24 episodes

Ellen and Harriet are a mother and daughter who have been talking about Jane Austen together since Harriet was first old enough to read her. In this podcast, we will be doing a close reading of the books.In each episode, we will look at a few chapters. As well as talking about anything that strikes us in the chapters, we will also pick a favourite sentence, have a discussion about one of the characters, and then Ellen will give a social historian perspective about some element of the nineteenth century that seems pertinent, and Harriet will talk about the chapters in pop culture adaptations of the book.

Reading Jane Austen Harriet and Ellen

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 17 Ratings

Ellen and Harriet are a mother and daughter who have been talking about Jane Austen together since Harriet was first old enough to read her. In this podcast, we will be doing a close reading of the books.In each episode, we will look at a few chapters. As well as talking about anything that strikes us in the chapters, we will also pick a favourite sentence, have a discussion about one of the characters, and then Ellen will give a social historian perspective about some element of the nineteenth century that seems pertinent, and Harriet will talk about the chapters in pop culture adaptations of the book.

    S03E02 Mansfield Park: Episode 2, Chapters 4-7

    S03E02 Mansfield Park: Episode 2, Chapters 4-7

    In this episode, we read Chapters 4 to 7 of Mansfield Park. We talk about the character-revealing scenes, how the presentation of Fanny may make some readers dislike her, why Maria became engaged to Mr Rushworth, and Henry Crawford’s behaviour.
    We discuss the character of Mary Crawford – who is perhaps almost as divisive as Fanny Price – and then Ellen talks about baronets, Members of Parliament, and the idea of ‘interest’. Harriet considers how the three adaptations, and two of the modernisations, present these chapters. 
    Things we mention: 
    General and character discussion:
    John Wiltshire [Editor], The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen: Mansfield Park (2005)Lionel Trilling, “Mansfield Park“, Partisan Review 21 (September-October 1954): 492-511. Also published in Encounter, September 1954: 9-19.Sheila Kaye-Smith and G.B. Stern, Talking of Jane Austen (1943) and More Talk of Jane Austen (1950)John Mullan, Live at the Hay Festival (2014) [YouTube]Kingsley Amis, “What Became of Jane Austen?”, The Spectator, 4 October 1957 – republished in What Became of Jane Austen? And Other Questions (1970)The Daily Knightley (2021) [podcast] Popular culture discussion:
    Adaptations:BBC, Mansfield Park (1983) – starring Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell (6 episodes)Miramax, Mansfield Park (1999) – starring Frances O’Connor and Jonny Lee MillerITV, Mansfield Park (2007) – starring Billie Piper and Blake RitsonModernisations:YouTube, Foot in the Door Theatre, From Mansfield With Love (2014-2015)D.E. Stevenson, Celia’s House (1943)Creative commons music used: 
    Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 12 in F Major, ii. Adagio.Extract from Joseph Haydn, Piano Sonata No. 38. Performance by Ivan Ilić, recorded in Manchester in December, 2006. File originally from IMSLP.Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 13 in B-Flat Major, iii. Allegretto Grazioso. File originally from Musopen.Extract from George Frideric Handel, Suite I, No. 2 in F Major, ii. Allegro. File originally from Musopen. Extract from Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major. File originally from Musopen. 

    • 59 min
    S03E01.5 Mansfield Park, Extras from episode 1

    S03E01.5 Mansfield Park, Extras from episode 1

    This is a bit of an in-between episode. About two months ago, when we were getting ready to record Episode 2, Ellen came down with a bad virus – not COVID, but recovery has been a slow process. We’re just about to start recording again, but it means there’s going to be more of a gap before Episode 2, and probably between the other episodes as well, since we don’t have any edited and ready to go in advance. 
    To fill in the space before Episode 2, we’ve put together some of the bits we had to edit out of Episode 1. It’s a bit disjointed, but we hope you enjoy it.
     Creative commons music used: 
    Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 12 in F Major, ii. Adagio.Extract from Joseph Haydn, Piano Sonata No. 38. Performance by Ivan Ilić, recorded in Manchester in December, 2006. File originally from IMSLP.Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 13 in B-Flat Major, iii. Allegretto Grazioso. File originally from Musopen.Extract from George Frideric Handel, Suite I, No. 2 in F Major, ii. Allegro. File originally from Musopen.Extract from Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major. File originally from Musopen.

    • 20 min
    S03E01 Mansfield Park, Chapters 1 to 3

    S03E01 Mansfield Park, Chapters 1 to 3

    In this episode, we read the first three chapters of Mansfield Park. We give a brief publishing history, and talk about how the opening chapters really prepare the way for the rest of the book, with all of the characters and relationships being set up, how the three Miss Wards come from a not dissimilar background from Pride and Prejudice’s Miss Gardiners (Mrs Bennet and Mrs Phillips), and how the novel’s themes of education and principle are introduced. The character we talk about is Mrs Norris.
    In a longer than usual historical segment, Ellen talks about the historical background to Sir Thomas’s estate in Antigua, and the extent to which all members of the gentry were complicit in slavery. We follow this up with a conversation on how discussions of slavery are now part of the discourse on Mansfield Park. Harriet identifies four different approaches:
    People who can’t read the book because of the connection with slaveryPeople who feel that perhaps the estate in Antigua did not use enslaved peoplePeople who feel that the novel is about slavery – and, specifically, that it is an abolitionist novelPeople who feel that slavery is part of the context of the novel – one of the aspects of Janen Austen’s society that today we find abhorrent – but it is not a focus of the novel. We need to be open to discussing the novel in a post-colonial light, but that does not mean the novel is about slavery. We would like to thank Damianne Scott, who runs the Facebook page Black Girl Loves Jane, for reviewing the historical segment for us, and providing feedback.
    To finish the episode, Harriet gives an overview of various popular culture versions of Mansfield Park.
    For a list of references and other links, see this episode on our website.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    S02E10 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 47 to 50

    S02E10 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 47 to 50

    In this episode, we read the final chapters of Sense and Sensibility. We talk about Elinor being the ‘moral spokesperson’ for the book, why Marianne marries Colonel Brandon, how Edward is less dashing than both Willoughby and Brandon, the social and financial gap between Elinor and Marianne after their marriages, and Lucy’s marriage to Robert. We also revisit the sense vs sensibility concept, and how the novel is both flawed and wonderful.
     We discuss the character of Elinor, then Ellen talks about art, music and writing, and Harriet takes a final look at the popular culture versions. 
    Things we mention:
    References:
     Marjorie Theobauld, Knowing Women: Origins of Women’s Education in Nineteenth-Century Australia (1996) Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (1997)Robert Chapman [Editor], Jane Austen’s Letters to her Sister Cassandra and Others (1969)Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers:
    Married/de factoMary Brunton (1778–1818): Self-Control (1810)Fanny Burney (1752–1840): Cecilia (1782 – written before she was married), Camilla (1796 – written after she was married) Anna Barbauld (1743–1825)Martha Sherwood (1775–1851): The Fairchild Family (1818)Mary Shelley (1797–1851)Margaret Gatty (1809–1873)Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865)Anna Lefroy (1793–1872)George Eliot (1793–1872)  SingleCharlotte Brontë (1816–1855) Emily Brontë (1818–1848) Anne Brontë (1820–1849) Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849): Belinda (1801)Hannah More (1745–1833): Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808) Susan Ferrier (1782–1854) Read more: Adaptations of the book, Modernisations of the book, Creative Commons music used.

    • 59 min
    S02E09 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 42 to 46

    S02E09 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 42 to 46

    In this episode, we read Chapters 42 to 46 of Sense and Sensibility. We talk about how Marianne’s illness is presented (including the un-dramatic way in which she gets sick, and the lack of emotional response), what Colonel Brandon could be doing all day, how Mrs Dashwood is pushing Colonel Brandon and Marianne together, and Jane Austen’s use of grotesques.
    We discuss Willoughby (with a digression onto Miss Grey), and Ellen talks about medical practitioners in the early nineteenth century. Harriet reviews how the popular culture versions deal with some of the key events in these chapters: how Marianne gets sick, Willoughby’s visit, and the development of a relationship between Marianne and Colonel Brandon. 
    Things we mention: 
    References:
     Edward Copeland [Editor], The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility (2006)Helena Kelly, Jane Austen, the Secret Radical (2016) Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho(1794)Anthony Trollope, Can you forgive her?(1865)Walt Disney Pictures, Beauty and the Beast(1991) Adaptations of the book: 
     BBC, Sense and Sensibility (1971) – starring Joanna David and Ciaran Madden (4 episodes)BBC, Sense and Sensibility (1981) – starring Irene Richard and Tracey Childs (7 episodes)Columbia Pictures, Sense and Sensibility (1995) – starring Emma Thompson and Kate WinsletBBC, Sense and Sensibility (2008) – starring Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield (3 episodes)  Modernisations of the book: 
     Sri Surya Films, Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000) – starring Tabu and Aishwarya RaiMWM Studios, From Prada to Nada (2011) – starring Camilla Belle and Alexa PenaVegaYouTube, Elinor and Marianne Take Barton (2014) – starring Abi Davies and Bonita Trigg Creative commons music used: 
     Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 12 in F Major, ii. Adagio. Extract from Joseph Haydn, Piano Sonata No. 38. Performance by Ivan Ilić, recorded in Manchester in December, 2006. File originally from IMSLP.Extract from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata No. 13 in B-Flat Major, iii. Allegretto Grazioso. File originally from Musopen.Extract from George Frideric Handel, Suite I, No. 2 in F Major, ii. Allegro. File originally from Musopen. 

    • 59 min
    S02E08 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 37 to 41

    S02E08 Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 37 to 41

    In this episode, we read Chapters 37 to 41 of Sense and Sensibility (which was where Volume 3 started in the original publication). We talk about how the news of Edward and Lucy is spread, the picture we get of Lucy and Anne’s relationship, the resurgence of the ‘cautionary tale’, and how this is the second time Colonel Brandon asks Elinor to deliver a message for him.
    We discuss the character of Edward, including our disagreement with Helena Kelly’s view in Jane Austen: the Secret Radical (and see also our extended argument against her claim that there is symbolic meaning behind Edward cutting up a scissors sheath). Ellen talks about the clergy in Jane Austen’s day, and Harriet reviews the popular culture versions, particularly looking at how the adaptations treat the scene between Edward and Elinor, and what the modernisations do with the Edward-Lucy-Elinor plot. 
    Things we mention:
    References:
    Edward Copeland [Editor], The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility (2006)Robert Rodi, Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps (2011) Helena Kelly, Jane Austen, the Secret Radical (2016) See also our argument against her claims of symbolic meaning behind Edward Ferrars cutting up a scissors sheathLona Manning, ‘Jane Austen: the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly, a review in three parts’ (2017)  Adaptations of the book: 
    BBC, Sense and Sensibility (1971) – starring Joanna David and Ciaran Madden (4 episodes)BBC, Sense and Sensibility (1981) – starring Irene Richard and Tracey Childs (7 episodes)Columbia Pictures, Sense and Sensibility (1995) – starring Emma Thompson and Kate WinsletBBC, Sense and Sensibility (2008) – starring Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield (3 episodes) Modernisations of the book: 
    Sri Surya Films, Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000) – starring Tabu and Aishwarya RaiMWM Studios, From Prada to Nada (2011) – starring Camilla Belle and Alexa PenaVegaSilver Peak Productions, Scents and Sensibility (2011) – starring Ashley Williams and Marla SokoloffJoanna Trollope, Sense & Sensibility (The Austen Project #1) (2013)YouTube, Elinor and Marianne Take Barton (2014) – starring Abi Davies and Bonita TriggRead more ...

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

macnsak ,

Nice

Adds to the pleasure of the stories.

DeedeeB. ,

A treasure!

I am a lifelong Austen fan, and I’ve been so delighted to listen to these very smart and engaging women share their thoughts and ideas. Thank you, Harriet and Ellen, for sharing this wonderful podcast!

Anita - R ,

Actual conversations

Ladies, your podcast is so well done, and thank you. I enjoy it so much that you engage in actual conversations, stick closely
to your topic, and invite all of us eavesdrop for a while.

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