WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

I’m sure they were told it couldn’t – or shouldn’t – be done (hence the tongue-in-check Word of the Week) . . . and look at them now. As a writer, I can totally identify and empathize. I hear contradictory advice all the time (“write what you know,” then “write your dreams and fantastical thoughts;” “don’t edit as you go,” then “don’t let your mistakes get too out of hand as you write,” etc., etc.).

This week, as we X more squares on our calendars of confinement, might I suggest a dive into the world of YouTube Jane Austen web series? None of them are new. It’s likely you’ve seen many, if not all of them. But just in case you haven’t, for your delectation, in no particular order . . .

You’re welcome.

Windmills in the Head

Foolish projects.

Pride and Prejudice

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

“My year long video diary of my sisters, my best friend Charlotte, and eventually a guy named Darcy.”

Emma

“Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse is reimagined as a young lifestyle coach and matchmaking entrepreneur.”

 

Sense and Sensibility

Project Dashwood

“Teen vlogger Margaret Dashwood documents a year in the life of her family.”

 

Elinor and Marianne Take Barton

“Updating the action to a modern-day university, ‘Elinor and Marianne Take Barton’ explores the highs and lows of being young, (relatively) independent and dealing with friends, family and boys. As well as the video diary of Marianne Dashwood, the series follows the other characters through social media and Tumblr blogs.”

 

Mansfield Park

From Mansfield With Love

“From Mansfield With Love follows the life of Frankie Price as she posts a series of vlog letters detailing the ups and downs of life at Mansfield Park.”

 

Northanger Abbey

Northbound

“Join Catherine Morland as she chronicles the perils of young adulthood and her many (mis)adventures through her vlogs on YouTube.”

 

The Cate Morland Chronicles

“Cate Morland, a recent journalism graduate who is obsessed with fan culture, particularly of the short-lived cult series The Mysteries of Udolpho, finds her new job at an LA entertainment magazine puts her in contact with many different people in the pop culture sphere, but none more exciting than Henry Tilney, the former star of The Mysteries of Udolpho himself…”

 

Sanditon

Welcome to Sanditon

“Welcome to Sanditon relocates the action from the English seaside to a California beach town, and replaces the novel’s protagonist with LBD’s [Lizzie Bennet Diaries} Gigi Darcy. Gigi has come to Sanditon, CA to run a beta demo of the Pemberley Digital Domino application. The residents of Sanditon have all been invited to join in the test, and discover how this “life-revealing” app performs.”

 

All-Purpose Jane Austen

The Jane Games

“A web series in which Jane Austen and her characters abandon pride and good sense to compete on a modern day reality show.”

 

Persuasion did have two web series that I watched, albeit a couple of years ago, that have since disappeared entirely. Just in case my search skills failed me, their titles were The Elliots and Anne Elliot (although this last one petered out after four episodes; I kept hoping the actress would do more because it was a promising series).

 

Bonus Entry

I am no fan of anything bearing the name Brontë, so it took me by surprise that I really enjoyed the web series based on Jane Eyre. Maybe it was far enough removed from the source material, and true aficionados will not be so approving.

The Autobiography of Jane Eyre

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Pug

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Pug

If you’re a Regency era aficionado, the mere mention of this week’s word evokes an immediate image.

Lady Bertram and Pug, from Mansfield Park, 1999, starring Lindsay Duncan.

To the education of her daughters Lady Bertram paid not the smallest attention. She had not time for such cares. She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very indulgent to the latter when it did not put herself to inconvenience, guided in everything important by Sir Thomas, and in smaller concerns by her sister.
~Mansfield Park, Chapter 2

Pug

A Dutch pug; a kind of lap-dog, formerly much in vogue.

Yelena and Alexandra Kourakine by Vladimir Borovikovsky, 1802, The Louvre.

I admit that most Pugs I have ever encountered were overweight and overindulged in every sense of the world, with owners very much like Lady Bertram (and not all of them female, mind you). As with those I know with Pugs, Lady Bertram is never far from her beloved. When her husband, Sir Thomas, returns from his trip to the Caribbean, she is excited to see him. Although she moves Pug a bit, he is not displaced by much.

By not one of the circle was he listened to with such unbroken, unalloyed enjoyment as by his wife, who was really extremely happy to see him, and whose feelings were so warmed by his sudden arrival as to place her nearer agitation than she had been for the last twenty years. She had been almost fluttered for a few minutes, and still remained so sensibly animated as to put away her work, move Pug from her side, and give all her attention and all the rest of her sofa to her husband.
~Mansfield Park, Chapter 19

Portrait of Sylvie de la Rue by François van der Donckt, 1806, Groeninge Museum, Bruges.

Mary Wollstonecraft has one of the best quotes about little dogs – and for my purposes I am going to assume she is speaking of Pugs – that I have ever come across in her book, In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Although her statement says more about the owner than the dog. She groused:

I have been desired to observe the pretty tricks of a lap-dog, that my perverse fate forced me to travel with. Is it surprising that such a tasteless being should rather caress this dog than her children? Or, that she should prefer the rant of flattery to the simple accents of sincerity?
~Chapter 12

Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna by Louis-Michel van Loo, 1759, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.

The Pug is considered one of the oldest breeds in the world, documented by none other than Confucius (known as Lo-Sze in Chinese) in 551 BC. According to Georgian England’s Top Dogs, they were valued for their “small size, short coat, and their Prince Mark – three wrinkles on the forehead and a vertical bar form a marking that repeats the Chinese character for Prince.” By the early 16th century, direct trade to China brought notice of the noble Pug to Europe; they were said to have arrived in England via the Glorious Revolution of William and Mary in 1688. Unfortunately, they became the indolent discriminating discerning lady’s accessory du jour, along with an African American page boy.  As such, the popularity of the Pug as fashion statement slowly declined as the 19th century, hopefully as sensibility progressed.

The Drumplier Pugs by Gourlay Steell, circa 1867, via Wellcome Images.

But never fear! The Pug was down but not out. Queen Victoria is credited with bringing back the popularity of the breed: she kept thirty-six over the course of her reign. The first Pugs arrived in America by the end of the Civil War, and were one of the fifteen recognized breeds of the American Kennel Club in 1885. Not bad for a dog that essentially warmed laps, tickled toes, and “photo” bombed paintings of ladies.

Portrait of a Lady with her Pug Dog, Mid 19th Century German School in the style of the 16th Century, Bridgeman Images.

In my family we have a silly saying: if you can kill the dog by stepping on it, it’s not the pet for us. This likely says more about us than the appropriateness of tiny dogs. William Hogarth would no doubt reprimand our temerity, as well as stoutly disagree that Pugs were only for the ladies. He was the proud owner of several, likened their blunt faces and mannerisms to his own, and, according to Rivaat Zarlif of Sartle, had “the little gargoyles show up in lots of paintings as satirical jabs at pompous characters in his paintings.”

Self-Portrait with Pug Dog by William Hogarth, 1745, Tate Gallery, London.