#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.Β 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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42 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. 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 πŸ™‚

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  4. 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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  5. 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 πŸ˜‰

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

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  7. 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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  8. I haven’t read Jane Austen’s work. It’s for the same reason as you not reading her other books–I’m not a romance reader and only read select historicals. But you are not alone in recommending her work.

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  9. Hi Annalisa,

    I’m dreadfully late in commenting. Jane is now well past the 200th anniversary of her passing. I’m not a fan of her genre of writing but I do respect that she was a highly acclaimed author.

    As for that dress in the photo, not exactly my style of dress either! πŸ™‚

    Wishing you and your hubby a good weekend and hopefully, not too much rain.

    Gary

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    1. Any writer who is still read generations after their death should be respected – and the 19th century certainly gave us many of them!

      I picture you in a more A-line style, Gary πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a good weekend too – sadly the rain has been prolific.

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  10. I do love that book. It took me until I was 30 to read it, because I was willfully rebelling against all things girly. Let’s just say I’ve grown past that stage.

    My favorite movie rendition is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The book was ridiculous, but the movie is so much fun.

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    1. I thought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was great too – there were parts where I was thinking to myself ‘oh, so that’s why…’ before remembering Austen didn’t have zombies in her version πŸ™‚

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  11. She was a wonderful writer. I regret that I missed getting the pound note they made in UK as a tribute to her. I was in London in June so missed it by few days.

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  12. Visiting from Sandra’s blog.
    I love Jane Austen and even enjoyed a selection from her Juvenilia (not published in her lifetime). ‘Love and Freindship’ written before she was 15 gives a foretaste of the writer she would become.

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    1. Hi Elephant’s Child, thanks for visiting.

      One of the articles I read recently featured Juvenilia, and I definitely want to check it out. I keep meaning to pick up a biography too – this year would be a good year to do it!

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  13. What a great way for you to remind us of the brilliance of Ms. Austen. It’s the pits that so many great artists or writers didn’t get to see what the world thought of their work and how much it was appreciated, even years later. Hugs…and hats off for a great topic!

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    1. Whenever I visited that part of the country to see my grandparents, we would walk the grounds. In fact, a walled garden, which I think appears in the BBC version, also features in several family photos!

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  14. 200 years. Wow. And she’s still celebrated. I love that.

    I realized I hadn’t heard from you in a while and came to find out your blog moved. Hi! πŸ˜› I hope you are well. I’ll try my best to visit more often. I’ll subscribe. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Hi, Chris – thanks for tracking me down. My blog visiting has been sporadic while I tried to finish a draft. Which is now done, and I’m awaiting feedback :-/

      Yes, 200 years, wouldn’t that be cool?

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  15. So this is your new place! πŸ™‚
    Quite a few of Jane Austen’s books were prescribed reading during my years of study. But that was a long, long time ago.
    I need to revisit her stories. Maybe Northanger Abbey will be first on the list.

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    1. Yep, I’m hanging out here now, welcome πŸ™‚

      I’m grateful I didn’t study Austen. I studied Charlotte Bronte and Thomas Hardy, and now I can’t bear to read any – the act of studying them so deeply sucked the joy out of them. (Although, I guess the ‘joy’ in Hardy is subjective!) πŸ™‚

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