Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Abundance of Austen

So I have a confession. It's an embarrassing one for a former English major and a current librarian. It's downright criminal.

Here goes: until last year I have NEVER read any Jane Austen.

Whew. That's quite a load off...

We read Pride and Prejudice as one of our book club selections. And beyond that I haven't read any of Austen's other works... yet!

Now, I've always enjoyed period movies and I LOVED the 2005 theatrical release of Pride & Prejudice. I know, I know some die hard fans of the 1995 BBC version probably cringe at anyone other than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and I know there are serious Kiera Knightly haters out there but, in truth, I've enjoyed ALL the version of Jane Austen movies/mini-series I've seen. Granted I haven't seen a ton. And I turn to the ladies of Lights, Cameras, History! for guidance on what period movies are worth my time and which ones to skip.

So last night I just finished the newest BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, which I enjoyed immensely. I have to say I think I liked it a little more than the 1995 movie with Emma Tompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. I think for one reason I have a hard time seeing Alan Rickman as a romantic hero. All I picture him as is either the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves or as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. So, the Colonel Brandon in this version was a little easier for me to see as a sexy older suitor for Miss. Marianne Dashwood. Also, I'm not a HUGE Hugh Grant fan so I kind of liked the BBC's Edward Ferras better as well! Although I thought Emma Thompson made a fabulous Elinor Dashwood.

I also watched the BBC's newest version of Persuasion earlier this month as well. I really liked that too! I wasn't really familiar with the Persuasion story so it was all new to me. And Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth? *SA-WOOOON* I'm thinking of getting The 39 Steps because he's so yummi-licious! And no, I haven't seen the much beloved 1995 film version of Persuasion. But it's on my list!

I have to say I'm glad I'd seen the film version of P&P before having read the book. It's a little easier to figure out whats going on. You'd think that because my focus area in college was medieval literature I'd have an easier time reading Austen, but....not so much. It took me awhile to get through it. But I'm glad I did. I'm looking forward to many more Austen tv/film adaptations followed by readings of the books.

I've NEVER seen any version of Emma and have no idea what the plot of Northanger Abbey is, so I'm looking forward to being enlightened.

I'm also looking forward to checking out some other BBC and Masterpiece Theater productions of Bleak House, Jane Eyre, and Northanger Abbey.

As for North & South...well, I think I owe Kristie(j) a whole post on that ;) ! As a matter of fact, I think North & South opened me up to the wonderful world of BBC productions! Hmmm, think I might need another viewing of N&S... SOON! :)

So does anyone have any favorite Austen books? TV or film adaptations? Other period films to suggest? Do share!


  1. I'm with you. However unpopular it may be with purists, I adore the 2005 Pride & Prejudice. I thought Matthew Macfadyen was an excellent Darcy. And I liked Keira Knightley as well. So there. *grin*

    As far as the books go, I'd go with probably the prevailing sentiment and say start with one of the Ps. Either PERSUASION or PRIDE & PREJUDICE. I have a very hard time picking a favorite between those two. They are superb.

    And I am always in need of another N&S re-watch. *swoon*

  2. I love the '05 P&P especially for the cinematography the locations were amazing. I would also love it for two scenes in particular: the rain where Darcy professes his love in spite of himself and the scene in the field at the end. "I love, I love, I love you". Awww Macfadyen was great Darcy!

    Maybe I'll read Persuasion next then!

  3. I haven't watched this one or Persuasion yet. I did watch Emma though. I thought it was really good.

  4. I've got Emma on reserve at the library! :) Looking forward to checking it out.


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