Jane Austen and beyond

If you are a passionate Austen-ophile, as I am, and if you think the 1995 A&E production of Pride & Prejudice is one of the best movies/miniseries ever made, you really must check out the Austen encomium at Seraphic secret.

Only last month, I bought myself the DVD of Pride and Prejudice. I already own the VHS version, but haven't seen it in about ten years, since I haven't had a working tape player in that long. The DVD, however, has just been sitting around gathering dust because there are few occasions in my life for me to watch shows that only I, and no one else in the family, want to see. Robert's post, however, inspired me, and I am just going to have to make that time.

Indeed, I'm so inspired, I may see if my children will tolerate it — although I suspect they'll just characterize it as talkie-talkie. As it is, I'm delighted at their willingness to watch my beloved musicals with me. Right now, we're enjoying The Band Wagon, which is a wonderfully fresh, vibrant musical. I've been humming "That's Entertainment" all day as I work, which really is impressive, considering how not entertaining my work has been today.

Next stop for my kids will be either Bells are Ringing or Easter Parade.   My husband claims I'm training the kids to be geeks, but I'm not too worried.  Girls are allowed to enjoy these things, and boys who are gifted athletes, obsessed with all things military, and very musical, can get away with it.

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Comments

  1. says

    My wife is a big Jane Austen fan. I’ve really got to be in a book from the first few pages to keep my interest, and unfortunately Jane doesn’t do that for me.

    I have the same problem with James Fenimore Cooper.

    The wife has really enjoyed every version of P&P she’s seen.

  2. says

    I liked the sound of music and the internal introspective aspects of the novel Pride and Prejudice were always horizon broadening. It is really the story of someone who is self-honest enough to see their own flaws and to correct them. It is perhaps too much to ask this of the great majority of humanity, yet many people have such integrity and self-honesty.

  3. JJ says

    It’s easy to frame it for boys: just point out that Fred Astaire was probably one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century! Lay out the steps, turn on the tape (or DVD), and see how long any of your athletes can keep up with him! Should any of them happen to manage that, then add a girl for them to lift, keep balanced, and carry – while still, of course, keeping up their own steps and staying with him. Then, for the final challenge, you might say: “oh, and by the way, I don’t want to see you working at it – make it look easy.”

  4. says

    I had barely heard of P&P before marriage, and that was my loss. My first intro to the novel was the A&E production, which I dearly love. Jennifer Ehle (?) *is* Elizabeth Bennet for me, and how anyone can convincingly play Darcy for anyone who has seen Colin Firth in the role is quite beyond me.

    I was ready to be totally disappointed with the new movie, but found it wonderful in its own way…..certain parts I liked even better than A&E, although not overall. I think what disturbed me most were some changes in the speeches that made it more 21st century in its ethos…and we hardly need more of that.

    After watching the new movie, Gail and I read the original novel out loud – I’d never read it before. Jane Austen’s insights into human relationships, and her ability to penetrate the human heart, are stunning – Gail enjoyed the novel all over again, and I was blown away.

    To those of you who love P&P, let me recommend Pamela Aidan’s three books called Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman. We’ve read all three of these out loud, as well. Aidan retains the tone and sensibility of the original, and knowing the “backstory” to P&P is great fun. Having a foundation for some of Darcy’s (Austen-written) activities is fascinating, and the books are also interesting just at stories in their own right. It seems plain from certain scenes and passages that Aidan has watched the A&E series – her novels mesh beautifully with the movie as well as with the novel.

    You can be honest — is it really weird that a male should enjoy P&P so much?
    :-)

  5. says

    I love the A&E version as well. Though I must admit that I have not read the book as yet. It is on my “to read” list, but that keeps getting longer and longer all the time!

  6. says

    Given that Pride and Prejudice isn’t about men being brutish little pocks and women being glorious saints, I tend to think it’s not sappy for men to like it. Fair’s fair, whether it is romance or war.

    The funny bit was, I kept asking myself as I read the novel as a required class exercise, was “which one is pride, and which one is prejudice”? That didn’t become apparent until the end. And even then, it was hard to categorize “virtues” without the philosophy of Aristotle as a background.

    Virtues and vices, what make people good or bad, kind or cruel.

    I think a lot of men like justice. It’s pretty apparent that men get a kick out of seeing someone who is wrong being punished. Went all the back to lynching murderers and robbers in the Wild West. Just had to be done, some people need killing ya know. This may make people see it as insensitive, but really it is almost genetically hardwired that seeing a WRONG corrected makes people feel good. The feeling, I recall from scientific studies, is a bit different for men than women. Men seem to get a visceral pleasure out of it, while women perhaps might just get another kind satisfaction.

    But regardless, I think it is nice to see the heroine admitting her mistake to the reader. How often do men make jokes about women always being right? That kind of intro-spection is always what drew me to science fiction, characters who question their fate and personality and flaws when confronted by insurmountable odds.

    I definitely don’t know why it was a hit back in the day when it was written of course, social mores were quite a tad different back then. But perhaps the whole marriage issue made it a big thing. I don’t think most men, me included, really felt anything but bland curiosity over the whole wedding thing, a historical curiosity no more. You know, in the beginning, talking about who marries who or whatever?

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