#JaneAusten200

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?

 

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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…

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  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

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  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™‚

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

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  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!!!

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    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™‚

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  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.

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  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.

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    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˜‰

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  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.

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  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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