than life as a wife without the comforts of prosperity, so long as she could earn a comfortable independent living, which she did.

  12. Probably also that the demands of being a wife, and necessarily being supported by her husband would probably mean that she would have had to stop writing. Or at least publicly making money out of it.

  13. That’s spot on Mindy. Austen was engaged for one night only to a considerably wealthy gentleman and in the morning called it off. The speculation I’ve read indicated it was the realisation that marrying would mean giving up her writing that clinched (or unclinched) the deal.
    Let’s all be grateful she put her talent and passion first!

  14. That’s a very good point. Even being the wife of a wealthy man meant devoting a lot of effort to supervising staff and being the gracious hostess, as well as the inevitable extras of supervising the nannies and governesses once the children arrived. That would definitely cut severely into writing time.

  15. Jane Austen’s brother Edward was about as well-off as the man whose offer of marriage she knocked back. His wife Elizabeth had had eleven pregnancies by the time she died, at 35.
    Another brother, James, also wore out his first wife with pregnancies and births.

  16. Good point, Laura. Forget about the exigencies of managing a household as the children arrive, merely surviving the children arriving for any length of time was an achievement that not many married gentlewomen could manage.
    They might have managed better if they’d been supported in nursing their own children at the breast, so that their pregnancies would have been further spaced apart (working class women had no option other than feeding their own children, so their pregnancies were less frequent, and the truly upper class must have known more about contraception than they ever let on to the plebs, given their reproduction rate).
    The married gentlewomen’s problem was in pregnancies following each other too closely without the body having time to mend and strengthen in between, leading ultimately to far too many a sickly body succumbing to physical overstressing at an early age.

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