Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jane Austen

Jane Austen. I've seen many, many movies. I went to Bath and spent one of my three days following a trail that recalled some of Austen's life and future settings for her writings. I followed her ghost, so to speak. I feel I know her work - I've watched Sense and Sensibility at least three times and drooled over Colin Furth in Pride and Prejudice at least six times. I've watched the Jane Austen Book Club film, seen all the recent works about the books PLUS Becoming Jane. So why have I never actually READ her writing? Bits and pieces, yes, but other than that, no full work. Perhaps it's time.... but which one should I start with???
Jane Austen Today seems to be an interesting blogsite. And Jane Austen. org seems to cover everything Jane Austen - and more. And there's even a website where you can answer 60 questions and find out which Austen character you're the most like. I came out closest to Elizabeth Bennett - now that's a compliment as far as I'm concerned!

Feb. 21, 2010 - I've purchased a copy of Pride and Prejudice and will begin it this evening.

Tonight (a rainy, gray Saturday in a usually sunny February day) I watched all five hours of the Masterpiece Theater Classics' 2009 version of Emma. It was quite wonderful. I noticed it because Jonny Lee Miller was starring...but once I saw that it was Jane Austen I dvr'd it. I knit ... grinned ... giggled ... totally and completely enjoyed every second. I've seen the version with Gwyneth Paltrow, I've seen Clueless, enjoyed them both, but this was particularly dreamy. Great casting, great sets - it was filmed in the village of Chilham in Kent. Road trip?

Sunday, February 21, 2010
Masterpiece Theater presented this 2007 made-for-tv Encore Presentation tonight. Compared to 5 hours production of Emma, this hour and a half seemed very short. I'm imagining a lot might have been left out. The scenes from Bath were great, since I've been there. The two thwarted lovers had great chemistry, and as usual the English countryside was amazing. ( just hit me who played Anne Eliot - it was the same gal who starred in Happy-Go-Lucky, Sally Hawkins)


TG said...

Interesting that the version of Emma you seem to prefer is the one that is LEAST true to Jane Austen's story. It was ramped up so many notches on the emotive scale that most of the characters had little resemblance to their originals in print. I believe recent adaptations of Jane Austen novels do that because it's the easy way out -- much easier than trying to capture Austen's phenomenal wit, use of language, understanding of the irony in human nature and translate it to the screen.

If you want to be a fan of Austen, you have to READ HER. (Or listen to unabridged audios of her books.) If you only know of her from the film and television adaptations, and books about her (and don't get me started on what a tiny percentage of Becoming Jane was based on fact) -- then you can't "know" Jane Austen. Pick up one of the books -- Pride and Prejudice is usually the one touted for Austen 'beginners' -- and you'll see just how much her genius shines compared to most film adaptations of her book. (I'm not knocking the films, I like a large number of them. But don't mistake them for the real thing.)

Chris said...

Thanks. I know that films always take lots and lots of "poetic license", but since I've never read her and now WANT to read her because of the way I've been drawn into the films, they've certainly helped create another fan....

And thanks for the Pride and Prejudice recommendation. Think I'll try to find an audio book of it.