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Showing posts from 2015

I'm Back! Library Ramblings and Longbourn Book Review

I'm back gentle readers!

After finishing the semester and starting a summer job, I've been a little busy and honestly, I'm enjoying the opportunity to be lazy again. It's been eight months since I haven't had to worry about how much homework I have for tomorrow.

One of my first stops after summer began was the local library, one of my favorite places and home to many cherished memories. My mom took my siblings and I on weekly trips to the library when we were younger, and we were only limited by the amount of books we could carry.

I stopped going to the library in high school, then rediscovered it again when I was a sophomore in college. Being a broke English major made the library the obvious place for me to get my insatiable fill of books without having to pay a dime. Whoever created the idea of a free public lending library, God bless you.

So, in my latest excursion to the library, I found a copy of Jo Baker's Longbourn, a Pride and Prejudice variation that…

Austen Illustrations

One of my favorite nerdy Janeite things to do is to find illustrations of Jane Austen's novels, particularly ones from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. There is something so intriguing about seeing how someone else many years ago viewed a particular scene or character, yet we both read the same words on the page.

I particularly love the illustrations by C.E. Brock and H.M. Brock, which were done during the 1890s and early 1900s. They were brothers who created most of the classic and beautiful illustrations. Seriously, look at the picture above. The colors and drawings are exquisite. If you want to learn more about the pair, check out this site. Hugh Thomson is another artist who did classic Jane Austen illustrations at the time as well.

This one just cracks me up. C.E. Brock totally captured Mr. Collins and his horrific proposal in this drawing. He's so tall, awkward, and pompous. Elizabeth is slanted away from him and desperately doing anything rath…

The Comic Relief

What is a Jane Austen novel without the secondary characters who say the most outrageous things and keep us laughing constantly?

I have many favorite secondary characters in Jane Austen; in my opinion, they are often the ones who steal the show with their odd ways and awkward situations.

Two men in particular have a special place in my heart for their nonsensical ways.

The first is dear Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's father in Emma. He is such a kind and caring soul; he only wants what is best for his two beloved girls. However, that does mean that he goes over the top in trying to protect them from the world. He is also a hypochondriac and very irrational about health in general.

My favorite Mr. Woodhouse quotes:
"His own stomach could bear nothing rich, and he could never believe other people to be different from himself. What was unwholesome to him, he regarded as unfit for any body; and he had, therefore, earnestly tried to dissuade them from having any wedding-cake at all, and wh…

The Pride and Prejudice Adaptation Showdown

Picking a favorite Pride and Prejudice adaptation is often a very divisive issue for Janeites. The only thing worse is picking a favorite Darcy portrayal. Oh the horror! 
Now there are many more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, such as the 1940 and 1980 versions, but the two that I am the most familiar with are the 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle BBC miniseries, and the 2005 Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen movie, so we will be sticking with those two for simplicity's sake.  In one corner, we have the 1995 BBC miniseries, most famous for Colin Firth's wet shirt scene (above), Jennifer Ehle's eyebrows and smirk, and the most eccentric Mrs. Bennet ever portrayed.
I LOVE this miniseries. This is about as close as you will get to the book in an adaptation, granted, it is almost 6 hours long. However, it is a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon. The acting is fantastic, and I love the character portrayals in this series.  One of the strengths of this miniseries is that it …

If you like Jane Austen...

If you like Jane Austen movie adaptations, period costume drama, or are just suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal, I may be able to help you.
I do absolutely love Jane Austen, but I also enjoy English costume drama in general. If you only limit yourself to Jane Austen, you are missing out on fantastic masterpieces of cinematography. Therefore gentle readers, we are going just beyond the perimeters of Jane Austen today. I have compiled a short list in no particular order of must see movies if you enjoy Jane Austen adaptations. 

1. North and South (2004): This may be one of my all time favorite period dramas. This mini-series is based on Elizabeth Gaskell's mid-19th century novel about social and romantic conflict between the industrial north and the rural south of England. Just so you all know, I think the movie is better than the book. I don't say that often gentle readers, so pay attention. It is darker than Jane Austen, but not so dark that you feel like your soul has be…

Jane Austen Merchandise

Did you know that such a thing as a Jane Austen action figure existed? I wasn't aware until recently, but I will certainly be trying to track one down. She even comes with a quill, writing desk, and small copy of one of her works. I'm pretty sure owning one of these would solidify my nerd status for eternity. However, I'm okay with that.

There is a lot of other fun/cool/weird Jane Austen merchandise out there. Some of it I own, and others I wish I possessed. I've compiled a short list of these items.

I was recently given this beautiful, fantastic, glorious, perfect (have I used enough adjectives yet?) scarf by a wonderful and dear friend. It has the scene at the end of Pride and Prejudice where Lizzie and Darcy are discussing how he fell in love with her printed on it. It's soft, classy, and a perfect accessory to lots of outfits. I'm going to be that English teacher who wears their favorite book as a scarf someday, and I could not be more excited about it.


The 200th Anniversary of Emma

This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Emma. Now, its not until December 25th, but since Emma is one of my favorite novels, we are going to talk about it this week. 

Before she started the novel, Jane Austen said, "I'm going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." Then she proceeded to write one of the greatest novels in the English language. 

The first line of the novel captures that statement and sets the tone for the rest of the novel:
"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

Emma is practically perfect; her only downfall is that she knows she is perfect. Therefore, she spends the entire novel trying to arrange other peoples' lives since she believes she is a model matchmaker. She royally messes up everyo…

My Favorite Austen Men

I'm not going to lie to all of you. This statement is true for me.
Mr. Darcy was my first Jane Austen love since I discovered Pride and Prejudice when I was 13, so that automatically makes him my favorite. He is intelligent, handsome, and the kindest man on earth. There is a reason that almost every woman in the world is in love with him. If you are not, you're wrong.

But it is not just Mr. Darcy whom I admire. There are two other very special men of Jane Austen's creation who I think deserve more credit than they receive.

Mr. Knightley (Emma)
Knightley is perfect because he is the perfect balance of sarcasm, intelligence and charm. He loves Emma through everything and shows that the best love can grow out of friendship. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."

Captain Wentworth (Persuasion)
 *Sigh.* He waits for Anne for SEVEN years, even when she was persuaded to reject him the first time. If that isn't commitment and love, I don't…

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Gentle readers, I have something pretty special to share with you all today.
Four words: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
I discovered the series my freshmen year of college when one of my friends (ahem, Veronica) told me that I had to watch it if I liked Pride and Prejudice. I was mildly intrigued, and started watching the first couple of episodes on YouTube here
Then I was hooked. 
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern day multimedia storytelling of Pride and Prejudice. They posted new three to six minute episodes every Monday and Thursday for a year, so the characters and story were developed in real time. All of the characters had active twitter accounts as well, and they interacted with each other and the fans. Mondays became one of my favorite days of the week simply because I knew whenever I got back from my 11a.m. class, there would be an update from Lizzie Bennet of what had happened to her over the weekend, and the crazy shenanigans that were happening in her life. 

What made th…

My Thoughts on Death Comes to Pemberley

As a rule, I generally don't like period Jane Austen fan fiction, sequels, what ifs, etc.

However, that doesn't mean I won't ever read or watch them; I'm just selective. I feel like the characters belong to the author and therefore should be treated with the utmost care. I suppose I am a bit of a purist.

Consequently, I wasn't expecting to like Death Comes to Pemberley, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. When I saw the TV series would be on PBS last fall, I was skeptical but willing to give it a try. I never could say no to a period costume drama.

Here is a short synopsis *without spoilers* of the plot for those of you who need it:
Elizabeth and Darcy are happily married at Pemberley six years after the events of Pride and Prejudice.   They are planning to host a ball, but everything is disrupted when a murder is committed in the Pemberley woods, and the notorious Wickham is discovered at the scene of the crime, claiming he is innocent. Darcy and Elizabeth must over…

A Formal Introduction

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl in possession of a project, blog and twitter, must be in want of an audience.

A little introduction about me: I'm an English and Education double major at a small college in Missouri. I watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice when I was 12, read the classic book immediately after, and never looked back. Now you could say I'm simply obsessed with Jane Austen.

My hope for this blog is to share the genius of Jane Austen and to have fun while doing it.

So, to begin this blog correctly, let's talk about Jane Austen movie adaptations.

Since Valentine's Day is this next weekend, what better way to celebrate than to watch a Jane Austen adaptation? Whether it's with your significant other, or with your girlfriends, you just can't beat the wit and heart of Jane Austen and her characters.

Here are three suggestions for this weekend, in no particular order:

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005): This movie is beautiful, lu…