Jane Austen Was a Damn Savvy Investor and Has a New £10 Note to Prove It
Plus James Comey is writing a book, most likely a rom-com
In today’s literary roundup, Jane Austen’s financial savvy is on display in a new Bank of England exhibit, Sherman Alexie cancels the book tour for his memoir about a stormy relationship with his mother, publishing houses will battle it out this week to acquire James Comey’s new book, and George Eliot’s Middlemarch is imagined through a LGBTQ lens in a new Web series.
Jane Austen £10 note revealed, along with the author’s financial savvy
While writing is historically not the most economically fruitful career choice, some of those who do make it big have an interest in and understanding of finances that helped in making ends meet. Beneath Jane Austen’s dwelling on fashion, holiday homes, and the intricacies of courting lies a force that has been driving real and fictional people’s decisions since, well, forever — money. The Bank of England thinks so too, because it’s making Austen the star of an exhibition about the literary connections authors have to the Bank. In Austen’s novels, marriage isn’t simply driven by romance and love; instead, it’s necessary for achieving economic stability. The author herself was also well aware of the importance of smart saving. Displayed in the exhibit is one of her ledger’s from Hoare’s bank that show Austen wisely invested her hard-earned writing money. The English novelist will also be featured on the new £10 note beginning today, in honor of the 200th anniversary of her death. Austen isn’t the only one that had money on her mind; also featured in the exhibit will be authors such as The Wind in the Willows creator Kenneth Grahame, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens. The exhibit will open at the Bank’s museum on July 19th.
[The Guardian/Maev Kennedy]
Sherman Alexie cancels b00k tour for new memoir about his mother
Sherman Alexie has called off the tour and most events promoting his new memoir about his mother, Lillian Alexie. The book, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, which came out this June, chronicles the author’s complicated and turbulent relationship with his mother. In a letter he published on Facebook, Alexie explains that he has been suffering from depression, noting that he has been receiving signs that he should stop the book tour. “Lillian haunted me when she was alive. And she has haunted me since her death in July 2015. And she has haunted me in spectacular ways since I published my memoir a month ago. She has followed me from city to city during my promotional book tour,” Alexie wrote. In an interview with TIME from about a month ago, the award-winning author said that he had been seeing reminders of his mother at various stops on the book tour. “I assumed I would no longer have to deal with her and her judgment of me. She continues to haunt me, even more so now,” he writes in the letter.
[The Guardian/Alison Flood]
James Comey is writing a book…about leadership and ethics
James B. Comey, the former FBI director who has been at key figure in so many of the country’s recent political scandals, is writing a book, much to the publishing world’s delight. So, is it going to be an explosive tell-all? Probably not. Comey’s work will reportedly focus on ethics and leadership, exploring the principles that have guided him through the toughest moments of his career, including his few months working for Trump. Comey is now meeting with editors and publishers in New York, with the manuscript expected to go to auction later this week. The fight for the book is said to be intense. Here’s hoping we get a few more steamy scenes like those conversations Comey relayed to Congress in his recent testimony.
[NY Times/Alexandra Alter]
Yale undergrad adapts George Eliot’s Middlemarch as Web series
George Eliot’s Middlemarch, although referenced constantly in other literature, has not been given the same modern day adaptations as other famous novels. But, Yale undergrad Rebecca Shoptaw has decided to change that by creating a Web Serial aptly called “Middlemarch: The Series.” The series will run to seventy episodes, with the first half already available online and the rest continuing to air again in August. Shoptaw’s rendition of the novel reimagines Eliot’s residents of the town of Middlemarch as students at Lowick College in the fictional Middlemarch, Connecticut. Dot Brooke (or Dorothea Brooke) is an idealistic sophomore still deciding on a major who decides to film herself and her friends for one year to “help us figure out what we want to do later.” A notable aspect of the Web series is the focus on themes of gender identity and sexual orientation, namely their fluidity and mutability amongst the characters. In an interview with Web site Fandomania, Shoptaw said she was able to use this LGBTQ lens with Eliot’s novel because “healthier relationships are almost entirely free of the gendered power dynamics that too often shape the relationships in classic novels.”
[The New Yorker/Rebecca Mead]