Things We Saw Today: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel Sanditon Is Coming to PBS
Jane Austen died July 18th, 1817 having published six full-length novels: Sense and Sensibility (the best one), Pride and Prejudice (the most popular), Mansfield Park (the one that touches on slavery), Emma (the fun one), Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion (the two you get extra points for having read on your own). In addition to those back-to-back hits, she also had one short story, Lady Susan, and two unfinished novels, The Watsons and the one that matters at the moment, Sanditon, because it’s getting turned into a mini-series!
This will be the first major adaptation of the incomplete novel, staring Rose Williams, who played Claude in Reign. She will be heading the eight-episode mini-series as the heroine, Charlotte Heywood.
Austen started Sanditon the year she died, and by March she had completed eleven chapters before stopping, probably due to illness. It tells the story of Charlotte Heywood, the eldest daughter of a horde of children of a country gentleman from Sussex. She ends up going to the town of Sanditon, which was up until recently a fishing village, and gets swept up into all of the village politics. One of the most interesting things about this work is that it features a character named Miss Lambe, a “half mulatto” rich woman who comes from the West Indies who is considered an eligible match for Charlotte’s potential romantic partner.
That’s right, we get non-white people in a Jane Austen story and it’s canon, baby. I remember briefly reading Sanditon a few years ago, but I’m super excited to revisit it. I love Jane Austen and I’m just a fan of period dramas based on lesser-known works.
Sanditon will be airing on PBS in 2020.
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