Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sense and Sensibility: Nancy or Anne?

Miss Steele, Lucy Steele’s older sister, is quite the funny character, with her constant talk of “beaux” and her very quotable line from the 2008 mini-series: “It just popped out!” ---But what is her first name? 

I had thought it was Anne from watching BBC’s 2008 version. But in the book, she is usually called Nancy when she is not referred to as “Miss Steele”. But I found one occurrence where Lucy calls her Anne. Here are two parts of the book:

(Chapter 37, Mrs. Jennings speaking to Elinor) “Well, and so this was kept a great secret, for fear of Mrs. Ferrars, and neither she nor your brother or sister suspected a word of the matter,--till this very morning. Poor Nancy, who, you know, is a well-meaning creature, but no conjurer, popt it all out.”…“The carriage was a the door ready to take my poor cousins away…poor Lucy in such a condition…she could hardly walk; and Nancy, she was almost as bad.”

(Chapter 38 - a letter from Lucy to Elinor) “Poor Anne has much to blame for what she did, but she did it for the best, so I say nothing.”

It quite baffled me, until Miss Laurie from Old-Fashioned Charm commented on this post shortly after I published it, and explained it all. Here is some of what she said:

"Nancy is a nickname for Anne. My favorite name etymology site is and they say Nancy is "a medieval diminutive of Annis (a Medieval form of Agnes), though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of Anne. It is now usually regarded as an independent name." Nicknames like this were in very commonly use during Jane Austen's day (like Elizabeth Bennet being called Lizzy and Eliza). The elder Miss Steele would have been Christened Anne Steele but because she was a country lass from Plymouth her family chose to call her Nancy. My opinions is that if she had been from a higher class family she probably would have been constantly referred to as Anne. Nicknames were also used to distinguish children from family members with the same name (aunts & uncles, parents, cousins, grandparents). "

She also made a very informative post about this on her blog all about names, Name Enthusiast.
Click here to read it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Period Drama Heroine Tournament"

For my few readers who do not also read the Elegance of Fashion blog, there is to be a "Period Drama Heroine Tournament" next month. We'll be voting for our favorite characters! It looks fun, I'm looking forward to it! For more information, click one of these: (They were all so nice I decided to put them all! The writer of the blog made them.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sense and Sensibility: The Movies

2008 mini-series (BBC)
This version follows the story very closely. I always like it; although I take care to skip the infamous first scene - which is not at all necessary to the story, and anything mentioned about it in the book is extremely discreet. This version has my favorite Edward and Margaret. Some scenes that were in both this movie and the 1995 movie were not in the book as I expected…which must mean, they copied! (Ooh..) I did not so much like the “atmosphere” of this one - the way it was filmed, the light, and such. The music is tolerable. Some of it is nice, but some I found rather irritating. Likewise with the costumes. On some of the dresses, the waistline was too low for a proper Regency look. I think there are less low necklines than in many Jane Austen films, except for the shockingly low dress Marianne wears near the end (and, unfortunately, on the front cover). The dueling scene with Col. Brandon and Willoughby seemed a little strange to me - it was barely even hinted at in the book (which never mentioned swords, I might add). The building used as Barton Park is, I believe, the same as Donwell Abbey in Emma (2009). I have learned to play the piano song Col. Brandon gives Marianne in the movie, and I have been enjoying it very much. All in all, I think this is a very good Sense and Sensibility. (Excluding, of course, that scene before the opening credits).
Elinor: Hattie Morahan
Marianne: Charity Wakefield
Edward: Dan Stevens
Col. Brandon: David Morrissey

1995 (Columbia Films)
Watching this movie was my introduction to Jane Austen. It’s a lovely movie. I much prefer the general feel of this one to the 2008 version. The music, written by Patrick Doyle, is beautiful, and the soundtrack may very well be my favorite CD. However, many things in the book are changed - some characters themselves completely left out, mainly Miss Steele (Lucy’s older sister) and Lady Middleton (along with her children). Some of the story is changed; some of it may be for the purpose of condensing. Emma Thompson, who plays Elinor (and who wrote the script) was in mid-thirties at the time. In the movie she’s supposed to be 27; but still, the book says she’s 19. Alan Rickman, who played Col. Brandon, was too old as well. He is supposed to be 35 in the book, but not in the movie I gather, since Mrs. Jennings refers to his former romantic attachment as “twenty years back.” One of my favorite quotes from S&S - “The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love” is not in the movie, I think (although it is in the trailer, which I found interesting.) I certainly recommend this one.
Actors/actresses (besides those mentioned above):
Marianne: Kate Winslet
Edward: Hugh Grant

1981 mini-series (BBC)
The first time I tried to watch this I didn’t finish it. It was very slow-moving and like a play, and the actors themselves were annoying me. I finished it a few months later with one of my sisters, and I was dissatisfied with how they ended it. And they left out Margaret! Very sad. Unfortunately I haven’t seen it since I read the book, but I doubt there is anything much off-track from the real story. I shall probably watch it again sometime to better compare it to the book.
Elinor: Irene Richards
Marianne: Tracey Childs
Edward: Bosco Hogan
Col. Brandon: Robert Swann

1971 mini-series (BBC)
Since it is even older than the one above, I expected to find this one even less well-made, and less able to hold one’s attention, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it better, in my opinion, even though the beginning was not very promising. As far as the quality of the filming, etc, it was probably about the same, although the costumes might have been a little better on the 1981 one, I don’t really remember. I was not even aware of this one until about a month ago. I think the back cover of the DVD mentioned that it wasn’t available in the U.S. until then, which was 2009. I found it a little more different from the book than I had expected. They changed and added a few things, and there was no Margaret in this one, either. Joanna David, who played Elinor, is probably the closest to 19 than in any of the other movies. The newer two are 30ish and 35ish. Joanna was about 24. She was Elizabeth’s Aunt Gardiner on Pride and Prejudice (1995), and it was interesting to see her so much younger. I always like to find out about a Jane Austen movie I’ve never seen, so I was happy to watch it. If you have seen the newest two and still want more, I recommend it. It has some scenes - and some of my favorite S.&S. quotes - which those two are entirely without.
Actors/actresses (besides the one mentioned above):
Marianne: Ciaran Madden
Edward: Robin Ellis
Col. Brandon: Richard Owens (I didn’t like that Brandon, by the way.)

     As to my favorite, it is a very hard decision between 1995 and 2008. I like the music & lighter feel of the 1995 one so much better, yet the 2008 version follows the story more closely. Edward I much prefer from 2008, and Willoughby I much prefer in 1995 (Greg Wise). (Why would Marianne ever fall for the likes of Willoughby portrayed by Dominic Cooper in 2008?) Col. Brandon is also hard to decide - while Alan Rickman (1995) was too old, I think David Morrissey didn’t do as well acting. Where the book says something like “with a voice full of emotion”, he just…says it. I can never decide on Elinor either, and with Marianne, sometimes I prefer her looks in the 2008 one, but I might like Kate Winslet’s portrayal better - more dramatic, perhaps?
     I suppose I’ll go for Columbia Films’ version in 1995. It just seems to better capture the mood of Jane Austen’s novel. I like the trailer better than the 2008 preview in any case, so here it is. (And for some reason it has music from Little Women…)

I love to know who likes what, so feel free to comment, and please vote for your favorite. :-)

Note: Please vote only if you have seen more than one version. ;-)

Which is your favorite version of Sense and Sensibility?

 free polls

June 2011:
Miss Elizabeth from Elegance of Fashion and I put together a Sense and Sensibility comparsion of the 1995 and 2008 versions when we were guest posting at Austenitis; if you care to read it, here are the links:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sense and Sensibility: The Book

Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first novel to be published, in 1811. The main characters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, are sisters who love each other very much, but are so different they often don’t understand each other. The death of their father sharply reduces their comforts, and along with their mother and younger sister, they must move from the large estate that was their home to a cottage many miles away, as their half-brother and his offensive wife move in.

Elinor’s hopes for happiness in marriage all seem dashed when a certain secret is thrust upon her. She has always been prudent in keeping things to herself and not letting her feelings control her, but the confidence is almost unbearable. Romantic Marianne meets her ideal gentleman whom she was sure could not exist, but he leaves unexpectedly without a promise, or even suggestion, of returning.

I recently finished the book. Sense and Sensibility is delightfully full of heartbreak and drama, has an intricate storyline, and a variety of interesting and amusing characters. Many questions I am left with after watching the movies were answered. I was quite happy to discover the letters Marianne wrote to Willoughby when she was in London. I was wondering what she said to him. One part I found quite funny was when Mrs. Jennings thought Elinor was engaged to Col. Brandon, and I am “monstrous” surprised it isn’t in any of the movies!

The copy I read (pictured) is an “insight edition” published by Bethany House. I bought it because I liked the front cover better than others, and the font was attractive and easy to read. I wasn’t sure I would like having little notes on the pages, but I actually liked it very well. Sometimes they are funny comments, facts about the time & setting or a word definition, there are little tidbits about movies and sequels, and more. They also did one for Pride and Prejudice. I wish they had it at the library…I happen to have two copies of P.&P. already, and I think a third would not be entirely sensible. In short, I liked it very much.

Sense and Sensibility is either my second or third favorite Jane Austen story. I find many similarities between myself and Marianne. 

What about you - where does S.&S. rank on your list? Which characters do you especially like? Who do you have the most in common with? Your comments are most welcome, as always.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pride and Prejudice Quotes

    I always have plenty of fun with Jane Austen quotes, and there are some great ones from P.&P. I almost had trouble keeping myself from writing down all the conversations in the book; as it is I have collected far to many!!
    I was going to put them in the order, but I’m afraid it became difficult to organize.
    The small words are just my personal notes…

“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.” ~Mr. Bennet

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” ~Elizabeth

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” -Mr. Darcy (to Miss Bingley)

“Those who do not complain are never pitied.” ~Mrs. Bennet (Who else?)

“Oh! Shocking! I never heard anything so abominable. How shall we punish him for such a speech?” ~Caroline Bingley

“Can he be a sensible man, sir?”
“No, my dear; I think not. I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse.” -Mr. Bennet

“Laugh as much as you chuse, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.” ~Jane

“Heaven forbid! That would be the greatest misfortune of all!--To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!--Do not wish me such an evil.” ~Elizabeth (to Charlotte)

“Do you prefer reading to cards? That is rather singular.” -Mr. Hurst
“Miss Eliza Bennet despises cards. She is a great reader and has no pleasure in anything else.” ~Caroline Bingley
“I deserve neither such praise nor such censure. I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things.” ~Elizabeth (It rather annoys me when people call her “Eliza”. Her name is Elizabeth. Maybe Lizzy, but not Eliza. Eliza seems like a completely different name.)

 “I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Of what are you talking?” -Mr. Bennet
“Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say he will not have Lizzy.” ~Mrs. Bennet
“And what am I to do on the occasion?--It seems a hopeless business.” -Mr. Bennet

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” -Mr. Bennet

“Don’t keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven’s sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces!” ~Mrs. Bennet

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder at your knowing any.” ~Elizabeth

“Well, my dear, if your daughter should have a dangerous fit of illness, if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.” -Mr. Bennet (to Mrs. Bennet)

“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.--Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.” -Mr. Bennet

“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” ~Elizabeth

“Upon my word, you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person.” ~Lady Catherine de Bourgh

“Come, Darcy, I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing around by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.” -Mr. Bingley

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” -Mr. Darcy (This has to be the most peculiar proposal I’ve ever heard!)

 “I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected, but it is of small importance.” -Mr. Darcy
“I might as well enquire why with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil?” ~Elizabeth  

 “Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better.” ~Lydia

“And poor Mr. Darcy! dear Lizzy, only consider what he must have suffered. Such a disappointment and with the knowledge of your ill opinion too! and having to relate such a thing of his sister! It is really too distressing. I am sure you must feel it so.” ~Jane
“Oh! no, my regret and compassion are all done away by seeing your so full of both. I know you will do him such ample justice, that I am growing every moment more unconcerned and indifferent. Your profusion makes me saving; and if you lament over him much longer, my heart will be as light as a feather.” ~Elizabeth

(Talking about Elizabeth) “I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, ‘She a beauty!--I should as soon call her mother a wit.; But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time.” ~Caroline Bingley
“Yes, but that was only when I first knew her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.” -Mr. Darcy (Yes, you tell her!!)

 “Obstinate, headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you! … You are to understand, Miss Bennet, that I came here with the determined resolution of carrying my purpose; nor will I be dissuaded from it. I have not been used to submit to any person’s whims. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment.” ~Lady Catherine
That will make your ladyship’s situation at present more pitiable; but it will have no effect on me.” ~Elizabeth

“I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased.” ~Lady Catherine

“Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke, had scarcely enough patience to help anybody to coffee; and then was enraged against herself for being so silly!”

“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. Darcy

“I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.” ~Elizabeth (Incidentally, just five chapters before that, Elizabeth had told Jane “…I could never be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness.” Guess she changed her mind.)

 “Had it been your uncle’s doing, I must and would have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry everything their own way. I shall offer to pay him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end to the matter.” -Mr. Bennet, (about Mr. Darcy) (I wonder if Mr. Bennet did offer to pay him?)

      “Elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father taking pains to get acquainted with him; and Mr. Bennet soon assured her that he was rising every hour in his esteem.
    ‘I admire all my three sons-in-law highly,’ said he. ‘Wickham, perhaps, is my favourite; but I think I shall like your husband quite as well as Jane’s.’ ”

“Good gracious! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane’s is nothing to it - nothing at all. I am so pleased-so happy. Such a charming man!-so handsome! So tall!-Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. A house in town! Everything that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! What will become of me. I shall go distracted.” ~Mrs. Bennet (So, Mamma, are you happy now that I did not marry Mr. Collins?)

 From the BBC/A&E movie
"A life holds few distinctions, Mrs. Bennet, but I think we may safely boast that here sit two of the silliest girls in the country.” -Mr. Bennet

"Shelves in the closet! Happy thought indeed." ~Elizabeth

"Maria, this is your trunk, these are your gowns. You may arrange them in any way you wish. *whispers* Lady Catherine will never know!" ~Elizabeth

If all goes according to plan, I shall have my first post for Sense and Sensibility next week.


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