1. What is your favorite thing about Jane Austen? Why?
Favorite thing? Now that’s an awfully hard question. There are so many things I like about Jane Austen!
One thing I love about her is how real her stories and characters seem; as if they’re real people, and these things really happened—the way the stories just sweep you into their worlds until you are longing to travel to Highbury or Meryton; to go to Bath and attend a ball with Catherine Morland, or a concert with Anne Elliot. How these fictional lives just get into your head and stay there!
2. What are your top three Jane Austen novels and why?
Pride and Prejudice. It has such variety in it, so many interesting characters, and is – as Jane Austen cheerfully observed – ‘light, bright, and sparkling.’ It’s so fun to read; when I pick it up it never fails to put a smile on my face. It’s so easy to laugh when reading Pride and Prejudice! Oh yes, and then of course we have Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. With such a heroine and hero, how could it fail to be delightful?
Emma. One marvelous thing about Jane Austen’s novels is that every one of them are so different from each other, and Emma is one of the differentests. (I know that isn’t a word, but I’m using it anyways.) It has a comparatively small group of characters, yet the story is quite complex. There’s no clear-cut villain, there are two scoundrels. The hero isn’t acknowledged to be the hero until the end (although most readers will hope all along that he will be, because he’s such a good one!). Emma is very unlike all the other heroines – one that Jane Austen said no one but herself would much like. Although Emma can be very irritating at the beginning, as the story progresses, you learn to love her and you’re completely on her side by the end. She does improve, and the character development is amazing. It was well done indeed!
Sense and Sensibility. Very close to being my second favorite, it always delights me, and holds a special place in my heart as being the first Jane Austen story I was acquainted with. (Which, I suppose, is appropriate, since it was the first published.) One thing that makes this story different from the others is that it has two main characters – the sisters, Elinor and Marianne, both of which are very interesting to get to know; and very different from each other. It is a complex story with danger and romance; a brilliant assortment of characters: some funny, some irritating (even villainous); people to hate, people to love. Very classic, it is. And things are classic for a reason.
I dearly love all the Jane Austen heroines, but these are probably my top 3 favorites.
(Character banners made by Miss Bennet at Elegance of Fashion)
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Lizzy has taught me to find the amusement in things, and it’s been a pleasure to learn. She is “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print,” to once again quote Jane Austen. She is a very likable young lady, and although a bit of a tease, she is kind and thinks of others. And I must say, having a man carelessly, and with a knowledge that you might be within earshot, say you were “tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him” is a very good foundation for prejudice. (He makes up for it, though, in the end.
A quote from Elizabeth: “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
Emma Woodhouse from Emma. Some people become prejudiced at the beginning and Emma never grows on them, but it’s not the case with most people. As I mentioned above, most people are annoyed by her at the beginning, but by the end they like her. Somehow or other, I went through a sort of intense Emma phase, I’ve learned to love the story more and more, and I love Emma all the way through now. (And find myself defending her wherever I go! In the blogging world, mostly. Some of you may have noticed this.) She sees everything as being the way she wants them to be. She might appear rather selfish, but she really does mean well – or talks herself into thinking she means well, or something like that. All her mix-ups (and their outcomes) can’t help but make one laugh!
A quote from Emma: “There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”4. Who are your top three favorite Jane Austen Heroes and why?
(Not necessarily in this order, but-)
Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is misunderstood, not only in a large portion of the book, but also among some Jane Austen fans – while others adore him. With Mr. Darcy, I think you either get it, or you don’t. And when you do, it’s a little hard to explain, but I’ll tell you a few things I like about him. For one thing, he really is kind and considerate; we find this out when we visit Pemberley and talk to the housekeeper, and later to Miss Darcy. And then of course we have his steadfast love for Elizabeth, which is enough to melt my heart. What he goes through to keep her family from disgrace is truly heroic. Yes, of course he has faults, but everybody does; and it turns out he doesn’t have as many as you think he does at the beginning: and the mistakes he did make, he admits to being wrong, apologizes, and all that good stuff.
A quote from Mr. Darcy: “Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! … You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased,”
Mr. Knightley from Emma. Allow me to quote Emma a couple times here: “I know no man more likely than Mr Knightley to do the sort of thing—to do anything really good-natured, useful, considerate, or benevolent.” “You might not see one in a hundred, with gentleman so plainly written as in Mr Knightley.” Very true; Mr. Knightley is a very kind, considerate, true gentleman. Other people’s feelings always influence his actions. When he finds out that Frank is to marry someone besides Emma, does he rejoice that it might be possible for Emma to marry himself? No, Frank Churchill is a scoundrel, and Emma must be miserable. He must go to her, and make her feel better, if he can.—Dear Mr. Knightley! His long-lasting love for Emma is so touching. He’s no fairytale hero, and I like him all the better for it. He’s a real hero. Oh, and did I mention that he was Jane Austen’s favorite out of all her heroes?
A quote from Mr. Knightley: “I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance….It was badly done indeed! ...This is not pleasant to you, Emma—and it is far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,—I will tell you truths while I can, satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful counsel, and trusting that you will some time or other do me greater justice than you can do now.”
Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. Mr. Tilney is just so different from all the rest! (He has such an understanding of muslin! [I just had to borrow that line from Mrs. Allen. ha]) But it’s not so much his understanding of muslins, as his willingness to talk about it that I liked: and other things that might make other men uncomfortable to admit – or, they might not have them to admit. His liking the novels Catherine liked and talking freely about it I especially admired. And he makes me laugh!! There’s something to be said for funny characters; the clever kind of funny. And he’s just such a nice guy. And I think he and Catherine make such a sweet couple. Tehe…
A quote from Henry Tilney: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
(That may very well be my favorite quote!)
(That may very well be my favorite quote!)
5. Any honorable mentions for 3 and 4? (Keep it under five all together)
Can I combine the names to fit in more than 5, like this (Anne Price or Fanny Elliot)? No, I suppose not. Well then, heroines: Elinor Dashwood, Catherine Morland, Anne Elliot and Fanny Price; heroes: Colonel Brandon. (There, now I think I’ve mentioned someone from all the books.)
6. Top three Jane Austen adaptations and why?
Pride and Prejudice (BBC/A&E, 1995). My favorite movie! Unlike some, I celebrate the fact that it is 5 hours long, because then it can begin to do justice to the story, and provides all the more to enjoy! It has very good acting, and feels nice and old-fashioned, not that modern feeling some have, and very close to the book. My favorite part of the movie is the visit to Pemberley; and my favorite scene is the one that starts with Lizzy playing the piano and singing, at Pemberley. (She was playing Mozart, by the way; my brother informed me of that. haha) That scene makes me feel happy; so does the ending. When the movie is over I usually sit there with a silly smile on my face for a few moments. Oh, and I like the soundtrack, too.
Emma (BBC, 2009). Very delightful, this. Another one that really lifts the spirits, it is so bright and cheery! I think the Emma and Knightley actors do an excellent job, and I love the music, costumes, etc. Like with P&P, I have a favorite part: the ball; and my favorite scene is the one where Emma and Mr. Knightley dance. It’s so lovely! And again like P&P, the ending makes me happy, and I have to sit for a little while with the silly smile. As with any Jane Austen adaptation, there are some things I am dissatisfied with, but all in all I think it is a faithful version and captures the mood of the book. While it may be slightly modernized (with speech and body language), it still has that innocent feel to it that I like Jane Austen movies to have; and there’s hardly anything that makes me think “oh, come on, they would NOT have done/said that back then!” —I love it!!!
Sense and Sensibility (Columbia Films, 1995). This is the first Jane Austen movie I ever saw, and I was captivated. It has beautiful music, and a lovely old-fashioned-ness; the story, of course, is amazing. It has quite a few things that are different from the book (in most of these the 2008 mini-series is closer), but I really like general feel – that alone makes it more like the book. When a Jane Austen book is made into a film and not a mini-series, you can’t expect the whole story. Excellent Willoughby, hilarious Sir John and Mrs. Jennings…there are very few members of the cast that I thought didn’t fit the parts. And this movie is so very quotable!
7. Top three Jane Austen characters that "take delight in vexing" you?
Yikes! Does that say top three? There are so many who vex me! (But Mr. Bennet isn’t one of them. ha…) Okay, well, from the top of my top ten, I will mention: Miss Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility, George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice, and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. Those characters really make me seethe!
8. Jane Austen sequels... Do you like them or not?
I am afraid I have very little experience with them. If they are faithful to Jane Austen’s original characters and stories and don’t have anything inappropriate, I think I would like them. I have read a few re-tellings and two bio-novels of Jane Austen’s life, but that’s all; they were of course not quite up to the mark, but I did enjoy them (although they aren’t “sequels”.)
Perhaps I shall write one someday. :-)
9. Do you have a favorite spot to keep all your Jane Austen "stuff"?