Persuasion 1995. I watched this movie a long time ago and I didn’t like it very much. However, I hadn’t read the book yet (or any Jane Austen novel for that matter) so I think I’ll enjoy it more this time.
I recently read Miss Dashwood’s interesting post on Recasting Mansfield Park. I was thinking of what I could think up of along those lines and the first person who popped into my mind was Kiera Knightley as Mary Crawford. My mom said she always pictured Mary blonde, but I’ve always thought of her as dark. Opinions?
Anyway, I thought KK (the lovely, spirited Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice 2005) would make an awesome Mary Crawford. What do you think?
(BTW, if you think that title was dumb, it was the best I could do)
When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I picked Northanger Abbey. Why? It was the shortest and the summary on the back looked interesting. This is what happened: I got two pages into it and quit. I wasn’t used to reading ‘old-fashioned’ books and I couldn’t get through it.
We had just finished watching Mansfield Park 2007 so I decided to borrow the book from the library (wrong choice!). I didn’t understand a word of it so I gave up. (It didn’t help that the film is nothing like the book). After that I backed off from Austen for awhile.
A little later, I came across The Jane Austen Handbook in a little gift shop. My mom liked Jane Austen a lot so I decided to get it and if I didn’t like it, she could have it. I read it…and didn’t put it down for several days. Of course, I had never read any of Jane Austen’s books so I didn’t catch all the delightful hints that the author puts in.
I worked up enough courage to try Austen again. I bought a shamefully “lopt and cropt” version of Pride and Prejudice at…the dollar store. It left out many things such as Jane’s visit to Netherfield and Lady Catherine coming to see Lizzy, but I enjoyed reading it. I then set out to read the full, unabridged book.
I struggled through it for a few days and then finally found my pace and started to enjoy it. I still had trouble understanding parts of it so I read bits of it at a time. I finally finished it and as a reward, treated myself to Pride and Prejudice 2005.
I read Sense and Sensibility a little later on, using the same method, and then finally all of her wonderful books. I thought to myself “There! I’ve finished them all and I can say I have.” But, like Lizzy with Darcy’s letter, they were soon brought out for further perusal.
I am proud to say that I can read large portions of Jane Austen’s books without stopping for a breather. I have read all of them more than once and even got through Lady Susan (which wasn’t so bad once I got into it).
My Austen collection includes all her major novels, an abridged version of Pride and Prejudice (not the one I mentioned above), The Jane Austen Handbook, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Jane Austen: A Celebration of her Life and Works, and a ‘deluxe’ Pride and Prejudice 1995 DVD.
Were you able to dive into Austen right away, or did you have to wade in?
Jane Austen Heroine Week has been a big success (IMHO). This post will look back over all the posts that have come up this week.
Day 1: I started up a fan-fiction contest and a little blog award draw. Congratulations to Jill! She won the blog award draw. Thank you to the other seven bloggers who entered. I will be posting all the fan-fiction entries I received later on and I’ll put up a poll so you can vote on your favorite.
Poll Results: Emma Thompson received 16 votes. Hattie Morahan received 4.
Day 2: I posted a set of tag questions. Thanks to all who answered them.
Poll Results: Kate Winslet received 15 votes. Charity Wakefield received 2.
Day 3: On day three I posted a set of words to unscramble. Here are the scores.
Miss Laurie – 36
Lydia Foster – 22
Elizabeth Bennet – 32
Poll Results: Jennifer Ehle received 15 votes. Kiera Knightley received 8.
Day 4: Day four was two wonderful guest posts by two wonderful bloggers.
Poll Results: Sylvestra Le Touzel received 4 votes; Frances O’ Conner, 7; Billie Piper, 7.
Day 5: I posted the results of a Jane Austen Heroine Quiz and talked about my favorite heroines.
Poll Results: Gwenyth Paltrow received 8 votes. Romola Garia received 7.
Day 6: On day six, I posted my tag answers. I had a lot of fun!
Poll Results: Amanda Root received 5 votes. Sally Hawkins received 2.
Day 7: I started up a great giveaway for a P and P 2005 soundtrack. I highly suggest you check it out.
Poll Results: Margaret Dashwood, 6; Charlotte Lucas, 2; Jane Bennet, 8; Georgiana Darcy, 4; Mary Crawford, 1; Harriet Smith, 2; Jane Fairfax, 5; Eleanor Tilney, 4.
Please take a little time to complete a survey about JAHW.
Today I will posting two lovely guest posts by two lovely bloggers – Miss Laurie and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. The first one is by Miss Laurie.
My Favorite Jane Austen Heroines
Jane Austen’s heroines are definitely my favorite ladies in all of English Literature. I’ve spent so much time reading their stories, watching their film adaptations and dreaming about their lives beyond the books that I sometimes feel I know them better than I know myself! It’s difficult to choose which of the Austen heroines are is my favorite because they are so wonderful! Here I’d like to talk about the ladies who make it into my top three favorites.
Anne Elliot of Persuasion – Anne’s virtues are many! She is sweet, patient, kind, selfless, tenderhearted and mothering. She loves her family even though they frequently neglect her. She is a faithful friend, a caring aunt, a good listener and acts upon what she knows to be right. Her one fault is having not believed in her own good sense and worth enough to marry Captain Wentworth when he first asked. I identify with her in a way but until I had patience like a saint I could never be as constant as Anne. Loving as she did when all hope is gone can only come from a deeply attached heart. Her heart aches with regrets and yet still her sense is invaluable and she is always of use to those around her. She has the great elegance and sense that I especially admire in a heroine and hope to have myself. I admire her greatly and rejoice in her final gain of the man who truly loves and appreciates her. Miss Anne has been a favorite for a long time and each time I re-read Persuasion I just grow to love her more!
Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey – As the heroine of my favorite Austen novel Catherine has a lot of charm for me. She is young, a home school graduate, a minister’s daughter, loves her family very much and has a bit of a curious and adventurous spirit. She was a bit of a tomboy as a girl but is finally growing up into a lovely young woman with a taste for feminine things. She has a great love of books and enjoys their mystery and romance. Her faults are few but one of them is an overactive imagination (fueled by the novels she reads) that gets her into trouble sometimes. One great thing about her is that she is so pure of heart and makes decisions based on her good heart and a desire to do what is right. I have identified with Catherine many times over the past few years – like her sometimes my love of mystery and romance tales makes my imagination run away with me. Being young she has a lot of time to grow into the wonderful wife and mother that she will be.
Fanny Price of Mansfield Park – In the last few monthsMiss Price and I have become fast friends! Every time I read about her I find more to admire! I used to think that Fanny was just painfully shy, but she’s not really, she’s more methodical and chooses her words carefully. Even though Fanny is young she is so sweet, kind, caring and helpful to the people around her. She was a good big sister to her many siblings and when she’s transplanted it takes a little bit for her to start growing out of her shell but Mansfield Park really does become her true home. She has a good heart and a good head and always tries to make right decisions. She’s a good judge of character and stays firm to her purpose. Fanny has an abiding faith in God which guides her actions, even Henry Crawford sees this. She loves her hero faithfully and prays for his happiness even when he seems to be in love with another woman. I love Fanny dearly and strive each day to reach her level of Christian faith and virtues!
And I can’t finish without briefly mentioning dear sensible Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. She’s a favorite too and I love everything about her story but sometimes she’s a bit too much like me! I hope to have as nice and happy an ending to my story as she has to hers.
Thank you Eva-Joy for hosting this lovely Jane Austen Heroine Week and for inviting me to talk about my favorite Austen heroines!
Miss Laurie is the admin of Old-Fashioned Charm. It’s a wonderful blog about Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and ‘Everything Old-Fashioned Under The Sun’
Defining the Austen Heroine
After reading one of her books, we really get a sense of who Jane Austen’s heroines are. We learn their habits, their virtues, their vices, we understand what they are thinking and how they are feeling, we could read a quote and say “Yep, that sounds like a Lizzy Bennet.” But what is it that defines an Austen heroine? What characteristics do they all share that define them as Austen heroines? After all, not all Austen Heroines are the same. Jane Austen’s heroines reflect people that we may see in our lives (or maybe even ourselves), and though they are not identical, they share similarities that make them heroines. Some could even be considered opposites. For example, Emma Woodhouse from Emma and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park are pretty different when it comes to personality: Fanny is shy, and Emma is outgoing; Fanny has been described as dull, while Emma has been described as vivacious. But despite those differences, they have those qualities that make them heroines (for example, both attend and are involved in their church). As you read this post, keep in mind that some of the characteristics that I mention may apply to some heroines more than others.
Characteristic #1: A Strong Sense of Morality
When you read through a Jane Austen novel, you will notice that the book you are reading may fall under multiple categories. They’re works of satire, they’re comedies, they’re romances (though not in the mushy sense), but they are also morality stories. Jane’s heroines are a strong moral rock through which we watch the story in front of us unfold. Here are a couple of examples of this:
Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)
Though not to say that her sister, Marianne, has no sense of morality, Elinor has both good sense and morality that makes her the strong moral rock in Sense and Sensibility. While reading Sense and Sensibility, there are times where Elinor tries to think the incidents of the novel with her good sense and morality. She tells Marianne when she is acting improperly (like when Marianne was touring Allenham with Willoughby: Elinor says to Marianne, “”I am afraid…that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety”).
Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
Elizabeth has a very strong sense of morality and the right way to act. She knows her younger sisters act improperly: they shamelessly flirt with all of the officers and don’t seem to have any propriety. When Mr. Bennet refused to take all the Bennets to visit Brighton to visit the militia, Elizabeth is relieved since she knows how her younger sisters would act and how it would look to all of the Bennets. But when Lydia tells her that she is to go with Mrs. Forster, Elizabeth, with her sense of morality and knowing what Lydia is capable of acting like, pleaded with her father saying that he cannot let her go to Brighton because of Lydia’s wild behavior. She knows that Lydia’s behavior would affect all of the Bennets, and she proves to be correct when Lydia elopes with Wickham.
Now, having not completed Mansfield Park (which I really need to get back to), I cannot fully comment on all of Fanny’s behavior, but I think I have a clear enough of a picture of her to write up a short section. Fanny has a very high sense of morality, which can lead to many readers finding her dull (though I certainly do not!). That is what I like about Fanny, that in contrast to Mary Crawford she has a very strong sense of right and wrong. When Mary Crawford makes inappropriate remarks at dinner, Fanny realizes that it was wrong of her to do so.
Characteristic #2: Honesty (It is the best policy, after all)
How many of Jane Austen’s heroines can you say are liars and cheaters? None. Every one of Jane Austen’s heroines are honest. Not all of them are bluntly honest since some of them say things a little more delicately than others, but they are all honest. Here are some examples:
Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)
“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.” This is one of Catherine’s most well known quote. Catherine, though she is a bit naive, is very honest. She doesn’t always put things delicately, but you can never accuse her of purposely misleading anyone. When she was caught exploring Mrs. Tilney’s room at Northanger Abbey, she doesn’t cover up why she was there: she tells Henry Tilney up front why she was there; now, perhaps in that instance, she didn’t need to mention her suspicions of General Tilney, but she didn’t lie about why she was in Mrs. Tilney’s room.
Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)
Could anyone accuse Marianne of saying anything that she did not have her full heart in? No. Because she has so much heart in everything she says and does, Marianne is very honest…Sometimes too honest. If she doesn’t like the way Mrs. Jennings is acting, she doesn’t hide it. In some instances, she can sometimes say some mean things because of her severe honesty. She probably needs to work on putting things more delicately, but she ought to keep her honesty.
Characteristic #3: A Good Nature
All of Jane Austen characters have a good nature. There are many levels to having a “good nature”, but Jane Austen’s heroines have a good nature in more than one way. For one thing, there really isn’t any malice in any of them. Sure, they may be wronged, but we don’t see them say that they wish ill on those who wronged them. For instance, in Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne recovers from her illness and though Willoughby was the cause of it, she didn’t wish ill on him: she only wishes that he will suffer no more than she has.
What can also fall under a good nature is good intentions. In Emma, Emma Woodhouse makes a lot of mistakes, but you have to remember that she means well. She doesn’t mess up on purpose, but she genuinely wants to help out her neighbors, though her attempts are usually met with failure.
There is also a caring nature apart of that good nature. Persuasion’s Anne Elliot is possibly one of the most caring characters in literature: she is a good listener and listens to all of her family’s problems (even when it’s about other family members) and she helps wherever she can.
Sure, for a good nature, some Austen Heroines have different elements of a good nature, but they are all good-natured women.
Those three characteristics are some of the ways that an Austen Heroine can be defined. Jane Austen has created a variety of characters and a variety of heroines that though they are very different from each other have those characteristics that bind them together. In each of her heroines, we can see the role models that Jane Austen intended.
Jane Austen’s heroes and villains are the same in almost all her novels. The villains are charming, handsome, and what seems to be the perfect man. The heroes almost always are not as handsome, charming, etc. as the villains.
Pride and Prejudice
The Villain: Wickham is handsome, cheerful, always ready to talk, and very charming. It’s small wonder that Elizabeth almost fell for him. But he has a rotten side to him as his elopement with Lydia and his near-elopement with Georgiana shows.
The Hero: Mr. Darcy is proud, taciturn, and has an irritating habit of meddling with his friend’s love life. He snubs Elizabeth and if Wickham’s account is true, treated him very badly. However, Elizabeth’s response to his first proposal causes him to truly examine himself and Jane Austen shows how much he has changed when he does everything in his power to find Wickham and Lydia and have them safely married.
Sense and Sensibility
The Villain: John Willoughby is everything Marianne ever dreamed of. Handsome, witty, and romantic. But he lets Marianne think he will still marry her while he courts Miss King. She almost dies because of his treachery.
The Hero: Colonel Brandon is a true gentleman. He is kind and caring. He is not like fickle Willoughby – he stayed true to Marianne even when she was in love with the man who had dealt so badly with his ward, Eliza. Colonel Brandon is, however, several years older than Marianne and in the beginning of the book she views him as old and infirm. But he proves an invaluable friend during the time of Marianne’s illness and she comes to love him and he loves her.
Note: I do not believe that Marianne grew bored or unhappy with being Colonel Brandon’s wife and longed for Willoughby to come and rescue her, as some spin-offs of Sense and Sensibility portray it. In S and S, Marianne clearly recognizes the danger that she was in when she was so friendly with Willoughby and ‘renounces’ him.
The Villain: Henry Crawford is charming, kind, and attentive. He is devoted to Fanny. But she sees through him and remembers his treatment of her cousins, Julia and Maria. Even when he is kind to her and her uncle pressures her, she still holds fast to her refusal of his proposal. Her instincts prove right when he scandalously elopes with the now married Maria.
The Hero: Edmund Bertram is quiet and unassuming but honest and capable of deep feeling. His earnest desire is to go into the church which he does. He is infatuated with Mary Crawford from the first, but Fanny still maintains her love for him. After Mary shows her true (unsavory) colors, Edmund turns back to the one woman who always gladdened his heart – Fanny.
The Villain: I wouldn’t exactly classify Frank Churchill as a villain. He’s just a man of weak character. But I didn’t like the way he treated Jane Fairfax. He was very villainous there. He led Emma into doing some awful things (dreadful gossip about Jane Fairfax, insulting Miss Bates) and for that I cannot forgive him.
The Hero: Mr. Knightly is one of the best heroes Jane Austen created. Generous, kind, and so much more. But he’s sixteen years older than Emma which made her take so long to find out she loved him. Mr. Knightly is probably my favorite Austen hero (especially when he’s played by Johnny Lee Miller :))
The Villain: I never really paid much attention to Mr. Elliot but I do know that the only reason he came to see Anne and her sister and father was to see if Sir Elliot was going to marry again. I can’t really say I think he’s much of a villain (correct me if I’m wrong).
The Hero: Although Capt. Wentworth isn’t my favorite Austen hero, he does have many good points. He’s kind and caring and he still loves Anne, although he tries to deny it. And he does write a wonderful, love letter. 🙂
The Villain: Although he doesn’t elope with anyone, or anything like that, John Thorpe is still (to me) a villain. He tries to propose to Catherine, he swears a lot, and he’s really irritating (like his sister). And in the 2007 NA, he’s very creepy.
The Hero: Now we get to everyone’s favorite Austen clergyman – Henry Tilney! As I read in a Jane Austen book yesterday NA is the only Jane Austen novel where the heroine is in danger of being eclipsed by the hero. Henry Tilney is charming, witty, and well…just perfect in every way.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please tell me your favorites and least favorites of the villains and heroes.
I am an unconventional Janeite. I don’t follow the Janeite ‘norms’. Let me explain.
For starters, Mansfield Park is my favorite Jane Austen novel. Not many Janeites like Mansfield Park the best of all her novels. They prefer lighter works such as Emma or Pride and Prejudice. I like Mansfield Park because of its complexity and richness. It has an intricate plot and a ‘different’ heroine – one who is not lively and adventurous, but rather shy and quiet.
Another point is that I LOVE Pride and Prejudice 2005 and I dislike Pride and Prejudice 1995. And I think that Colin Firth striding out of the lake is just silly. Jane Austen didn’t put that in Pride and Prejudice. “What!” you might be saying at this moment. “She doesn’t admire and revere the sacred 1995 adaption that every other Janeite does? She must not be a Janeite!” I assure you in the most animated terms that I am a fervent Janeite. I just don’t like Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Darcy and Elizabeth.
I must say that I enjoy being unconventional. I don’t like to fit into what everyone thinks a Janeite must be. “Must adore Colin Firth’s Darcy. Pride and Prejudice has to be her favorite novel.” And on and on.
When I watched Emma 2009, I didn’t want to be conventional and say that it is my favorite adaption of Emma so I tried to convince myself that I like the 1996 adaption better. However, I am now ready to admit that I love that adaption and always will.
Are you conventional or not? Please comment and let me know your thoughts on my ramblings. (And I won’t hold it against you if you happen to prefer Pride and Prejudice 1995 over every other adaption.)
I will be hosting a Jane Austen Heroine Week (JAHW) from March 11-18. This the introductory post. I’m putting this up early so that you can have lots of time to post about it on your blog and spread the word. I’ve been planning this for weeks and I hope that it goes well.
Here are the buttons. Please put one (or two) up on your blog and link back to me.
Here is an overview of the posts of the JAHW.
Sunday – Fan-fiction contest, blog award
Monday – Tag questions
Tuesday – Jane Austen Heroine-related games
Wednesday – Guest Post
Thursday – Misc. Jane Austen Heroine stuff
Friday – My tag question answers
Saturday – An AWESOME giveaway…don’t miss it!
I will also be featuring a different Austen heroine. Here they are in order of when I’ll be featuring them.
Do you know what I used as a rule for the order in which they come?
I wrote a post a couple of months ago called Defending Mansfield Park. You can read it here. This is post is by far the most controversial and the most commented post. It received five comments by other people and two by me. There are conflicting views expressed in the comments and I will post the different comments I received:
You really believe that Fanny Price is mature? I don’t. I find her to be a hypocritical bore. – ladylavinia1932
I can’t decide which between Persuasion and Mansfield Park is Austen’s most mature work. Anne Elliot and Fanny Price are two unlike characters, having been brought up in vastly different environments. One cannot expect Fanny to trust her own mind and be as lively and pretty as Anne…
Mansfield Park is a very interesting novel. Not only did Austen explore to some depths the human mind but also wrote a story that seemingly runs on its own–almost independent of the author’s hand–letting the characters struggle, suffer the consequences of their ambition and ideals, and work themselves through the world they’d been placed in.
(I raise my glass.) To your valiant defense of Mansfield Park! – auxochrome
I remember seeing this post a few days ago and felt glad you were defending MP. It’s rather strange to some, perhaps, that I defend my least favorite Jane Austen book so much; but that just says how much I love all her works, that though it may be my technical ‘least favorite’ I still love it!
The main thing I like about it is Fanny Price. I sympathize with her and love her. I’m not really a fan of Edmund – mainly for going for Mary – but I still like him tolerably well enough. =) He is such a nice fellow. Now if Miss Austen had included a redeeming proposal quote, I might be more disposed to rate him highly. tehe…
It drives me nuts when people say Fanny is judgmental, or boring, or whatever else they say about her. They just don’t understand her if they do! =)
I think the main thing to boost MP’s popularity would be a good miniseries of it. I hope one comes soon! – Melody
Mansfield Park may not reach my top three favorite Austen books, but I found it neither dull nor boring. It was, in fact, interesting. Fanny’s a lovely character with wonderful, strong qualities. Although Edmund doesn’t rank high as my favorite Austen heroes, I agree: he still has many good character traits as well. – Jemimah C.
So as you can see, I received conflicting views and opinions. However, I welcome all your comments, positive or not-so-positive, as long as they are kept polite.
For an early New Years gift (we don’t celebrate Christmas), my Dad bought me all the Jane Austen novels in a beautiful boxed set. Since I don’t own any actual Jane Austen novels (didn’t own! :)) I was really excited and happy to have them all now. The only problem we had was that Mansfield Park‘s pages were badly crushed but we were able to exchange it for and almost identical copy. All the novels have blue spines (except M.P. which has a black one), and are paperbacks.
Review of Pride and Prejudice 2005
I recently watched this great movie so of course I wanted to do a review of it.
For starters, the Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfayden are THE Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I really like Colin Firth’s and Jennifer Ehle’s performance too, but K.K. and M.M. are the best.
The music, the scenery, and the costumes are all wonderful. Elizabeth does have her hair down more than once (a Regency no-no), and George Wickham looks so creepy that it’s a wonder Elizabeth could believe his story.
But there are several factors that make this my favorite P and P adaption. For one, Caroline Bingley is better (in my opinion) than the 1995 version. She’s so venomous and I think she really brings out the worst in her character. For instance…
Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy: I dearly love a laugh.
Caroline Bingley (with scorn): A family trait I should think.
The story, even though it is condensed into two hours, follows the book very well. Lady Catherine (though a bit old for her role) looks a lot more imposing in this version than the Lady Catherine in the 1995 version.
Again, the music, scenery, everything was wonderful. The characters were well cast and the plot is interesting and moves swiftly and interestingly. That is my opinion of the 2005 P and P…and now despise me if you dare.
Thanks for taking time to read this post, and please come again soon.
For some unknown reason, M.P. has usually received a bad rap among Austen fans. “It’s too dull. Fanny and Edmund are boring as a heroine and hero.” In my mind, nothing could be further from the truth. M.P., I think, is Austen’s most mature novel. It really explores the human mind and displays the differences between good and bad. M.P. is also an entertaining read. From the private theater to the visit to Sotherton to the deep discussions between the main characters and Fanny’s come-out ball I am never bored. M.P. is perhaps not as entertaining as Pride and Prejudice; as light-hearted as Northanger Abbey; as sparkling as Emma; as satisfying as Sense and Sensibility; or as tender and romantic as Persuasion, it still ranks (in my thinking) as one of the top three of Austen’s works.
Fanny is a very interesting character. In her own quiet way, she is the strongest of all the characters. She refuses to act and doesn’t get carried away by the charm and good looks of Henry Crawford. She is intelligent, understanding, and full of many other good qualities. Fanny may not be the liveliest Austen heroine, but besides Anne Elliot, she is probably the most mature of all heroines.
Edmund is not boring and dull. He has lots of good character traits even though he is led somewhat astray by Mary Crawford. Edmund and Fanny understand each other very well, and it’s easy to tell why they are attracted to each other.
Thus ends my post. Sorry for ranting, but I just can’t understand people when they say that M.P. is boring and dull. Have a good day and please tell me what you think about M.P.