#blog5daysAustenese Random thoughts

Emma. How wise you are.

Ummm… I think!

I quite like this one. It’s light-hearted. It’s cute. It’s a good way to spend a few hours of down-time. It’s superficial enough that you don’t expend much energy investing in the novel, but the characters and plotline are meaty enough to feel as though you’ve spent your time justifiably. Good enough reason, in my *book*!

Admittedly, it’s a little unrealistic (to me, at least!) that Mr Knightley falls for a girl sixteen years his junior – but then again, perhaps not. I’m not a guy, and I don’t live back then. (Lucky – I don’t think WordPress was around at the time!) And I smile each time I think about Emma considering herself ‘wise’ at the grand age of – what was it? Early 20’s or something?! Ha! (I’m 37 and still “invariably silly”!)

The recent film starring Gwyneth Paltrow was just as light-hearted as Austen’s novel. The Casting Director made some excellent choices – I particularly enjoyed Toni Collette, and no, I don’t think that it’s just because she’s an Aussie. I loved the addition of the ‘archery’ scene, which was probably rather unrealistic but made for good visual imagery. Plus it allowed for the addition of the line, “Try to not kill my dogs.” Which was a cutesy sort of line, aimed at getting a laugh, and perfect for use in the trailer. What I didn’t like so much was the emphasis on Emma’s thoughts when talking with Mrs Weston regarding her brother-in-law’s advice to Mr Knightley. Although it made for good trailer footage, “I love John!” “I hate John!”, I have to wonder if the reason for the emphasis on the scene was to GET that footage, specifically FOR the trailer. It did seem just a little forced…

All in all though, enjoyable. And that’s a wrap!

#blog5daysAustenese Random thoughts

Five days to go!

Third novel in my Penguin tome, Mansfield Park. As previously mentioned, my least favourite. It’s just so SLOW! And heroine Fanny is just *so* perfect. Perhaps it’s my modern perspective, perhaps its the way I feel as though I can never measure up? But I find her almost nauseating in her *correctness*. I can understand Edmund’s attraction to Mary Crawford – in spite of her immoral opinions, her liveliness and willingness to speak her mind rather than perpetually wait for her opinion to be sought, gives her a far more interesting personality.

I find it interesting that, according to the blurb on the DVD (cover shown below) – but not substantiated by any source I could find! – apparently it was Jane Austen‘s favourite. I wonder if this is because Fanny’s character, personality or opinions, may have been similar to her own. Or possibly it’s because it is the novel that deals with themes so deeply. Or could it be that in the final chapter – commonly called the epilogue – we hear the voice of Austen herself , the author, the scripter of the tale, rather than simply the narrator of it?

The 1999 film starring Frances O’Connor as Fanny reinforces this view of the insipid heroine. Those who aren’t familiar with the novel may be surprised that the none-too-subtle sexual allegations against Sir Thomas Bertram are absolutely nowhere to be found in Austen’s pages. Nor is there a ‘box of birds’. Nor does Fanny relent and say “Yes” to Henry Crawford whilst back with her family in Portsmouth. And the film also cut one of Austen’s main characters – Fanny’s older brother, William. The ‘theatre’ section of the plot was also treated with less significance than the earlier (1983) BBC version. Considering I don’t particularly like the novel, overall this was quite a satisfactory adaptation of it, in my humble opinion.

On a lighter note, apparently Austen’s writing is rather a favourite with J.K.RowlingArgus Filch‘s cat, Mrs. Norris, was named after the character in Mansfield Park . Ha!

#blog5daysAustenese Random thoughts

Six days til #blog5daysAustenese

So I started this ‘countdown week’, yesterday, with a list of the (very game!) participants in the #blog5daysAustenese challenge, and my take on Jane Austen’s writing, finishing with my thoughts on Sense and Sensibility – the novel, as it related to the latest film version starring Emma Thompson. Hugh Grant, Kate Winslett etc etc. So day two in the countdown means a move to the second book (from front to back in my Penguin tome, I mean, not actually second in chronological order of her writing!) – Pride and Prejudice.

I love this book. And I really don’t care much for recent TV / mini-series adaptations. Reason being – they’re created SO well, that it only takes one little scene to completely ruin the entirety. In the 1996 (yes, it really was THAT long ago!) BBC production with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (seriously – has he aged at ALL since then?!) the offending scene was the one depicting Lizzy’s deepest mortification. Being discovered by Mr Darcy whilst touring Pemberley. In my humble opinion, the novel portrays her as being thoroughly humiliated by this discovery. But the BBC’s decision to have Colin Firth take a dip in the lake on the way to his house completely destroyed this, by placing him in almost as embarrassing a position as her.  In my mind, this decision utterly ruined the series for me, and it was only recently that I could watch this scene without cringing at the thought of what they had done.

Equally cringe-worthy was Darcy’s speech at the conclusion of Universal Picture’s 2006 version, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, etc etc. I mean – seriously??!!! I canNOT for the life of me imagine such a character, as upright and correct as he, to say, “If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you – you have bewitched me, body and soul. I love, I love, love you, and never wish to be parted from you, from this day on.” HUH??!!!!! You have absolutely GOT to be kidding!!!! MAJOR cringe!!!

Other than that scene, the Universal Picture’s scriptwriter had written a very clever script, with excellent segues and clever choice of absent characters. But it is also this point – the cringeworthy script choices – that we’ll be attempting to *better* next week, when we, also, write in super-long sentences.

Join us… if you dare!?? LOL

#blog5daysAustenese random scribblings

Let the countdown begin…

Okay, so I chickened out just a little and gave myself (and those who were game enough to include themselves in the challenge!!!) another week of ‘preparation’. Another 7 days of reading Jane Austen’s work, immersing in her style, ready to blog in Austenese next Monday. For 5 days. Because 5 days will probably be long enough! Just blog what you would normally blog, but in her style, and tweet your creations with #blog5daysAustenese – it should be rather an interesting week!

Those game enough to enter, to date (oh – and any and all are accepted, if you feel like joining us!) are:

@jobeaz, blogging at Macaronic

@Girlwithshoess, blogging at Justgirlwithshoes

@kalgrl, blogging at Feral Librarian Tales

@jzgarnett, blogging at Randomly Yours, Julia

Hopefully I haven’t missed any! Sorry if I have; it’s been so hot here my brain’s not working properly…?! If I have, or if you’re game enough for the challenge, comment below to join in the fun!

Anyway, I thought I’d spend this week’s blog posts on *my* take on Austen.

I first encountered Pride and Prejudice in mid-High School, as I had been on a William Makepeace Thackery bent, and wanted something different. From Vanity Fair to P&P wasn’t a huge stretch, and I carried on “charmingly, when once I had made a beginning”. From P&P to Emma, to Sense and Sensibility. I left Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park til I was in Uni, and Persuasion later still. But it wasn’t until I purchased the Penguin “Complete novels of…”, a decade later again, that I encountered Lady Susan, which quickly became my favourite.

So early in December 2011, after a particularly trying day, I re-watched the Keira Knightly version of P&P. And decided to re-read my Penguin tome again, in order from first to last, watching the DVD (if I had it) immediately prior. Sense and Sensibility took me through to mid-December, followed by P&P by Christmas. And then it was the turn of my least-favourite, Mansfield Park. Apparently it was Austen’s favourite. It’s not mine. I always find it a slog. But I finished it last night, so am looking forward to watching Gwyneth Paltrow sometime in the near future.

Sense and Sensibility struck me anew with its wide array of characters, having just watched the Emma Thompson / Hugh Grant version (I really do NOT like his acting, but I guess he does play the part quite well) and being quite a fan of Gregory House, I do enjoy seeing his droll version of Mr Palmer. Best of all was Alan Rickman though, with nary a shade of Die Hard in evidence. I would have liked to have seen the “Willoughby coming to see Marianne during her illness” scene in the film, but can understand why it was cut, and the ‘intelligence’ he brought with him regarding his motives, left to Colonel Brandon to give. But all in all, an enjoyable film, and an entertaining read.

Final thought:

It’s truly amazing, the things you can learn from Librarians! Apparently the following exists: “Pride and Prejudice and zombies”; “Sense and Sensibility and sea monsters”; and the twitter version of Austen. Who would have thought?!!