Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Jane Austen Mini Survey

Dear friends – where to begin? I have just begun my first year at university, studying for my English degree (wohoo!) and until now had all but fallen off the planet, as Vikings and Beowulf sometimes have that effect … I’m so happy to be back in the Team Jane world, and look forward to becoming a regular on the scene again. But, enough babble. Earlier in the year Team Jane discussed “Mini Austen Stats” – and as Jane brought us together, it only seems fitting that we share our individual “Jane discovery”. Please comment with your own Jane experience – how did you discover her world?

I discovered the wonderful world of Jane Austen when I was twelve, courtesy of the BBC’s (amazing) adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. I laughed, and laughed and swooned (a little, or more) my way through the dvds – gosh, videos, they were then (!) and was won over by the unique characters, wit and charm. I read the book, and then Emma, and then every other novel, complete or otherwise, and after that there was no turning back. My bookcase has a dedicated Austen shelf (or three) and under sane circumstances I would be embarrassed to admit how many different editions I own of the same book – but not with Jane. You can never have too much Austen. Classic literature is more than art, or "just" books – to me these books are friends.

Favourite book: Emma and Pride & Prejudice.

Favourite character: I can’t choose. And it’s no easier to choose my least favourite character. This is Jane Austen!

Favourite Hero/Heroine:
Knightley, Darcy. Emma, Elizabeth Bennett. (I can’t help myself!)

(Today’s) Favourite quote(s): This should be short and snappy, but hey! I think that would be totally out of character. I cannot think of a single Austen passage or quote that I love above all others. I can for Dickens and Bronte, but not Austen. There are too many gorgeous quotes in Austen that I love: hilarious, witty, tender, tragic as they may be. So I’ll share two favourites that never fail to make me laugh … badly.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way. - Northanger Abbey.

Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted? – Pride & Prejudice

Favourite adaptation: The magnificent Pride & Prejudice 1995, followed by Emma (Kate Beckinsale) and Sense & Sensibility 1996. I adore these three adaptations. Pride & Prejudice is incomparable. It really is. A&E’s Emma was love on first viewing – I love the casting. Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility is just lush - gorgeous cinematography and soundtrack, wonderful casting, and most of all a complete emotional journey.

In summary, I credit Jane Austen with setting me on my life path through my love of classic literature and film. Among many other things. Long live the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen!

Pic 1: Jane Austen from: Eashant's
Pic 2: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett from: BBC
Pic 3: Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Lady Catherine de Bourgh from: BBC


mamma jakeline said...

I too fell for JA thanks to BBC's adaption of PP. I was but 15. The love affair with Mr Darcy was a fact. After that I think Emma followed and later Sense and Sensibility. I am also quite sure that I read MP in high school. But it was not until Becoming Jane I actually got around to read the rest of her lovely books.

Favourite book: Pride and Prejudice I must say is my favourite. But they all have something special.

Favourite character: Gosh, so hard to pick. I love all of her characters, even Mr Collins.

Favourite Hero/Heroine: Darcy of course and Lizzy. I kind of like Fanny and Edmund also.

Favourite adaptation: Another hard question. But PP is way up there. Probably since it was with that my love affair started. Ang Lee's SS is also very good, as is the new adaptation of SS.

Now I live in a complete dream world, much do my beau's dismay, longing for someone (preferably him) to whisk me away...

Well, there is my story.
/tata from Maria from Sweden

Jane Odiwe said...

I'm sure that adaptation had an effect on thousands of people but can you imagine the numbers of people who must have had their lives changed by reading Jane's books. In two hundred years I'm certain her words have influenced millions of readers in every generation!

I can't really do favourites, there are too many, though if I was stranded on a desert island I would have to have Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice with me.

Allison said...

I have been a lurker on this site for a while, but this subject has brought me out of the shadows.

My first Austen experience was during high school, while reading P&P we were shown the Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier film version. And while the archery scene wasn't in the book, it was the banter that sparked my interest and got me looking further into the books. And I've never looked back. Even buying a 1920's rare edition of P&P.

As far as favourites, since Olivier was my "first" Darcy, that makes it difficult to stray away from him. But that is the only favourite discussion I will enter into. And while this film adaptation doesn't match up to more recent versions, specifically the BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehele, it will always have a place for sentimental reasons.

While I am also very much a Bronte fan for various reasons, Austen will remain number one as she isn't limited to any generation - her novels are timeless.

But that's just my 2 cents worth.

Icha said...

Allison, welcome. Jane, how are you dearest? Will do a review of your book soon, sorry for the delay!

And yes, I agree that Jane Austen touches so many aspects of our lives, even till today. Amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back, dearest Michelle!

I think for me it all started with the 1980 BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so my first Mr Darcy was a Scottish (played by David Rintoul). I’m now able to explain to myself why it was love at first sight :-)

When the miniseries ended I felt like my life ended too. I needed that storm of emotions to be born again, so I went to the librarie and bought the book, my first one …then, few years later (and one more BBC LOVED-adaptation), I’m still filling my shelves and my soul with Jane’s books. The emotions , the happiness, the laughter, the JOY that her “little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory” is giving to me every time I’m reading her books, could never be equalled by anything.

mamma jakeline said...

Hello dearies, in the spirit of Jane Austen and her books I finished my fourth fanvid yesterday. Watch it here:

/tata from Maria in Sweden

Michelle said...

I'm really enjoying the discussion in this thread! Thank you all for sharing your different experiences - it is truly exciting how Jane's work moves people, and even MORE exciting to think of the countless people affected over the past 200 years. Thanks, Jane!

Allison, I am happily envying your 1920 P&P. Gorgeous! Holding a book with age in it is a very special thing. Do you have a tale attached to finding it? Is it illustrated?

Mariana - you summed it up so well - Jane is pure joy. Truly special.

Sorry, I am still babbling, but Allison, I was reminded of your timeless JA comment this morning, reading uni notes: "What strikes people repeatedly in reading Kleist is his modernity and relevance to our age, but equally the essence of his own time is revealed" True of Jane.