When Laurel-Ann of Austenprose contacted us about the release of Jane Austen Made me Do It by several known authors we decided to take this chance and have a full week all Jane Austen.
Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, Emma and Mansfield Park continue to be a huge success, a couple of centuries after Jane's death. What makes them so special ? Especially when they were written by someone who had such a quiet and discreet life.
During this week, we'll share our experiences in Jane Austen's world, and, we do hope, that you'll share yours with us as well.
Our first time with Jane
Alex: My first recollection of Jane Austen goes back to 1995. I was barely 17 years old and saw in television, by pure chance, the wonderful and gorgeous Mr. Darcy looking haughtily at Miss Eliza Bennett and saying those famous words to Mr Bingley:
"She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men."
Wow. How snobbish ! How could he be so cold and arrogant ?! I was hooked. No need to say that I followed religiously the mini-series and re-watched them again and again and again in VHS. Of course, I lend the tapes to all my friends and we talked about Pride & Prejudice for hours. After this series, I bought the same week all the books by Austen. P&P followed me during all my travels (you never know when you need a little bit of comfort) and when I need something to cheer me up, I immediately pick up the book (sometimes I cheat on P&P and go for my second favourite, Persuasion) or I organise a little P&P marathon with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
Funny thing, my boyfriend knowing my love for this story, even calls all the period dramas I watch "the Mr Darcys" (even those who don't take place in England or the 19th century).
Kelly: Well, my part can easily be brief simply because I haven’t experienced a lot of Jane Austen per se. The only book I have read by her is Pride & Prejudice and that was a few years ago now. I wouldn’t mind rereading it one day, but first I should probably read something else by her. I have actually always been more interested in Jane Austen as a person. She was this famous author, but mostly not until after her death, and yet she never married herself and lived her entire life with her family. It has always fascinated me she could have this smaller view of the world and still manage to write about wider subjects and capture people so well.
Ana: Ahem... I have to confess that I don’t know when I first read Jane Austen. I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I remember but I didn’t keep a journal till I was an adult. I’ve read all her books and my favourites are P&P and Persuasion. I think what I love most about her are her characters, the variety of character types and also how interesting and real they all seem.
Marg: I can remember the first time I read Jane Austen. It was just this year. I am not 100% sure how it is that I made it this long without reading her, why we didn’t read her in school!
I think part of the reason is though that because her books, especially Pride and Prejudice, are so much a part of popular culture that the stories are familiar even without having read the books. Movies like Bride and Prejudice and the image of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the mini-series adaptation (which I have never seen from beginning to end) ensure that even not having read the books you “know” the story.