Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Wonderful World of Jane Austen

Over the last two Sundays, I’ve been watching the PBS broadcast of Emma starring Romola Garai as Emma and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly. It’s a wonderful adaptation. If you missed it, fear not. It will run through February and March on PBS, or you can watch it on the web at the PBS website.

I always make room in my life for Jane Austen features, films, biographies, etc. It’s a yearly pilgrimage in the Russell household to watch The Complete Jane Austen series as we call it, in all its adaptations. I’m a faithful follower of Jane Austen, and my husband is very accommodating.

And I started to wonder, is it just me who has this closet obsession for Jane?

A quick web search of the words “Jane Austen” revealed the truth. The world is in love with Jane Austen and her books two hundred years after her death.

So I started thinking, what is it about her writing that touches a world so deeply? Is it her wit? Is it the way she slowly builds a romance between her characters? Or is it her way of describing and accurately pinpointing human nature and events of everyday life?

I tend to believe all the above are true. Jane Austen just had a way of observing society and communicating what she saw in a highly entertaining fashion.

But it’s more than that. As much as I love her stories, I also truly respect the woman she was. She never knew true love outside of her books. She struggled to find her own place in society. She didn’t receive instant success for her writing in her own lifetime, in fact quite the opposite. I am certain she had doubts about her chosen career, as any writer does. I am positive she shed a few tears. And I respect her all the more because of it. She was a woman in a man’s world following her dreams.

One last notable area that Austen mastered was her creation of the romantic hero. Maybe it was the fact she never found her own true love that made her heroes so appealing. To this day I cannot read one of her books without her heroes lingering in my mind for days afterwards. Austen’s heroes are legendary even in today’s world—Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, Frank Churchill, Mr. Knightly, Captain Wentworth—to name a few.


What is your favorite moment in Austen's novels or the film adaptations of her work?

5 comments:

Amy February 6, 2010 at 5:27 AM  

My favorite is Persuasion, the one done by the BBC in 2008. I love the emotions portrayed in this story of love lost and found again.

amy

Gerri Russell February 6, 2010 at 10:07 AM  

Amy, I am so with you there! Persuasion is my favorite, too.

EmilyBryan February 6, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

Austentatious! I need to look for PBS.

I'm a total push-over for Alan Rickman's Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. I adore his silky voice.

I am actually reading Jane Austen and her Times by Mitton right now.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner February 7, 2010 at 3:22 PM  

Gerri: Thanks for the assessment of Emma. I hadn't had time to catch it and was wondering if it was good. I will definitely look for it.

I too loved the Hugh Grant/Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman version of S&S, not to mention the Colin Firth version of P&P (eye candy!) I also liked Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma. I'm such a Jane Austen junkie! Though I have not seen the 2008 Persuasion. I do like the story though (have read the book and seen an earlier version).

Bonnie Vanak February 8, 2010 at 8:04 PM  

Nice post, Gerri! Austen was ahead of her time.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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