Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Love in the Time of Austen-mania

This. Article. O.M.G. I had planned to do a Wondering Wednesday post for today regarding infidelity, sparked by my reading of Anna Karenina, but NYMag has given me a writing springboard I cannot pass up, so that will have to wait ("Thinking Thursday" sounds good, right?)

Generally speaking, I love the modern day spins on Austen's work. The Jane Austen Book Club is one of my favorite chick-flicks, and I believe anyone who can't love Bridget Jones is missing a piece of their soul - perhaps a Dementor took it?

Over the years I've read all of Jane Austen's novels, except for Northanger Abbey (which you can see on my shelf, but I've never successfully finished reading it). With the exception of Mansfield Park's Fancy Price, her lead characters are some of my favorite. Though Lizzie Bennett is her most recognizable, in part for her strong opinions and disinterest in societal parties, Anne Elliot transcends the likes of both Lizzie, Emma, and the lot. I read Persuasion in between college semesters, on a whim mostly, thinking it was short enough read to last through winter break but still "intelligent" so as to prevent me from losing my reading mojo. 

Anne embodies all of the flaw of 19th century society. A kind, loyal daughter and friend, Anne listens to those around her instead of her heart. Where Lizzie allows her own pride and flaws to influence her actions, Anne is driven by the expectations and behaviors of society. Perhaps because Persuasion was one of Austen's later novels it achieves what her other novels set out to do - express how society at the time often prevented women from achieving happiness. Much like Lizzie, Emma also allowed her own flaws to post-pone her relationship from blossoming. 

Which brings me (sort of, forgive my Jane-ite rambling) to my point. This NYMag article sums up so many great adaptations of Austen and related works. The 2009 BBC Miniseries starting Romola Garai is excellent - I would argue it rivals the '95 P&P but that might offend King Colin - it's truly a work of art. What the article fails to mention is that Michael Gambon (yes, that Michael Gambon) plays Mr. Woodhouse to perfection. I would watch the 2005 P&P just for Donald Sutherland's portrayal of Mr. Bennett, but with this version of Emma that seems worthless. 

Perhaps if I show this list to my Mom I can convert her! She's seen the 2005 P&P and certainly liked it, but you can't really enjoy these movies without the book as background. I tend to enjoy movie adaptations of books, so long as major plot points aren't changed (another good post idea!). I've seen so many articles about Jane Austen recently, and her fan club, so hopefully this means more people will be inclined to read her great works. I'm going to try easing my husband in by presenting him with a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Here's hoping!

1 comment:

  1. I have not read Jane Austen but do love that period. I did read though, Midnight in Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale. I really enjoyed this novel.