Celebrating Jane Austen
This week's column is by Language Editor Joanna Westcombe.
At this time of year, the A–Z is a favourite format of newspaper journalists and editors.
It's a useful way of summarizing news and events — all those that readers have probably either missed or forgotten about from the previous year, or will probably miss or forget about in the next.
Right at the beginning of the alphabet for 2013, where there's less chance of being forgotten, is Austen, Miss Jane.
She published her famous novel Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago. This is a cause for celebration. Spotlight is getting in early to offer its congratulations with our January language feature, "Celebrating a classic". The article combines entertainment and information, all dedicated to this very special book. No doubt the rest of the world's media will follow us soon, so expect features and commentaries and quizzes and spin-offs and "modern-day adaptations" galore throughout the year.
One place that is expecting a few more visitors in 2013 is the house at Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane Austen spent the last years of her life. It's now a museum. It has set up a special website which, it claims, lists all the events celebrating the book's bicentenary — not just at the museum, but around the world.
Once you've prepared yourself by reading Spotlight, you could start your tour at Jane Austen's house with the exhibition "The Story of Pride and Prejudice". This runs until the end of May, but you might want to make sure you've seen it before you hop over to Australia for the Jane Austen festival in April. Back in Britain in June, there's a conference at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.
just about manage a three-week "historic costumes and dance tour" of "beautiful costume collections, gorgeous historic houses and gardens" around England before heading off to the States to attend the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. This still gives you time to revisit the museum for a look inside Jane Austen's wardrobe — or at least the costumes from the BBC's 1995 adaptation.In September, you could
Most of the "Austentatious" events around the bicentenary seem to involve a "Regency ball", where you can exercise your mind and body, and afternoon tea, where you can recover — or at least recover all the calories you've danced off.
Penguin at level 5 (for B2 learners).Somehow I fear that I will be missing all of the above, but I do intend to read the book again this year. Why don't you? It's been translated into at least 40 languages, but you might instead like to try a graded reader. Oxford has one at level 3 (for B1 learners), and
Recent "Behind the Scenes"