Reading from my books: Saturday at 2:45/Sunday between 1 & 2.
Writing my name in books and talking Austen: Saturday 11:15 – 12:30, 3:00 – 5:20/Sunday 12 – 1, 2 – 4
It’s less than a week until the Decatur Book Festival near my former home of Atlanta, Georgia. The festival sounds wonderfully exciting, and the good people of the Jane Austen Society of North America-Georgia chapter have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring Jane to the Festival. The even attracts 100,000 annually and, although not all are Austen lovers, I imagine that more readers will be exposed to Austen and her literary progeny at one time than ever before.
A book festival–what a wonderful thing in a time when “story” is making another leap in form, spreading further into lives as ebooks living in “clouds”! Whatever would Jane think? Even fifteen years ago when I first started writing An Assembly Such as This, such a thing was not on my horizon. I thought I was quite up on technology by writing by computer rather than with pen and paper, composing by the soft click of the keyboard rather than the explosive bang of the typewriter. So now the dream is to appear in e-ink and be drawn down from a cloud into people’s lives via such strange sounding devices as Nooks and Kindles that will read to you as well, rather than enshrined in bound paper packages.
What will be next? Book glasses, I suppose. Text will stream across the lenses and a tiny microphone will chirp the text to you in surround-sound realism, complete with a musical score. And Jane will make that leap as well: deftly , gracefully, compellingly. Technology nor shifting public taste will hinder her advance through cultures because she writes of the human heart in all its “follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies” that lead it into joy and sorrow in every culture, in every time. Although we are not early 19th century ladies and gentleman, we can still recognize ourselves and our neighbors in her words and, perhaps, understand and profit from that recognition to become the gracious ladies and gentlemen of our own times.
Hope to see you in Decatur!
PS There’s a list of all the Austen authors at the festival and a give away contest of An Assembly Such as This and Young Master Darcy at Darcyholicsdiversions.com. Scurry on over!
O God of Earth and Altar
O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter.
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide;
Take not Thy thunder from us;
But take away our pride.
From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men;
From sale and profanation
Of honor and the sword;
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord.
Tie in a living tether,
The prince and priest and thrall;
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to Thee.
Powerful, unabashed words, aren’t they? This is actually a hymn (For music, click here) out of Cantus Christi, the hymnal my church uses. One of the things I appreciate about Cantus Christi is the range of the hymnody. From the Psalms through the latin 3rd century chants and confessions, and up to 2000 AD, the collection is meaty in conception and musically challenging at times. Most Sunday mornings I must wipe tears from my face and assure my fellow worshippers that I’m fine, only that I cannot stop tears that rise from the many hymns of bold truth and the beauty of fitly strung words. They sing faith and conviction into my heart. “O God of Earth and Altar” is one of those hymns.
When would you think it was written? In some ways it seems ancient and in other ways like this morning’s news. The immediacy of the issues for our day is undeniable.
-1906- The music is from a tune called Kings Lynn described as “traditional English melody. ” The words were penned by G.K. Chesterton, a prolific writer whose work is cataloged by Wikipedia as “…around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic theologian and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist for the Daily News, the Illustrated London News, and his own paper, G. K.’s Weekly; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica, including the entry on Charles Dickens and part of the entry on Humour in the 14th edition (1929). His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel. He was a convinced Christian long before he was received into the Church, and Christian themes and symbolism appear in much of his writing.”
Chesterton is someone that, as a Christian and a writer, I’d like to know more about.
Someone, somewhere is very confused. No, Frederick Wentworth is NOT employed at Wytherngate Press, although he is a very busy man within the novels the Press publishes. Or is it that author Susan Kaye has put so much blood, sweat, and tears into bringing Capt. Wentworth to life, that he actually has come to life and is using the Press as his forwarding address? Could he be desperately trying to set up a life in 21st century America and needing a line of credit? Will he be approved? Hmmm. Curiouser and curiouser!
One thing is for sure, we intend to keep a closer eye on our mailbox, and if he appears to claim his mail, we promise to get a photo…and the full story!
Wytherngate Press has announced a May Sale on Laura Hile’s series Mercy’s Embrace and Susan Kaye’s wonderful Frederick Wentworth, Captain series.
If you scurry over to the Press (www.wytherngatepress.com), you can avail yourself of a price cut of $3.50 for each volume or $11 each. For eBooks, go directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble where those versions are on sale for $4.99 – $5.99 each.
Laura is the featured writer this month at Austenprose (www.austenprose.com) Don’t miss the interviews and contests featuring Mercy’s Embrace–we’re very excited for the attention her marvelous series is attracting!
I came across the publishing announcement for A Jane Austen Devotional yesterday as I was paging through the new Christian titles for January and February sent out by a book catalog for stores and libraries. Two thoughts occurred simultaneously: “Oh, how interesting!” and “O-o-h, why didn’t I think of that?” Austen’s wonderful novels are nothing if not studies of character. For those with eyes to see, the unspoken standard by which her characters morally stand or fall is that which she imbibed from birth, the beautiful as well as sharply discerning words of Scripture. If you have caught up with Miniature & Morals by Peter Leithart, the wonderful analysis of the depth of Christian influence in Austen’s novels that I mentioned several months ago, a devotional that takes its subjects from Austen sounds like the best of all possible worlds!
The “Look Inside” option takes you inside the Devotional to a small selection that gives the reader a taste of what insight Austen’s characters might give on select principles in the Bible. For instance, Mr Knightly’s caution expressed to Miss Weston on the inappropriateness of Emma’s friendship with Harriet Smith, that it is of benefit to neither woman and, potentially, actively detrimental to them both is paired with the Biblical injunction that “The fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” Proverbs 18:2 and “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” Probers 13:20.
If what is wanted is a moment of reflection during the day, this pairing of Austen and Scripture is just the ticket. Jane cannot help but give flesh and bones (and amusing dialogue) that illustrate Biblical principles, for her world lived and breathed them still. My personal feeling is that A Jane Austen Devotional is a respectable start, but that there is so much more richness and depth to be explored that it does not discourage me from hoping, someday, to engage in a pairing of Scripture and Austen myself.
What a wonderful and deeply gratifying surprise to find Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman highlighted in a Library Journal article this week reviewing P.D. James’s new mystery Death Comes to Pemberley!
Aidan, Pamela. An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman. Touchstone: S. & S. 2006. 288p. ISBN 9780743291347. pap. $14. Aidan, Pamela. Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman. Touchstone: S. & S. 2006. 320p. ISBN 9780743291361. pap. $14. Aidan, Pamela. These Three Remain: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman. Touchstone: S. & S. 2007. 464p. ISBN 9780743291378. pap. $16.
While no one can match Austen, readers open to a good effort may appreciate Aidan’s take on Pride and Prejudice told through the eyes of Darcy. In this series spanning three volumes (the last is the best), Aidan wisely nods in Austen’s direction rather than attempting to mirror her. She fills the trilogy, which covers the events of Darcy’s rocky courtship of Elizabeth, with period detail, humor, literary references, and a touch of the gothic. This inventive retelling largely keeps the plot whole while necessarily filling in the spaces of Austen’s novel where Darcy is absent. He must, for example, account for his time away from Elizabeth and engage in proper reflection to overcome his judgments on her class and family. Fans willing to be entertained will be charmed by Aidan’s leisurely consideration of Darcy’s character.
About Neal Wyatt
Neal Wyatt compiles LJ‘s online feature Wyatt’s World and is the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers’ advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader’s Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net
You can read the entire article here: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2011/12/readers-advisory/ra-crossroads-love-murder-jane-austen