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Georgiana's Feathers

Princess Beatrice’s Famous Royal Wedding Hat
(see video at bottom of this post)

If you are a fan of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire — born 1757, died 1806, glorified in the movie “The Duchess” — then you probably know that Sarah Ferguson and her daughters are descendents of Georgiana. Their family tree extends from Eliza, the love child of Georgiana and Sir Charles Grey.

Georgiana was known for known for her trend-setting fashions, and also, for her ability to use fashion to send a message and garnish attention. So, it is not surprising that Princess Beatrice’s daring wedding hat has inspired a FaceBook page which is at 115,000 hits (As of Sunday evening, 5/1/2011) and climbing. Georgiana’s hat choices were often shocking or problematic. So, it is not out of the family tradition for Princess Beatrice’s hat’s most popular page to be a critique. In fact, it is called, “Princess-Beatrices-Ridiculous-Royal-Wedding-Hat FaceBook Page”.

If you would like to defend Princess Beatrice, and the artistic leap of faith she took, you might consider joining, “Royal Wedding Hats – In Defense of Princess Beatrice and Her Lovely Hat FaceBook Page”. Which, I am sorry to say, stands at only 407 members. Continue Reading »

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KW writes: The wedding is over. The vows are made. The world is reviewing the hoopla and eye-candy. I, personally, have many concerns with the purpose of royalty. I was waiting to dive in with analysis and critique while two real-live people were contemplating such an important step. But, now that Kate and Will have taken their leap of faith, maybe it is time to reflect on what monarchy (and empire) mean?

One of my friends has dived in on FaceBook. She noted (quite emphactically) that a lot of England’s wealth and tradition are related to colonizing and exploiting other parts of the world. And, having lots of wars. Seeing all the military uniforms as part of a religious ceremony was one of the things that didn’t sit well with me. Also, the fact that so many people are distracted by the hoopla, when they have their own lives, responsibilities, and countries to take care of.

Hope you might make your own comments — good and bad — in the comments. And, here is a poem I had written reflecting on Princess Diana’s wedding. It was written after she died…

The Bluish Light, 1997 Continue Reading »

Jane Austen Tea: Kimberly and Barbara

Kimberly Wilder and Barbara Hellering

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to attend a Jane Austen tea in nearby Port Jefferson. It was a lot of fun. And, I met another local Jane Austen fan who does media and blogging projects. Her name is Erin Coughlin, and her article is excerpted and linked below. I was late to the event. Though, I was in time for the slideshow and tea. I enjoyed hearing Barbara Hellering, give her list of favorite “Mr. Darcies” and speak about the importance of irony in Jane Eyre. My Flicrk photos are: here.

(excerpt from) The Patch
Library Hosts Literary Tea Party To Celebrate Favorite Author
Barbara Hellering of the Jane Austen Society of North America delights fans at The Port Jefferson Library
Erin Coughlin 4/21/2011

On April 14, the Port Jefferson Library hosted it’s highly successful, Annual Jane Austen Tea Party to celebrate National Library Week.

Vice President Barbara Hellering of The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) was on hand to discuss both the British author’s life and times, as well as her influence on modern society… Continue Reading »

Emma, Lady Hamilton. By Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Emma, Lady Hamilton, was a contemporary of Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana knew and liked Lady Hamilton.

If you like Lady Hamilton, or want to learn more about her, there is currently an exhibit at a book club in New York city. More info about “The Enchantress: Emma, Lady Hamilton”, at the Grolier Club until April 30, 2011, can be found at their link, and at the “read more” below.

I have become fascinated with Lady Hamilton party because of the movie “That Hamilton Woman”, with Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton, and with Leigh’s then husband, Laurence Olivier, as Lord Horatio Nelson. The movie is exquisite.

My favorite part of the movie is the way it explores the relationships between men and women, caught in a sexist society, where divorce is more of a shame than affairs, courtesans, or cruelty. And, I love the line uttered by the character of Lord Nelson, “That’s the way people look at these things. They do not believe in a friendship between a man and a woman.” I think that the tension that occurs — partly by nature, partly by a skeptical, sexist society — when a man and a woman try to be friends or colleagues is a large part of the energy that keeps women from succeeding in business, or fairly taking part in governing.

For an excellent review of the Grolier Club exhibit, see the Scandalous Women article: here. A quick biography of Emma, Lady Hamilton can be found at one of my favorite history blogs, The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: here.

Info on the exhibit: Continue Reading »

Since I enjoy Jane Eyre in all forms, so much, I have an e-mail news alert for “Jane Eyre”. Found this interesting article on a blog devoted to discussion among Jewish women. The full post is: here.

(excerpt from) The Jewish Daily Forward/the sisterhood
Esther vs. Vashti, Austen vs. Brontës
By Sarah Seltzer

As I prepared for the beginning of the perennial Purim question of “Esther vs. Vashti” at the same time as I delved into Jane Eyre-mania, I began to think about how women are always pushed into dichotomies. I wondered cynically how soon someone would write about the new Brontë films by declaring Jane Austen passé…

It always seems to me that when it comes to women who take different paths there’s a meme out there that there’s only room for one. Virgin or whore, Esther or Vashti, Austen or Brontë. Yes, the two most famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte and Emily, and Jane Austen took divergent approaches to writing about the “woman question.” Austen was sort of an Esther, using her brilliant wit to dazzle readers but containing steely critique of the system under her perfect prose, while the Brontës, Vashti-like , seethe with rage at women’s unfortunate lot and churn with a desperate desire for escape…

About the video: Continue Reading »

Photos and report back from my trip into NYC to see the premier of Jane Eyre. Video Review by Stephanie and me: here.

Note! The Jane Eyre movie is coming out in select theaters. More to follow over the next few weeks. See list: here.

While author Jane Austen, and the character Jane Eyre, both lived after the time of Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Circle readers may know I love works by Jane Austen, and works based on Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte’s character) very much.  My favorite Jane Eyre so far has been the 2006 BBC miniseries. And, I am so excited to hear that the new movie, with Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre, is coming to American theaters in March 2011. And, the movie trailer has just come out…

Link to 2o11 Jane Eyre movie trailer:
http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2010/11/10/jane-eyre-trailer-charlotte-brontemia-wasikowska-michael-fassbender/?xrs=share_twitter

And, here is my new video on the subject of Jane Eyre:

Continue Reading »