- Ann Schwarz
- I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Happy Belated Birthday Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice
In July of this year, I was finally able to go to my first ever Jane Austen festival at Locust Grove in Louisville, KY. Unfortunately for me, Louisville is the closest place that has a Jane Austen society in the Bluegrass. A fun group for Austenophiles (I made this word up, not sure if it's a real word) like me, also known as Janeites, who enjoy getting to do fun stuff once a month to celebrate all things Jane Austen. Still, I did get to enjoy a fun afternoon with my daughter and mother, and realized that this year is also the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, one of Ms. Austen's most popular novels.
My daughter was introduced to Pride and Prejudice in movie form at a very early age, but didn't remember the story. So, to celebrate it's bicentennial year, we did a film adaptation viewing marathon which then inspired my precocious 12 year-old to read the actual book. We watched the oldest film adaptation I have in my movie library, a 1940 version with Sir Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Miss Elizabeth Bennett. Then we moved on to the BBC made for TV version (1995) with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, one of my personal favorites, and Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy. We ended with the most recent version I know of (2005), with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen in the lead roles. Of all of them my daughter loved the newest adaptation the best, though the BBC version ran a close second. When I asked her why, she said that she loved Matthew Macfadyen's nose. Not sure why his nose is a factor, but apparently the Mr. Darcy in her mind has a nose like this particular actor.
I wasn't sure my daughter would like the book. But I hoped she would. I love the character of Elizabeth Bennett or Lizzy as she's referred to by her family and friends. She is strong, she doesn't settle for just any man in order to be safe and please her mother, and she has a firm sense justice for all, no matter your station in life. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the model for many of the romances that women and even some men enjoy today. The aloof and snobby Mr. Darcy is won over by the poorer but bright, and clever Miss Bennett. They fight, and dislike each other in the beginning, then slowly fall in love and end up enjoying a happy ever after moment at the end. All of Jane Austen's books have happy endings for her characters, despite all the trials and tribulations they endure beforehand. My daughter loved the novel and came home telling me about how she secretly squeed in class while she read about Mr. Darcy's first proposal to Lizzy.
It brought back happy memories of my first time reading the book at about her age. So here a day late is my tribute and personal thank-you to Ms. Austen. I don't think genre fiction would be what it is today without your clever stories that see into the human spirit so keenly and accurately. Even today your novels strike a cord with us and our human foibles which haven't evolved all that much in over 200 years. And for those of you out there who love her novels and enjoy watching the film adaptations of them, don't be sad that 2013 and the bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice is coming to a close. The dawning of 2014 will be the 200th anniversary of another of Jane Austen's novels, Persuasion. I'm looking forward to exploring the nuances of this novel with my daughter in the coming year since it is one of the only Austen novels I haven't yet read all the way through. This time we'll read the novel first and then compare film adaptations, of which sadly, I only have two. I'll be interested to find out which Captain Wentworth appeals to my daughter most and why. =)
In the meantime, here are some fun links to check out about Jane Austen and her novels and the movies/TV shows based on her books. Also, which Jane Austen novel is your favorite? Who do you like best of her heroes and heroines and who do you like least?
Editorial of why Mr. Knightley is better than Mr. Darcy
200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice and Life Lessons from Jane Austen
List of 11 adaptations and spin offs on Jane Austen stories