If Louisa Met Saoirse: On Bigotry and Casting Little Women

The new trailer for Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Little Women has gone live, and book lovers have gone into a delighted tizzy (except diehard fans of the Winona Ryder-Christian Bale film, of course). One unusual thing about Gerwig's new version, which surprisingly has gotten little press, is that these March sisters are distinctly less American. …

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Reasons to Own a Lot of Books that Don’t Spark Any Joy

Just like we infer the existence of a black hole by the behavior of matter around it, so I learned of the existence of Marie Kondo’s Netflix series based on a sudden flurry of posts on social media about how many books a person should own. Apparently, Kondo’s Tidying Up includes scenes of tidying up …

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Below the Bennets’ Stairs: Jo Baker’s Longbourn (book review)

Longbourn, Jo Baker’s 2013 semi-retelling of Pride and Prejudice, may well be the best-written Austen-adjacent text that I’ve read, in terms of prose style. And I have read… a lot. I use the term “semi-retelling” because the book is about the Longbourn servants, focalized through Sarah the housemaid, and doesn’t really concern the events of …

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Race, Christianity, and High Drama in The Woman of Colour (1808 book review)

Drawing again on that list of diverse Austen-adjacent texts that tipped me off about Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged, I also decided to check out The Woman of Colour: A Tale, an anonymous epistolary novel published in 1808. It's about the daughter of a female slave and a white Jamaican plantation owner, who is raised …

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Books Like Books Like Books: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (review)

What a puzzle this book is! As I mentioned last time, I've spend the summer preparing to teach a course on Jane Austen (with a popular culture twist), which meant I was forced (oh no!) to read and watch what I'm calling “Austen-adjacent” texts. In addition to sequels, adaptations, and modernizations, this category also includes books …

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Sense, Sensibility, & Strong Esteem: Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000 movie review)

The following review is the first in a series, looking at texts I examined for possible adoption in a "Jane Austen and Popular Culture" seminar. Over the past summer, I have spent some pleasant hours looking at a number of texts I am calling (for lack of a better, catch-all term), "Austen-adjacent." Most were written …

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