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Celebrating Jane

21 January 2013

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has millions of fans for whom she hasn’t grown a year older. That said, it has been 200 years since her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published, on 28 January 1813, and the rowdy literary celebrations are just kicking off.

So before someone calls the cops and spoils the fun, here are a few Austen tidbits for all you unruly fans out there:

Why? For Germaine Greer, who re-reads the novel every five years, the answer is simple: “Pride and Prejudice is the matrix on which all Harlequin romances are built. It’s the best-selling plot-line in literature.”

Here’s a link to the rest at the Independent, which offers an excellent article on Pride and Prejudice in its myriad forms.

To avoid anachronisms in her own historical works, Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass has created (and shared!) a dictionary of all the words used in Jane Austen’s collected works. You can find it on her website.

A Jane Austen Bicentennial Moleskine mini-journal is available here as a tangible souvenir of the bicentennial. I’ve ordered mine!

The Jane Austen Centre, at 40 Gay Street, Bath (Jane lived there for a while, but disliked the place intensely) will host a 24-hour celebrity-packed readathon on 28 January.

Googling Jane Austen Bicentennial will yield myriad tasty tidbits for Janeophiles, but possibly the most exciting, up-to-the-minute, and downright audacious find is this: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: an Online Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Lizzie Bennet and her friends post a twice-weekly video diary on several platforms that by all accounts does a wonderful job of bringing Jane’s most celebrated literary child to the 21st Century.

So happy birthday, Pride and Prejudice. And well done, Jane.

Posted by Bridget McKenna



6 Comments to “Celebrating Jane”

  1. Bridget Jones’ Diary which I would suggest began the chicklit tsunami–
    Bridget Jones is Elizabeth Bennet.
    Mark Darcy is Fitzwilliam Darcy.
    Mrs Jones is Mrs. Bennet/Lydia.
    Daniel Cleaver is Mr. Wickham.

  2. Bridget – what a plethora of Jane Austen links! Thank you! 😀

    I re-read Jane’s books periodically. Maybe not once a year, but not much more than that. I never fail to get something new from my re-reading. I <3 Jane.

    @Barbara – have you ever seen the movie Clueless with Alicia Silverstone? A re-telling of Emma.

  3. Mira, one night many years ago a bunch of us watched Emma, then Clueless. It was a wonderful combo.

    My very few paper books include a little set of Jane Austen, and I try to get through at least my very favorites (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and (#1)Persuasion) once a year or so. Sense & Sensibility is a wonderful story, but lacks the sparkling dialogue of later books; the Emma Thomson film is my preferred way of experiencing that one. Mansfield Park strikes me as a little preachy, and I never warmed up to Northanger Abbey as I have the aforementioned favorites.

    • I liked the Emma Thompson movie a lot. She said that when she was being an actress they treated her really well. When she was wearing her writer hat, they treated her like dirt.

      The Colin Firth BBC/P&P is my preferred version, can’t quite get myself to like the Keira Knightley movie although I very much like the Jane in that.

    • @ Barbara – sucks, but not surprising that the writer is treated badly.

      @ Bridget – that sounds so fun, to watch Emma and then Clueless. 🙂

      Sense and Sensibility is probably my least favorite. I really think Marianne got shafted. I think this was her first novel (?). My favorie is probably Emma, followed by Pride and Prejudice.

      Btw, I meant to mention, I saw your book – the little book of editing (brilliant!) featured on the very first page of Amazon kindle. Awesome and congrats! 😀

  4. Slipping out of TPV lurkdom for one of my favourite author topics, with a few more adaptations / recs to add to your list. 🙂

    There’s a delightful ‘Pride & Prejudice’ screen adaptation, the 1940 b&w film with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. After seeing it, Olivier firmly booted Colin Firth out of top spot to become my favourite Darcy! It’s quite a charming film, if you can get past the wrong costuming for the Regency era. The archery scene where Lizzie puts Darcy in his place is funny.

    Plus there’s a version of ‘Persuasion’ (2007 Brit TV film / WGBH) that’s a must-see. Stars Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones and Anthony Head. My favourite adaptation, especially the ending when Anne is in mind to accept Cpt. Wentworth’s proposal. RPJ is very swoonworthy! *g* Not sure if that’s been on US TV, but it’s available on DVD. Definitely worth viewing.

    And if you like stuff loosely based on Austen, there’s ‘Lost in Austen’, a 2008 ITV 4 part mini-series. Turns P&P on its head and swaps the characters / roles around, kind of like an inverse Austen universe. I found it okay, but pretty much only watched it for Alex Kingston (River Song in ‘Doctor Who’).

    / Slips back into TPV lurkdom

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