Today is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – a writer who found so much more fame, and critical acclaim, after she died than during her lifetime. I wonder what it would be like to pop back and see how your legacy is holding up…

I love Jane Austen because she wrote my favourite book, Pride and Prejudice.

I stumbled across P&P when I was sixteen, in that long tedious summer between taking my GCSEs and starting my A-Levels. I was bored of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which was being shown every day, and channel-hopping (which didn’t take long, back then, with four channels!) In fact, because there were only four channels, I ended up watching the 1940 Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier version…

P&P 1940

Just look at that dress!

I didn’t see it from the start, but recall being aghast at the ending – where Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lizzie argue.

In this version, Lady Catherine is arguing because she wants to make sure that Lizzie is a strong enough character for her nephew – she gives her blessing!

Argh! No. Even at sixteen, and with no prior knowledge of Jane Austen at all, I knew this was a little absurd, and went in search of the book. All, of course, was forgiven in the original’s hands, and my love of P&P was cemented.

I love the comedy, the relationship between the Bennett parents, the etiquette. I am enveloped each time I read it, snuggling into it like a favourite jumper in the winter. Whenever I’m ill – the lying down unable to move kind of illness – I’ll put on the 1995 BBC version, and drool over Colin Firth, and giggle heartily at Benjamin Whitrow’s portrayal of Mr Bennett (“No lace, Mrs Bennett, I beg you; no lace.”)

Apart from Jane Austen, I am not much of a romance novel reader. But I think Austen offers so much more – I enjoy the immersion in social history, the tedium of daily life, of chores, of endless needlework.

I tend not to read historical novels because I’m never sure which parts are true and which are fictional. It confuses me. But novels written in the period offer me a sense of reality.ย Austen wrote about the people she knew, keeping them within the bubble of their own lives – the only nod to the fact Britain was at war with France is the presence of the militia, which brings Wickham and his sub-plot into the mix.

But I like that. This novel is about real women, trying to find their way in a world where marriage and children was really their own option for a successful life. They would not have sat around discussing war – that would have been for the men to do – but they would have been interested in their neighbours’ lives.

Yes, I made asked Hubby to recreate Lizzie and Darcy’s walk to the carriage – with strategic photography to make sure the bin wasn’t in view!

Do you have a favourite Jane Austen novel?



17 thoughts on “#JaneAusten200”

  1. LOL thanks for this post just laughed so much! Love Pride and Prejudice as a novel and there is so much more in it than any film version I’ve seen (I like the Colin Firth version best too). Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel though, I love the long courtship and that lovely letter Wentworth writes…


  2. Hi Annalisa – I went to a talk on Austen at the weekend and it was fascinating … unfortunately I wasn’t able to get all the notes down – but did pick up a few things … so might do a post later in the year re the books mentioned. That classic film was shown – but I came back as I had an early Sunday start … so glad you enjoyed your visit … love the pic of you and hubby strategically hiding the dustbin! I am looking forward to reading more about and by JA in the coming months/years … cheers Hilary


  3. I haven’t read them all yet, but of the four I did read, Persuasion was my favorite. Mansfield Park was the one I liked least. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I agree, Mansfield Park was my least favourite too, followed closely by Persuasion. Hey, look at that… I have an order:
      Northanger Abbey
      Mansfield Park ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Yes, Jane Austen and her books stand the test of time. The Colin Firth version of P&P is certainly excellent. I also like Emma Thompson, et al in Sense and Sensibility. They do it justice. And actually the mini-series version of P&P is quite decent – I think that has Jennifer Ehle – a very good actress. A friend visited Pemberly over there and brought me back a tea towel. Our goal is to do the Jane Austen tour, though she’s hit quite a few spots. Hey – you picked a winner. Stick with her. And does your writing stand the test of time…..it’s darn freakin’ good. You never know!!!


    1. I’m visiting Ramsgate with my Dad in September, and every time he mentions it, I think of P&P. I’ve been to Bath several times, but never done any Austen-themed things. I really should…

      Thank you for the compliment ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I always think it was so unfair for her to have died so young. I only read pride and prejudice but i have the others on my shelf in my tbr list. She was a wonderful writer.


  6. I haven’t read any of her books but I’ve seen adaptations on the BBC and at the cinema, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I really must try and read one of her books.


    1. I concur – because you’ll obviously get a lot more story in the book. Although the BBC version of P&P was pretty close to the book – apart from the odd diving into a lake part ๐Ÿ˜‰


  7. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books I return to time and time again. Iโ€™ve lost count of the number of times Iโ€™ve read it, but anytime I need a little lift that is the book I reach for.


  8. Austen was masterful at creating strong and exciting female characters who we admire for their independent thinking within the societal constraints of that period. I love all of her work, but still admire Pride and Prejudice most.


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