Category: Pride & Prejudice

Poets of the Regency: William Wordsworth

Welcome back to our continuing series on the poets of the Regency! This is where we find out what might have been in the slim volumes of verse a Regency heroine would reach for in her well-appointed library when she wanted a little literary distraction. Today’s Regency-era poet? The master of the English Romantic movement: William Wordsworth.

The glory of the hills

The Lake District was Wordsworth’s stomping ground and inspired much of his poetry. Part of the reason the area became a popular tourist destination during the Regency (if you’ll remember, Elizabeth Bennett made plans to visit the area with her aunt and uncle in “Pride and Prejudice”), was because of Wordsworth’s poetry (he also published a guide to the area in 1810).

In an era before National Geographic television specials, Wordsworth’s command of words took the natural glory of the Lake District and brought it to life in the minds of city-dwellers, firing their desire to visit the land full of fells and falls.

The religion of nature

But if his poetry had merely been a recitation of the beauties of nature, it would never have struck the deep chord that it did. Instead, Wordsworth took the sweetness of what he saw and heard in the hills and distilled it down into an essence of peace that comforted him when he was again “in lonely rooms, and mid the din/Of towns and cities“.

Indeed, he was almost a panentheist, sensing in the world around him

A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. 

This sub-Christian philosophy had the effect both of deepening the meaning of his work and of making his sentiments provocative and controversial. Personally, I always want to read him twice: once to drink in all the beauty of his verse, and once to argue my way through the philosophy of it.

But what I have learned from Wordsworth – what I will be forever grateful to have learned – is how to drink in God’s creation when I am in the midst of it. How to notice, really notice, the glory of my surroundings when I’m somewhere beautiful like the high Sierras or the Oregon coast, and then how to take those memories out and relive them when I’m again trapped in the concrete jungle of the city, or when my heart is discouraged or my feelings low. Wordsworth didn’t just “wander lonely as a cloud”, he taught us all how to keep our eyes and our hearts open during our wanderings, and to return home richer than we left, memories full and minds engaged in thoughts about everything we saw when we were out in the world.

Make like a lady of the Regency and read some Wordsworth

Two poems to start with? One, the famous “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. It’s short, but much richer than you might expect from a poem ostensibly about little yellow flowers. Then, if that whets your appetite, go on to the slightly longer, immensely powerful “Tintern Abbey”. Remember, it’s always going to be better read aloud, so you can hear the rhythm and flow of the language.

If you do go and read some Wordsworth, come back and tell me what you thought of him in the comments! Or if you’ve a favorite Wordsworth poem already, let me know what it is!

Also, let me know if you have a beautiful place you bring to your mind when you need a little bit of beauty to life your heart. My favorite is King’s Canyon in the Sequoia National Forest, and I’d love to hear what yours is!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell 

 

Originally posted 2012-05-28 10:00:00.

Mr. Darcy, An Alpha Male in Love

Vanessa here, exposing some of my pert opinions.

A man losing the battle of the heart is a thing of beauty.  When the male in question is an Alpha man, the dominant, powerful man of the group and protector of those dearest, his torment and ultimate victory is sheer poetry.

I love the classics, but I must say Dicken’s Pip (Great Expectations) languished too much without any measure of success with Estelle.  Pip doesn’t scream Alpha to me. An Alpha would have moved on or found away to convince Estelle to marry him.

Side note: To truly be a successful Alpha hero, you not only have to get the girl, but you have to live to tell about it. The whole dying thing, ruined Romeo and Juliet for me. I guess, I am a sucker for a happy ending, that is a happy ending with a breathing Alpha male.

So what is a good portrait of an Alpha male?

Mr. Darcy

.  He’s Jane Austen’s careful balance of natural male pride, protector, and fear. To surrender to love is a struggle that Darcy fights until he knows the battle is lost.

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth asks Darcy when he did he know he loved her. Darcy replies:

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

A collective sigh should leach from this blog screen.  Oh, if Laurence Olivier (1940) , Collin Firth (1995), or Matthew Macfadyen (2005) could have said those words, I’d have their version of Pride and Prejudice DVD on perpetual rewind.


Back to Darcy’s Struggle

Austen showed us glimpses of Darcy’s Alpha journey much more than the movies give credit.

At Netherfield during Jane’s convalescence:

Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange.

 

After an exchange of teasing between Darcy and Elizabeth at Netherfield:

Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.

The growth of his feelings are displayed in a private exchange with Miss Bingley at Netherfield:

Miss Bingley says: “As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”

Darcy replies: “It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.”

A Display of His Protective Nature for Elizabeth:

The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their (Bingley’s sisters) rudeness, and immediately said “This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue.”

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered: “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye.”

After a heated exchange with Elizabeth at Netherfield where Darcy’s messaging for sympathy before emotionally retreating:

Elizabeth said, “And your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

“Do let us have a little music,” cried Miss Bingley, tired of a conversation in which she had no share. “Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst?”

Her sister had not the smallest objection, and the pianoforte was opened; and Darcy, after a few moments’ recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.

Upon learning that Jane and Elizabeth would soon leave Netherfield, Darcy believes ignoring Elizabeth will solve his problem:

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked—and Miss Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual to himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it.

At the end of their famous dance at the ball of Netherfield:

“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly replied.

She said no more, and they went down the other dance and parted in silence; and on each side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.

 

Side Note: I love when an author uses the phrasing of a man’s breast. It sounds as if the emotions have penetrated his chest armor and gotten very deep inside.

Back to Darcy

The famous first proposal, his bold admission of losing his heart is classic Alpha trying to be in control when love has sent him spinning:

He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up, walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:

“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.”

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther, and, when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said:

“…I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.”

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it.

To attain peace cost Darcy two sheets of paper written in close hand, days of searching London;s underbelly, 10,000 pounds of bribe money, countless hours of recalling Elizabeth’s reproof. Priceless.

What I love the most is the sheer masculinity of Darcy’s regard. In a single breath, he tries to ram through the proposal and collect his acceptance. He’s all man as he tries to keep his feelings close to his waistcoat. Even as he exposes a bit of his heart to Elizabeth, he keeps his pride of his accomplishment and stature between them, a wall too high. Only the most ardent love will climb it.

And as he passes his black moment, he asserts to prove his worthiness with compassion and strength. He overcomes all of his own objections to save Elizabeth’s family and prove himself worthy. All alpha male, all the time.

Do you share my Alpha love? If you do leave a comment. Any one leaving a comment on this post or Fridays will receive on Saturday a link for a:

Free copy of Pride & Prejudice for the Kindle, Nook, or IPad.

I’ve formatted the Guttenberg Project’s version into ePub (Nook and IPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats. I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

References:

The Guttenberg Project

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice, 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production

Pride &Prejudice the Miniseries, 1995 BBC

Pride & Prejudice, 2005 StudioCanal/Focus Features

 

 

Originally posted 2012-05-02 10:00:00.

Parlez-vous Français?

Pride and Prejudice (2005 - Photo: IMDB)

Do you speak French? Or Italian? Perhaps you can even grasp the basics of Latin or Greek?

I can claim to know enough French to be just a wee bit dangerous. I could probably read street signs or order from a café menu in Paris but beyond that, I wouldn’t be the best translator to select for your next trip abroad.  (That’d be enough to get us a meal and a trip to the Louvre, but that’s about it.) College helped some, but I never left class  truly adept at the conversational side of speaking the language that comes from years of dedicated study.

Had you lived in the Regency, you’d not have had the opportunity to partake in any state-run system of education. And depending upon your wealth and station, your access to educational opportunities could differ (and languages studies along with it). Those with less social standing could possibly attend a local charity or church-administered school but for those with means, a boarding school, trained governess (for young ladies), or skilled tutors (for young men) would have administered the education of Regency Era youths.

Though the extent to which you received a Regency education would have largely depended upon your social station and your gender, there was a larger focus on classical language studies than we might see today. In fact, you’d likely have been fluent (or at least educated) in several languages. This was customary, especially with French, as it was the language of diplomacy of the day. To review letters and first-hand accounts of life in the Regency, it is quite clear that the education (and language studies in particular) exceeded many of the expectations of our current system: “Even the letters of Regency-era females who married at seventeen are full of references to the classics, poetry, and the effortless interspersion of French.” (Regency Reader, 2006)

Since we’re talking about education this month, I wondered what it would have been like to study during the Regency Era. How would my knowledge of French stack up against the young English men and women of the day? (Alas… I fear I may have already answered my own question, but we’ll continue anyhow.)

Oxford University (Photo: University Wallpapers)

Les Hommes (Men): Young men could have been taught in the home during their early years, though it was conventional for boys to pursue more formal education once they reached school age. Usually by the age of eight, young men would attend public schools such as those in Eton, Harrow, St. Paul’s or Winchester. Studies of the Classics, Latin, and Greek were standard, as were languages such as French and Italian. (Source: Author Jennifer Kloester’s Georgette Heyer’s Regency World – This book has a wealth of information on education practices for young men and women in the Regency.)

There were university opportunities for gentlemen, though it’s a misnomer that collegiate studies were only available to the wealthy or members of the aristocracy. There were scholarly opportunities for young men of intellect, especially if they could prove worthy of a scholarship. The primary universities for an English gentleman were at Cambridge and Oxford, of which men would first attend at just sixteen or seventeen years of age. And though the educational opportunities at these institutions were virtually limitless, these jaunts at the university were seen as more of a prospect to advance socially than to focus solely on academia.

If a gentleman had neither the inclination nor opportunity to attend the university, he might begin his career in the military. Here the opportunities to expand his knowledge of languages would have been likely (through travel and some ongoing study), though the danger to one’s longevity in this type of career was quite obvious.

Photo: Wiki Commons

Les Filles (Ladies):  In contrast to gentlemen, young ladies of the Regency had more limitations on their educational opportunities than their male counterparts. Though they could be sent to attend an education provided by a boarding school, there were no universities available for females. Young ladies were largely taught in the home and had education in subjects such as French, drawing, dancing, music, poetry and literature, embroidery, and basic instruction in mathematics and the geography of the globe.  As a governess may have deemed appropriate, girls could also be taught the more practical subjects of sewing, darning, the keeping of household ledgers, and in some cases, basic cookery and duties of household management.

Singing? Drawing? Dancing and the modern languages? Perhaps we’ll have to stick to ordering from that Paris café menu or hiring a professional to assist us with a tour of the Louvre? After learning a bit about the extent our Regency Era young men and women went through in their language studies, I’m not feeling so dangerous with my grasp of French any longer. But then again – we have one thing our Regency Era counterparts did not, and that would be access to a snazzy Smart Phone App that would be sure to translate just about anything we need.

What do you remember most about the language studies from your school days? (And could you help me order a pastry at a Paris café, especially if in a true emergency?)

May the light of Christ guide our days, no matter which language we speak as we walk through them.

Au revoir mes amis!

~ Kristy

Charming Quotes from Jane Austen

Hello, my Regency-loving friends. Interesting, isn’t it, that the actual Regency last only from 1811-1820, but the periods before and after can also be considered part of the era?  When trying to explain to the uninitiated, what the Regency is, I’ll often bring up Jane Austen. I find that most, but not all, have heard of the book Pride and Prejudice and they can get a grasp on what kind of fiction genre I am writing.104_2304

So, to bring Jane Austen alive again, in our minds only, I bring you some of her delicious quotes.

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.

A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Based on these quotes alone, I do believe I would have enjoyed know Jane Austen.

Which author would you have liked to spend time with? Answer in the comments, please.

Run Elizabeth Bennet! The Zombies are Coming

Vanessa here,

Seems like a long time since we last spoke. I’ve missed you all. Lately I’ve been think about Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s second eldest daughter. What if I were to bump in to Elizabeth on the street or if she fancied to sail to Georgia to have tea on my porch. What would that be like?

Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits
Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits

 

 

It could happen. Well, in the mind of an author, anything is possible. My friend, Mary Jane Hathaway did so in Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits. Shelby Roswell (the Elizabeth Character) can’t wait for the visiting professor to her college to leave, but Ransom Fielding (Darcy) is not ready to budge.

 

 

Darcy Chooses
Darcy Chooses

 

Too modern?

Some have kept the 1800’s flavor with their rendition and tweaked the story as did Gianna Thomas and her serialized novels of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy meets Elizabeth saving her from a carriage accident.

 

 

 

 

 

Pride and Popularity
Pride and Popularity

 

What about a younger Elizabeth?

Author Jenni James has put poor Elizabeth into high school with her YA novel, shoving Elizabeth (Chloe Elizabeth) into teenage angst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bride and Prejudice
Bride and Prejudice

 

Does Elizabeth have to be English?

Others have taken the spirit of Darcy and Elizabeth and spread their love to other shores, like the Bollywood tale, “Bride and Prejudice.”

 

 

 

 

Ever since Jane Austen penned the famous Pride and Prejudice, authors’ imaginations have been sparked and brilliant new renditions of the famous story have been written. Yet, I don’t know how I feel about the zombies.

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies
Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

 

Seth Grahame-Smith creates a mashup of Darcy, Elizabeth, and Zombies. The author gives an extra reason for the militia being in Meryton, and it’s not to fight Napoleon. Elizabeth, as a Regency version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a bit much me, but I suppose the undead need their Pride and Prejudice fix too.

 

 

So what about you. Do these new tales disturb or delight? Does the thought of something new, make you want Elizabeth to flee Meryton straight to your front porch?

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Why the Classics Live On

Regency Reflections is happy to welcome Marisa Deshaies. Marisa is a lover of Inspirational Regencies and recently obtained her Master’s degree in professional writing. 

Walk into any bookstore or watch previews of upcoming movies, and you’ll surely come across numerous advertisements or displays of classic stories written many years ago. Barnes and Noble consistently presents a few tables of the Classics in its stores.  Every few minutes a trailer for Les Miserables or Anna Karenina shows on television. With each bestseller and Oscar-worthy movie comes a retelling of one of the well-known stories taught in English classes.

Original title page of Pride and PrejudiceWhat is it that endears the public to the Classics? With the advent of three-dimensional directing, popular vampire lore, beloved magical adventures, and modern romance stories that fill the bookshelves and movie theaters, audiences do not lack amusing entertainment. Critics could argue, in fact, that Austen, Dickens, and Tolstoy are authors of the past. Why look back when there are unknown tales waiting to be told?

And yet, retellings of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and other Classics continue to come to theaters and bookstores in droves. Whether authors create fan fiction of the beloved novels or directors discover new techniques with which to tell the stories, without a doubt some retelling is bound to catch your fancy.

Elizabeth-Bennet-and-Mr-Darcy-played-by-Elizabeth-Garvie-and-David-Rintoul-in-Pride-and-Prejudice-1980Jane Austen’s novels are a particular favorite of authors and directors alike to recreate and maneuver to the readers’ and viewers’ delight. In the two hundred (almost) years since Austen’s novels first hit the market, the fan fiction and movies created for audiences are too numerous to count. Pride and Prejudice, in particular, is an audience favorite. Can you blame the viewers of the 1990s BBC-miniseries version for watching the movie numerous times—after all, who doesn’t enjoy watching Colin Firth walking out of Pemberley’s lake dripping wet? (Try to keep your anger in check, P and P novel enthusiasts. We know this scene doesn’t occur in the book.) Austen, known best for her characters that pursue love in spite of difficult situations, wrote novels that connect with young and old, male and female alike (although females probably enjoy the stories more than their male counterparts). Turning these novels into fan fiction and movies is a sure-fire way to connect with book readers and movie watchers.

Pride and Prejudice 1995So what is it about the Classics that resonates so soundly with audiences? With Austen retellings, I’m convinced that readers and viewers live vicariously through the characters. Yes, every movie-goer and novel-reader places themselves in whatever their escape pleasure is—that’s the point of reading or watching, isn’t it? To be swept away to another world? Google-search the Jane Austen Festival, and you’ll see that while Persuasion doesn’t have witches or goblins and Emma doesn’t take place in a haunted mansion, readers of Austen novels and viewers of the novels’ movie counterparts are just as swept away by the stories as anyone reading Harry Potter or Twilight. Men and women dress in Regency costumes, attend balls, put on theatricals, and host luncheons and dinners, all in the fashion of Jane Austen’s time.

Audiences love Austen because her characters live and love through the same situations people experience today. Are you pining for someone you can’t have? Don’t go running to the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s—Pride and Prejudice will give you hope for that relationship much more than a pint of vanilla ice cream will. Contemplating giving relationship advice to your best friend? Read Emma before setting her up with that lothario from work… your friendship will thank you.

Austenland 2It’s simple, really. Readers and watchers (okay, most likely females) enjoy experiencing life in old-fashioned ways. As much as we say modern behavior gives equality between the sexes, anyone who doesn’t secretly desire a Regency courtship is probably in denial. And what about those ball-gowns and gloves? Gorgeous! In reading Austen’s novels or watching the movie adaptations, audiences are brought back to days of propriety. Days of hand-kissing, ballroom-dancing, letter-writing flirtation. Days of familial responsibility and honor. With a willing suspension of disbelief audiences of Austen novels (in any form) go back to a simpler time when true love took hard work and familial loyal was the most important aspect of a relationship. In today’s society of fast-paced activities, internet dating, and individualism, Austen novels and movies emphasize the importance put into marriage and family that simply doesn’t exist today.

The Long and Longer Versions of Pride and Prejudice and a Chance to Win

This week we’ve been looking at a few of the many film adaptations of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. If you are in the mood to spend more than a couple of hours delving in to a cinematic version of this intricate story, I have two more versions for you to consider.

The 1995 Miniseries ~ About 5 Hours

Pride and Prejudice 1995Produced by the BBC in 1995, this adaptation had a great influence on my love for Jane Austen’s story. When I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, we watched the miniseries as we went, bringing life to characters I was already intrigued with. It also started a bit of a fascination with Colin Firth, but I’m not alone in that regard.

Of all the versions I’ve seen, this one stays closest to the actual book. The length alone allows them to go into considerably more detail than a regular length movie. They were able to include all of the characters, scenes, and conversations that other renditions had to leave out.

Colin Firth as DarcyOne of the strengths of this version is Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t smile until the very last scene of the movie, but that doesn’t hinder the impression of his softening over the course of the movie.

Elizabeth says that she believes Darcy remains unchanged “in essentials”. I think that means he still maintains a severely proper demeanor and overall seriousness. Firth’s portrayal does that. At no point does he lose his composure or rigidity, yet you see him change just the same.

The Bennet SistersJennifer Ehle does a superb job of playing Elizabeth as well. Outwardly, she behaves in all the proper manners. She doesn’t throw off propriety as defined by her society, yet she still finds ways of displaying her displeasure with it through private conversations and pained facial expressions.

One drawback to this version is, of course, the length. You will have to set aside a solid afternoon to watch it if you intend to do it all in one sitting. Originally it aired as five hour-long episodes.

The rigidity and formality of it might make it hard for some people to immerse themselves fully into the movie as well. I also don’t know that Mr. Collins is portrayed correctly. Although I don’t know if any version truly gets Mr. Collins right.

But maybe that version isn’t for you. Maybe you love the story, but just can’t get into the ins and outs of a period piece. Then this next version may be for you…

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries ~ about 10 hours

You read that right. If you want to watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in entirety, it will take you at least ten hours. It also just won an Emmy for Interactive Media.

Poster of Lizzie Bennet DiariesThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or The LBD for short, is a modern adaptation of Austen’s story. It aired over the course of a year on YouTube. Lizzie Bennet was a vlogger, meaning she made a video blog. At times, other characters also made videos as well. Each episode ranges in length from three to seven minutes, but that really adds up when you consider at least two videos a week for a year.

The strength of The LBD lies in their determination to stay true to the elements of the story. Today, women don’t have to marry to have a future. It wouldn’t make sense for Charlotte to run off and marry Mr. Collins when no feelings exist there. So the offer of marriage was converted into a job offer. The intent of Austen’s story remains – Charlotte compromising and taking the practical route in order to insure her future – while still being relevant and believable in a modern setting.

Girls of Lizzie Bennet DiariesThe way that The LBD was set up will give you a different perspective on Pride and Prejudice. Because the videos, at first, are filmed in Lizzie’s bedroom, we see a lot more interaction between the female characters. Darcy doesn’t make an on screen appearance until episode 61. I know that after watching it, I view Lydia, Charlotte, and even Mr. Collins in a different way. They do make a few character adjustments. Mary is a cousin and Kitty is actually a cat, but the story essence remains.

You can follow the full LBD story from the website including the multiple You Tube channels and Twitter conversations.

Do you like the longer film versions or prefer the shorter versions that have to leave a bit out but maintain a more traditional movie length?

Comment on any post this week for your chance to win a DVD copy of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Winner will be announced Monday, September 2 and must have a US posting address. 

Film Editions of Pride and Prejudice: 2005 Version

Congratulations, Merry! You won last week’s prize. Check your email this week for details on selecting your book. 

Today and Wednesday we’re talking about film editions of Pride and Prejudice. I supposeP and P 2005 having a film (or motion picture) edition comes with being recognized as a classic book. Nearly every classic I can think of has a film adaptation somewhere. My favorite film version of Pride and Prejudice is hands down the 2005 adaptation starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden.

So why is the 2005 adaptation my favorite?

The artistic elements of the film put this one over the top for me. The beautiful music. The scene in the rain where Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth. The scene with Elizabeth swinging all by herself and that beautiful piano music in the background. The gorgeous scenery of Lizzie walking through a field reading a book while the sun shines behind her. Those are all things that give this film an extra layer of life. Is the Hollywood adaptation the same as what I’d imagined in my own mind when first reading Pride and Prejudice? Probably not, but it created a rich and complex images and emotions that related easily to my senses.

P swing

Then there’s the music. Oh the music! It’s my favorite movie soundtrack EVER. I own the CD. I own the advanced piano book. I played one of the pieces for my cousin’s wedding three years ago. And even while writing this blog post, I had to go dig out the book and spend a half hour replaying some of my favorite pieces (like “Dawn” and “Georgianna”). I’ve sat through weddings where the prelude and postlude music was all P&P 2005. If you’re interested in some of the facts about the soundtrack, it was written by the Italian composer Dario Marianelli in a classical style modeled after Beethoven’s early piano sonatas. The movie soundtrack is preformed by the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra.

What’s different about the 2005 version compared to other adaptations?

In 1995, BBC produced a television version of P&P (one which many enthusiasts love and adore). The BBC version has a longer run time and follows the plot of the book more strictly. The 2005 motion picture focuses mainly on Elizabeth and Darcy, taking out a lot of the scenes revolving around other characters (like some of Elizabeth’s travels with minor characters and Lydia’s elopement). The 2005 version runs just over two hours, while the longer BBC 1995 version follows the subplots of the book more carefully and runs significantly longer.

Another large difference between the novel and the 2005 film is the setting. The script writer and the director shifted the movie forward by about 20 years, setting it during the 1790s. The director wanted the 2005 version to differ visually from the 1995 version (and apparently he also had a rather large distaste for empire waist gowns). In moving the setting earlier, he was also able to create a bigger distinction between the wealthy and the poor with clothing and the appearance of Longbourn as a working farm.

The more romantic 2005 portrayal of Elizabeth and Darcy’s story still remains bit controversial among Austen enthusiasts. Many Austen lovers prefer the 1995 BBC adaptation because it is indeed more true to the original novel. The 2005 version received rather harsh criticism for the final scene, which portrays Elizabeth and Darcy at Pemberly after they are married, but has little to do with Jane Austen’s original novel. The ending was removed in the UK version of the film for a few months before being put back in.

P kiss

I much prefer the 2005 version over the 1995. I feel that the 2005 version has a lot of romantic and emotional appeal (which I love both in novels and films). I feel that it does a good job of capturing the attention of a more modern audience while still portraying all the important themes of Pride and Prejudice that have made it such a distinguished and time honored novel.

And just in case you were wondering, my favorite scene is the first time Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, with all that rain coming down and the near tears in Elizabeth’s eyes. My favorite musical score is the theme “Dawn,” but I prefer it with just the piano rather than the full orchestra.

So what about you? Which film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice do you prefer? Do you have a favorite musical score or scene from either of the adaptations? Please share it in the comments below.

Photo credits: The 2005 motion picture version of Pride and Prejudice was produced by Working Title Films. It is believed low resolution screenshots used for the purpose of discussing a film and its contents fall under the fair use provision of the U.S. copyright law.

Comment on any post this week for your chance to win a DVD copy of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Winner will be announced Monday, September 2 and must have a US posting address. 

Jane Austen Para-literature – Sequels, Retellings, and More by Susan Karsten

Researching this subject taught me a new term and concept: Jane Austen para-literature. Oh my. This is a huge topic. I am only able to skirt around it, since to cover this topic completely would take years. The incredible array of sequels and retellings of the Austen ouvre is astounding. I, dear reader am a veritable babe in the woods when it comes to such reading opportunities. I have read a few spin-offs, no sequels, and no retellings of Jane Austen’s novels.

Is there a name for the phenomenon of the fact that a movie is never/rarely anywhere near as good as the book? Extrapolating that thought further tells me there could never be a sequel book as good as the original Pride and Prejudice.

Creative or knowledgeable people: Please come up with a name for the above phenomenon. Mention it in the comments.

Inveterate Austen sequel/prequel readers: Have you read any great ones? If so, please leave the titles in the comments.

READ ON! Much good information coming your way in this post.

Please check out these websites for listings of sequels: http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/austseql.html

http://webdoc.sub.gwdg.de/edoc/ia/eese/breuer/biblio.html

{The second site lists them alphabetically, but also has a listing of them in chronological order, so you could skip down to the more recent ones.}

There’s also a list on Goodreads of the popular ones: http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/jane-austen-sequels

And another on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Jane-Austen-Sequels-Miscellany/lm/R1SHWQ7HPAS300

From the first link listed above, Ted Adams has a wonderful, comprehensive article slicing and dicing the terminology of Austen para-literature. I have used material from this article below. He said it so well.

“The adaptations, completions, sequels, pastiches and other attempts to tap into the Jane Austen industry … devolve from a most noble sentiment: We have read the six published novels and we want more. We want more and different insights into both the novels and into the type of person that Jane Austen was.

Adaptations are transformations into another medium, e.g., stage, screen and television.

Completions are the finishing off of a novel fragment. Jane Austen’s two fragments, The Watsons and Sanditon have been attempted a number of times.

Sequels are a continuation of the action. To my knowledge, nobody has written a “prequel”, which would be a description of what occurred before the action started.

Pastiches are work written in the style of Jane Austen. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor is a pastiche. Its premise is that it is a notebook that Jane Austen kept concerning events during a period for which we do not have documentation.

Certainly no Jane Austen pastiche will ever be as good as the original, but that is to be expected. Mind you, when the standard is one of the best writers in the English language, to fall short of the mark is no disgrace. To write with wit, economy, great insight and develop complex and interesting characters is no mean feat. After all, we read Jane Austen with great pleasure 200 years later because she compares well not only with her contemporaries but also with ours and everybody who has come in between.

Personally, I enjoy pastiches for much the same reason that I sometimes enjoy Jane Austen criticism. Even when a pastiche fails or fall short, it can be interesting to try understand how or why it comes up short. And in the meantime, I’ve read a story that really has no requirement to be taken seriously.

The questions I would ask of a pastiche are the same that I ask of criticism: Is the work interesting/entertaining in its own right? How faithful it to spirit of Jane Austen’s novels? Does it provide insights into the work in question and/or the character of Jane Austen? ”

So, dear Austen-loving friends, I highly recommend reading the full text of the Ted Adams article — not the least for the titles of para-Austen books he considers excellent! Thanks for visiting Regency Reflections.

Remember to comment on the questions: What to call the phenomenon when the movie or sequel is never as good as the original AND Give the titles of any Austen para-literature books you’ve read that you think were pretty good.

Susan Karsten

The love of Regency romance lives on today. Comment on any post this week for a chance to win a book by one of Regency Reflections’ amazing published authors. The winner will be emailed the list of available books to choose from. The winner will be announced Monday, August 26th. Winner’s mailing address must be within the United States to win. 

The Women of Pride and Prejudice and A Chance to Win

Wednesday, Mary looked at the interactions and connections of the men of Pride and Prejudice. Today we look at the women.

If I were to write a post containing a detailed analysis of all the women in Pride and Prejudice, it would be long enough to have us all still reading it on Monday. Jane Austen built a wonderful world of women in a story that centered around the relationship between a man and a woman. Here is a look at some of the main ones and how they molded Elizabeth Bennet’s character.

The Mother

Ah, Mrs. Bennet, the woman so comically ridiculous and so blindingly obsessed that we can’t help but feel sorry for her family. As a modern reader, it’s difficult to imagine a life where getting your daughters married off is of utmost importance, but that is the existence Mrs. Bennet lives daily.

A mother seeks to make life better for their children. To care for them, prepare them for the future, raise them to care for themselves and their own families. Is the Bennet sisters did not marry, their futures were debatable indeed.

There are many times where we see glimmers of this worry from Mrs. Bennet. One could argue that she goes about her mission in a nonsensical manner, causing her daughters to react to her single-mindedness in various ways, but at the end of the day it cannot be doubted that Mrs. Bennet loved her daughters and wanted the absolute best life possible for them.

Lizzie reacts to her mother’s machinations with disbelief that is sometimes quiet and other times not. She maintains a level of outward respect for her mother that is admirable considering how preposterous she finds Mrs. Bennet’s attitudes and actions.

The Sisters

Elizabeth is the second of five sisters. It is easy to see how that family structure affected Lizzie’s thoughts, demeanor, and behavior.

Her older sister, Jane, is her best friend and her idol. Without being able to truly look up to her mother, Lizzie instead admires the sweet and quiet Jane. At first Jane appears to be a bit weak. Her quiet nature and desire to see good in everyone could be seen as fragile, but as she deals with the family scandals and the departure of Bingley, the reader sees a strength beneath the gentleness.

Mary and Kitty always seemed a bit lost to me, as if they were still searching for their place in the family. It is pure speculation on my part, but I always thought Mary’s bookish seriousness might have been an attempt to gain the attentions of her father, similar to how Lizzie had done naturally. Kitty, in turn, tried to relate to her mother the way the youngest did. Neither seemed very successful, leaving them a bit on the fringes. Kitty is rarely seen doing anything without Lydia and Mary’s social awkwardness is almost painful to read.

Last, but certainly not least in Elizabeth’s life, is Lydia. As the youngest, Lydia has likely been coddled from the day she was born. She has also absorbed their mother’s obsession with men and marriage. Lizzie sees Lydia as little more than a silly flirt and can be seen indulging her sister much like she indulges her mother – with little true respect, but also little outward censure. I think this is part of why Lydia feels that everything will turn out well when she is in London with Wickham. She had never known anything else.

The Friend

Charlotte Lucas is part of Lizzie’s life from the early stages of the book. I believe Charlotte is in place to be the voice of practical society. She views marriage as a necessity for a woman to secure her future. Love is not of great importance to her.

This is a stark contrast to Lizzie’s determination that only the deepest of loves would induce her to matrimony. We need this contrast and this voice of practicality in order to see just how different Lizzie is. Contemporary readers of Jane Austen’s novel were likely to see life through eyes more similar to Charlotte’s than to Lizzie’s.

Yet Charlotte’s closeness to Lizzie and her practical viewpoints are part of what allows Elizabeth to see things differently as well. When visiting her married friend at Rosings, Lizzie begins to see the benefits Charlotte found in making such an arrangement, even if she could never stomach it herself.

The Enemies

What would a great book be without a great villain? And if ever there were two women readers loved to hate, they would be Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

By the time Caroline comes on the scene, we have already attached ourselves to Lizzie. Caroline’s dismissal and beratement of our heroine makes us want to see her fall. While she never truly receives an on page comeuppance, its almost more fun for the reader to imagine her dealing with the family dinners and parties once Jane and Lizzie marry Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy.

As for Lady Catherine, we almost wouldn’t have a story without her. The link she creates between Elizabeth, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Darcy as well as the results of her presumptive call on Elizabeth towards the end of the book, serve to move the story along in ways that it could not do otherwise. She is not a woman to be overlooked, however, and demands the reader’s attention, even when we would rather focus on Lizzie and what she is doing. It makes it all the sweeter when Lizzie gives her the cut direct and walks away from her.

The Others

Other women play significant roles in the story as well, like Georgiana Darcy and Elizabeth’s Aunt Gardiner. Georgiana plays a distinct role in breaking down Elizabeth’s bad impression of the young lady’s stoic older brother. Any man who loves and cares for a younger sister like that cannot be as cold as Elizabeth’s first impressions made him out to be.

Aunt Gardiner is somewhere between friend and mother figure to Lizzie. They take in Jane and Lizzie at separate points in the book, leading the reader to believe that Mrs. Gardiner has tried to step in and alleviate some of the exuberance of Mrs. Bennet.

What do you think of the female dynamic in Pride and Prejudice? Austen’s amazing ability to craft characters that fit nearly every type of woman and mold them together in a single story is one of the things that makes this book so enjoyable.

Public Domain Image

This week we’re giving away a lovely copy of Pride and Prejudice. The book is hard cover with a ribbon book mark. The pages are rough cut to simulate the cut edges an original print would have had after binding. All comments on this week’s posts will be entered in the drawing. Must have a United States mailing address in order to win. Winner will be announced August 19, 2013.