First, some news you will all welcome. Our good friend Amanda Vickery, now Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary College UNiversity of London is currently making a programme  for BBC TV on Sense and Sensibility to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of its Publication this year.

It is entitled The Prime of Miss Jane Austen, in a nod to Muriel Spark’s famous novel, and we spoke about it on Twitter yesterday. The programme is again being produced by Matchlight Productions,who were, of course, the production company who commissioned our favourite At Home with the Georgians programmes, which were based on Professor Vickery’s book, Behind Closed Doors.

This is what their Press release has to say about it:

In The Prime of Miss Jane Austen  Prof. Amanda Vickery returns to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility. When Jane Austen died her slight reputation appeared to die with her. Her books soon went out of print. Now, 200 years later, she sits at the summit of English literature and thanks to television and film adaptations, as well as the internet, she is an international cultural brand. What interests Amanda is how different periods and generations have looked for their own reflection in the characters and plots of the novels. She wants to work out what that says about them, as well the hold Jane Austen’s fiction has on us now.

I will of course keep you informed of all developments. Amanda tells me the programme will be an hour long and it is due to be broadcast on BBC 2 in November or December of this year.

Next, Mansfield Park is being adapted as an opera.

The British composer Jonathan Dove and Heritage Opera will be performing it this summer, and I am lucky enough to be going to the first performance, to be held at the magnificent Boughton House in Northamptonshire, (seen below) in the presence of the owners, their Graces, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry.

How very fitting! An opera of this theatrically themed novel in a private house in Northamptonshire! I am a fan of Jonathan Dove’s works,since I saw His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, which was an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s amazing trilogy of novels. I will, of course, be reporting back to you on this….