Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

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Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jun 06, 2014 7:37 am

C.S. Lewis in a letter wrote:You couldn’t make me like Henry James or dislike Jane Austen whatever you did.


There is a certain timelessness to Jane Austen's works. The books are read and adapted. What is it about these books that still appeal to us today? Are they still relevant?

Here is the place to discuss all things Austen: her life, her books, adaptations of her works, etc.

There is much I could say, since I recently viewed the 1980 Pride and Prejudice, the 1981 Sense and Sensibility, and the 1987 Northanger Abbey. However, I feel that would make this introductions much too long so I shall wait.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby shastastwin » Jun 06, 2014 8:06 am

I've only read Pride and Prejudice, once, when I was in high school. I'd like to read the rest of Austen's novel eventually. I enjoyed P&P a great deal.

I've seen the Keira Knightley and BBC/A&E versions of P&P and the Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, which I would like to see again once I've read the book, as it didn't stick with me well the first time. I remember very little except that Hugh Laurie played one of the male characters and Emma Thompson adapted the screenplay. ;))
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby wild rose » Jun 06, 2014 8:21 am

I've been a fan of Jane Austen ever since I watched the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. The next day I downloaded the book and read the entire thing in one sitting ;)) . Since that 'fateful day' I've read all of her novels and own 5 out of 6 in book form: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. My favorite of her books are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, though I have a very hard time choosing between the two.

Film versions I've seen the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice (loved the 1995 mini series, can't stand the 2005 version ;)) )
the 1995 and 2007 versions of Persuasion (prefer the 1995 version, they are closer to the story and I think the acting is better)
the 1986 and 2007 versions of Northanger Abbey.
The 1995 film and 2008 tv mini series of Sense and Sensibility (like both adaptions very much)
the 1996 film adaption of Emma (I like this version) I've also seen parts of the 2009 BBC mini series with Romola Garai as Emma, but I really didn't like the way she portrayed her so never bothered to watch the whole thing through.
I've also seen the 1983, 1999 and 2007 versions of Mansfield Park, I only enjoyed the 1983 mini series, even though it was veeeeeeeeery slow, but it stayed very true to the book. The acting was good in the 1999 version, but I didn't like how they changed Fanny's character, and the 2007 one was okay, but not a personal favorite.

I think of all of Jane Austen's characters, Anne Elliot from Persuasion is my favorite. I love her quiet strength and how she hurts a lot throughout the book, but tries to keep going and kkeep her head about her at the same time :)

okay....that's probably enough monologue for one time ;))
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby 220chrisTian » Jun 06, 2014 12:54 pm

I love Austen! :)

Read
Mansfield Park (first half, then quit :P )
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion
Pride and Prejudice (twice)

Watched
Emma - 1996 (A&E and Hollywood), 2009
Mansfield Park - 1999
Northanger Abbey - 1980s, 2007 (?)
Persuasion - 1995, 2007
Pride and Prejudice - 1995, 2005 (both many times)
Sense and Sensibility - 1995, 2008

My favorite novel is definitely P&P. But Persuasion is a close second. Anne Elliot is such a beautiful character and the novel had real passion.

My favorite film is also P&P! I like both versions. They just had different ideas on Austen's world. The 1995 film is neoclassical, the 2005 one romantic. My other favorite films are S&S (2008), Persuasion (2007), and Northanger Abbey (2007).
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Ithilwen » Jun 06, 2014 10:33 pm

I have watched:
Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley
Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson
Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson
Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

My favorites of those would probably be Sense and Sensibility (which gave Col. Brandon and Marianne a much more satisfying ending than they had in the book, imo), and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (I love their portrayal of Lydia).

I have read:
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Emma
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion
Lady Susan
The Watsons
Sanditon

I still have to read Mansfield Park.

I'd have to say my favorite Austen novel is a tie between Emma and Northanger Abbey. I think Lady Susan had a fascinating concept, and would have been a fantastic novel if it was longer and written in Austen's typical style, rather than being an epistolary novel.

My favorite Austen lady is probably Emma, despite what Austen said about no one liking her. ;)

For favorite Austen leading man... I have to say, I think Austen had very different taste in men than I did. ;)) Most of her guys (Darcy, Knightley, Edward Ferrars, Captain Wentworth) are people that I think would annoy me very much if I met them in real life (and not the kind of annoyed where I think I hate them but eventually end up falling in love with them, a la Elizabeth Bennet. 8-| ). However, Mr. Tilney is the one who comes closest to my type of guy. And Colonel Brandon seems very nice as well. Frank Churchill is another male character I like, though he isn't the "leading male" role in the story.

I tend to dislike the romance aspects of Austen's stories. Most of the time, the male character doesn't seem worth the female character's time (or vice versa), and a lot of the time it plays out in a "They pretend to hate each other, but they are actually in love!" way that I find tiresome. However, I adore the books as social comedies. The prose is elegant, the dialogue is witty, and the characters are so often infuriating, interesting, and real. :)


~Riella =:)
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby coracle » Jun 06, 2014 11:22 pm

I went to school in the days when we read a lot of traditional English lit, including Dickens and Austen. My sister got an omnibus of Jane Austen, so I was familiar with the books. We read Pride & Prejudice when I was about 13 or 14, and I can recall having to write an essay about proposals (Collins, Darcy, and what we thought a man should say!).
Over the next few years I studied Persuasion, Emma, and (I think) Sense & Sensibility.
The productions I have enjoyed most are the BBC P&P, the film of Persuasion, and the Bollywood "Bride & Prejudice". Sense and Sensibility (with Emma Thompson) was okay, although I thought it too modernised. I was also not sure Emma should be playing a 20 year old. A more recent S&S seemed to copy this version, rather than going back to the book.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jun 07, 2014 6:25 pm

I have seen 4 versions of Pride and Prejudice:
A black and white version (I don't remember enough details to find it online. I just remember it was kind of silly and at the end it hinted there were men interested in Kitty and Mary)
Pride and Prejudice (1980)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)

I remember not being very impressed with the B&W version. I feel in love with the 1995. This past week I watched the 1980 version twice. I borrowed it from a friend. Anyway my friend said something about preferring the 1980s Mr. Darcy. I don't remember why... I realized the first time I hadn't payed particular attention Mr. Darcy so I watched it again. Then on Friday I started watching the 1995 to compare the two versions. I'm not sure which I prefer. I'd have to read the book again and see which one is closer. ;)) I didn't like that the 1980s version had Elizabeth walking to Netherfield Park in the rain. While the scene where Mr. Darcy swims in the 1995 version bothers me. The 2005 Pride and Prejudice is remarkably accurate for being a movie rather than a mini-series.

I have seen 2 versions of Sense and Sensibility:
Sense and Sensibility 1981
Sense and Sensibility 1995

I like the 1981 version the best even though it cuts out the youngest Miss Dashwood. I was very disappointed that the 1995 version didn't have Mr. Willoughby's speech to Elinor when Marianne is sick. I didn't like that the 19981 version
didn't make it clear that Marianne married Col. Brandon.


I have watched 2 versions of Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park 1983
Mansfield Park 2007

I liked the 1983 version a lot. I didn't care for the 2007 version. Fanny in the 2007 version was not right. She wasn't timid enough. I'm having a terrible time putting this into words. :P The actress doesn't look the part either. (compare the pictures on the DVD covers and maybe some of it will make sense.)

I have watched one version of Northanger Abby - the 1987 version. Parts of it were odd. I'll not comment more until I've finished reread the book.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby 220chrisTian » Jun 09, 2014 3:39 pm

First off, I've seen only one 1980s version of a BBC adaptation of Austen. It was "Northanger Abbey" and it was awful! Austen ridiculed Gothic novels, yet this adaptation felt as Gothic as the Bronte sisters. /:)

Sense and Sensibility: what I liked most about the 2007 version was the rural setting (the rain helped) + the ages of the principal actors. Being so young, they fit the novel better than the 1995 version.

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:I liked the 1983 version a lot. I didn't care for the 2007 version. Fanny in the 2007 version was not right. She wasn't timid enough.
Very insightful! I've seen only the 1999 version, which sounds like the 2007 version the way you describe it. You're right. Book Fanny is timid, like Jane Bennet. 1999 Fanny is like Elizabeth Bennet, with lots of wit and fire.

Ithilwen: I also like Mr. Tilney the best, mostly because I want to marry someone with a pastor/missionary heart (regardless of his vocation). Tilney is quiet, wise, patient, and good - the perfect husband and father. I didn't like Mr. Darcy's pride or Capn. Wentworth's poor judgment, even though I admire both men.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » Jun 10, 2014 6:51 pm

Twigs wrote:Anyway my friend said something about preferring the 1980s Mr. Darcy. I don't remember why...


The short, and quite shallow, reason is that David Rintoul is better looking than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. ymwhisle

Might the black and white version have been the Laurence Olivier Pride and Prejudice?

I know there are a lot of video adaptions of Jane Austen's works, but does anyone know of any audio dramatizations or Old Time Radio versions?
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jun 12, 2014 1:42 pm

Meltintalle wrote:The short, and quite shallow, reason is that David Rintoul is better looking than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. ymwhisle
;)) I thought that might be it but I couldn't remember if there was more to it. I quite agree with you.

Meltintalle wrote: Might the black and white version have been the Laurence Olivier Pride and Prejudice?
Maybe. It has been so long I remember very little about it.

Meltintalle wrote:I know there are a lot of video adaptions of Jane Austen's works, but does anyone know of any audio dramatizations or Old Time Radio versions?
I looked at the library yesterday and they didn't have any of course that doesn't mean there aren't some somewhere. I wonder if Focus on the Family takes requests...
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jul 02, 2014 5:45 pm

I finished reading Northanger Abby and rewatched the DVD. The story is of course quite condensed but they did use a lot of lines from the book.
Mr. Thorpe was very much as he was in the book as were Isabella, Mrs. Allen, and Mr. Allen. Mr. Tilney said many of the same things he said in the book but there was something wrong about the way he said them. I can't quite describe it but it just didn't seem right. Having read the book, I of course knew that he is of good character and ends up marrying Catherine but he seemed kind of scary in the video. I doubted if he could be trusted. Other than at Northanger Abby, I didn't get the idea that Catherine's imagination ran away with her. They put too much Gothic in. And they made the Marchioness into an important character when she was just mentioned in the book. They did that with several small things such as the pieces of paper Catherine finds. In the book, they actually are just laundry lists in the movie they are notes about secret romantic meetings. They did belong to the person Miss Tilney would be in love with in both cases. This is definitely not one of the best adaptations the BBC has done.


“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
When I heard this quote from Mr. Darcy, I was hit by how relevant it still is today. In this case it was directed to Miss Bingley and her hints about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth but it easily could also be applied to the gossip about Jane and Mr. Bingley (or Elizabeth and Wickham). And it is still true today. If one talks about a friend of the opposite sex and/or is seen with someone of the opposite sex, they must of course be dating. I would of course prefer not to be match-made / talked about in that way. But if I must be, I'd rather be in Jane's position. Mr. Bingley did dance with her more than anyone at the first ball they were at and balls were situations were people expected eligible bachelors and ladies to find mates. That doesn't make it right but at least more understandable. And it is far better than say looking at a picture of a man and a woman who have just met - for not romantic reasons and referring to the man as the woman's future husband.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby wild rose » Jul 06, 2014 8:11 am

coracle wrote:The productions I have enjoyed most are the BBC P&P, the film of Persuasion, and the Bollywood "Bride & Prejudice"


oh, I forgot about the Bollywoood version. I also really enjoyed that film. We watched it with my sisters recently (in Feburary I believe it was) and I was impressed how they managed to keep all the elements of the book in the film, and at the same time make it so very Indian and Bollywood style. I also like how the equally humorized India, England and America. I think it's a great film, a true success as a remake of a classical story.

Of all the Jane Austen men, I think I like Capt. Wentworth best of all. I like how in the beginning he is very offended at Anne, I think that is only naturally, seeing how hard she wounded his pride it makes sense that he should be aloof and distance himself from her, but at the same time he can't help loving her.

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:I liked the 1983 version a lot. I didn't care for the 2007 version. Fanny in the 2007 version was not right. She wasn't timid enough. I'm having a terrible time putting this into words. :P The actress doesn't look the part either.


I agree with you on this. I also throughly enjoyed the 1983 version, the 2007 version was...if you'll pardon me saying this...awful! I hated Fanny, she didn't fit the role at all. I still think it better than the 1999 version, where they just about completely strayed from the book and made Fanny someone completely different from the book

[quote=220ChrisTian"]1999 Fanny is like Elizabeth Bennet, with lots of wit and fire.[/quote]

Yes, exactly, she is far more like Elizabeth Bennet in the 1999 version. I also read that they borrowed heavily from Jane Austen's character when making the 1999 version of Fanny Price.

Meltintalle wrote:The short, and quite shallow, reason is that David Rintoul is better looking than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. ymwhisle


I didn't know there was an 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice, now with such insight ;)) I'll be sure to try and find it. lol :P (though seriously, I love watching different film adaptions of a book and then comparing them all, so I'll be sure to check this one out, as well as the black and white version of P&P)
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 06, 2014 1:30 pm

Twigs wrote: ...they didn't have any of course that doesn't mean there aren't some [audio adaptions] somewhere. I wonder if Focus on the Family takes requests...


Oooh, brilliant idea! Persuasion, perhaps... just for a little variety.

wrose wrote:I didn't know there was an 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice, now with such insight ;)) I'll be sure to try and find it. lol :P


Always happy to spread the word. ;) ;)) (And I want to see the black and white one too. I'm a little surprised that there isn't a silent version from the 1920's, but since Jane Austen relies on conversation perhaps it isn't all that surprising.)

So has anyone seen the Lizzie Bennet Diaries or Emma Approved? What did you think? I've seen clips which kind of gives the impression that I'd enjoy them but I never seem to have time to sit down and marathon either one...
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 06, 2014 2:46 pm

I'm lagging behind most NarniaWebbers in the realm of Jane Austen; I've only read Pride and Prejudice. Not so much for lack of interest in Jane Austen's novels as it is a symptom of the fact that I hardly ever take the time to read fictional novels anymore. 8-| I really need to remedy that, ASAP. ;))

When I read P&P, I liked it a lot and really appreciated it as a classic; as Ithie said, Austen sketches wonderful illustrations of her characters and makes them seem so real. I did find, however, that I was tempted to say things like "If you will give me leave" and such for a few days after reading the book; I think I had absorbed the characters' style of speaking a little too much. :))

Meltintalle, I've seen a fair amount of the episodes in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and some of Emma Approved, and I'd say that the former is the better of the two. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Lizzie seems to be, in general, a much more likeable person than Emma, although since I haven't read Emma, I can't say whether or not their portrayal of the character is an accurate one. It's on my reading list. ;))
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby aileth » Jul 06, 2014 2:55 pm

Emma is definitely my favourite book, followed by Pride and Prejudice. I really must get Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park off the shelf again. They were the first ones I read, before I got into the swing of her style. I'd probably enjoy them more now.

It's funny that when you really like an author, you want to read every little scrap of writing done by them, particularly if they only wrote a few books. Of course, some early writings and fragments are not published for a good reason--they weren't up to par. It seems very rare for anybody else to complete an unfinished work in a satisfactory manner. At least, the ones I've tried....

Meltintalle wrote:I know there are a lot of video adaptions of Jane Austen's works, but does anyone know of any audio dramatizations or Old Time Radio versions?


Neither of the recordings that I have are dramatizations; both of them are just abridged readings, Emma read by Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and P&P read by Celia Johnson. The worst problem is that every time I listen to them, I want to read the books again immediately. There are so many good books I haven't touched yet, and far too many that need to be reread.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby SummerSnow » Jul 06, 2014 7:32 pm

I haven't read much of Jane Austen, I have to admit. I find her books hard to get into, though I usually start to enjoy it after a while. I've only read Mansfield Park all the way through, but I've started Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility.

I've watched the 1995 versions of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed both, but Sense and Sensibility is my favorite of the two. The characters in Pride and Prejudice has a tendency to annoy me. I did like the father, but I wish he'd payed more attention to the girls, especially the younger three. They did take after the mother, but considering his lack of interest, I didn't find it that surprising. While I'm sure their personalities were more drawn toward frivilous things, a lot of it had to to with their upbringing. I'd like to finish up the book and see if my opinion changes, though. I'm sure to notice things I didn't notice in the movie or aren't in it.

Meltintalle: I've never seen any, but if you do find some, please tell me. :) I really like audio dramatizations, and it would be really neat to listen to a Jane Austen one.
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