Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

It's the anniversary of the birth of Jane Austen, born this day in 1775. That makes her just a teensy bit older than the United States. She's looking good for 236!

In honor of the day, I thought I would post this link to a funny piece I wrote back in 2008. I had just heard the news that they were making Pride and Prejudice into a musical, and my brain went into overdrive. I came up with potential musical numbers for the first half of P&P. It was a very fun exercise, though somehow I never ventured to do the second half. The title of Mr. Bennet's solo "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Nerves" might give you some idea of the tenor of the piece. Enjoy!

I'd also love hearing from any Austen fans out there today - what's your favorite of her six novels (and why, if you're so inclined to share)? And what's your favorite film adaptation?

My favorite of the novels changes every so often, but Persuasion is the reigning favorite. I think I love it for how different it is from anything else she wrote -- it's about a second chance at love rather than first love. And its gentle, autumnal tone seems to suit that theme of love renewed and Anne Elliot's personality so well.

I am still an unabashed fan of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice (1995). My favorite feature length adaptation is still the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility (also 1995...a really good year for Austen films in my opinion)!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Jane! Persuasion is my favorite of hers, too, with Emma a close second (I do like seeing Emma's growth, and she is so very real and human that even at her worst I cannot help but like her).

As with almost everyone else, the '95 Colin firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P is my favorite - it is a remarkable piece of work. I also very much enjoy the Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root - I think that it did a marvelous job capturing the tone and heart of the book, and Amanda Root was PERFECT as Anne.

For all its inaccuracies and flaws, I also have to confess to thoroughly enjoying Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma, if for nothing else than Jeremy Northam's depiction of Mr Knightley, and the sparkling humor that threaded through the entire thing. Alan Cummings was delightfully sleazy as Mr Elton, too!

Beth said...

I love Emma too, for all those reasons. :) I've always found it funny that Jane herself thought Emma was unlikeable, and yet generations of readers continue to like her!

So glad you are also a fan of the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root version of Persuasion! I almost mentioned that today -- I love it too (and hmm...I think it was also made in 1995)! Agreed that Amanda Root just IS Anne.

I like the Gwyneth version too. Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates is wonderful. And yes, Jeremy Northam makes a great Knightley. What did you think of the latest Emma, the mini-series?

Anonymous said...

I thought that in general it was very good - I don't know much about Romola Garai, who played Emma, but I felt like she was over-acting for much of it. I read somewhere that her performance would have been perfect on stage, but was too much for screen, and I thought that summed it up well.

I thought that Jonny Lee Miller did a surprisingly (at least, it was a surprise to me) good job as Mr Knightley, though.