Monday, August 1, 2011

Jane Austen Week Questions

 From Elegance of Fashion:

What is your favorite thing about Jane Austen? Why?

There are two.  One is the way there's such variation in her main characters - each heroine is different and so is each hero, though I can still find something I identify with in each heroine.  The other is that she wrote about people in the country.  I find this striking on its own, and in comparison to the way that so many authors of Regency novels nowadays choose to set their fiction in London.  I live in the country myself, and I like seeing what life was like in similar places in the past.

What are your top three favorite Jane Austen Novels and why? 
 Persuasion - I think it's better-written and more romantic than the others.  It also felt more real to me.
Northanger Abbey - It's adorable!  And funny, funnier than the rest, I think.
Pride & Prejudice - Such a classic.  None of the imitations manage to really capture both the jerkishness and the innate good nature of Mr Darcy.


Who are your top three favorite Jane Austen Heroines and why? 
Difficult!  I'm probably influenced by other characters being more popular and turning me off as favorites (see earlier post on my being a hipster).
Catherine Morland - She's just so sweet and means well.
Jane Bennet - Same again, I just felt really bad for her during P&P.  I'd read a version of it from her perspective.  She deserved everyone being nice to her!
Elinor Dashwood - She has to hold her whole family together and try to keep them from ruining themselves while dealing with Lucy being awful.  Enviable inner strength.


Who are your top three favorite Jane Austen Heroes and why?
 Captain Wentworth - Can't explain quite why, in some ways he's pretty terrible.  But in other ways he really seems to have a stronger passion for Anne than any of the other heroes (save maybe Darcy).
Henry Tilney - Clever and witty!  Even if he doesn't fall in love with Catherine until the end, silly man, I still love him.  JJ Feild is probably part of this.
Edward Ferrars - Well, I find his sense of duty and honor very attractive.  And "we can't be together, it's all my fault and I feel terrible" is sexy, too.


Any honorable mentions for 3, 4, and 5? (Keep it under five all together)
 Darcy's up there.  And so is Bingley, for the same reason as Jane - they're both so sweet.  Do Jane and Bingley count as heroine/hero?  I think so.


Top three Jane Austen Adaptations and why?
The most recent  Northanger Abbey is probably the best - faithful, but embroiders in ways that work (the fantasies, Isabella's ~downfall~).  I don't like a few bits of Sense & Sensibility (2008) and I have a hard time taking Dominic Cooper seriously as a heartthrob - he's attractive, but  more from some kind of charisma than his appearance, I think - but overall I love it to pieces.  Edward's repression is delicious.  And I love Pride & Prejudice (2005) even though so many people don't: it's very important to me that characters are cast with actors who look the right age, since part of what interests me is how young these characters trying to plan the rest of their lives are.  Also I have a crush on Macfadyen.  (And Feild.  And Stevens.)


Top Three Jane Austen characters that "take delight in vexing" you?



Mrs Norris is one of my least favorites.  While most of the annoying characters are just annoying, she seems actively malicious from a creepy idea that Fanny just doesn't deserve to ever be remotely content.  Apart from her, I don't really hate any characters.  Mrs Bennet and Fanny Dashwood are up there, though.

Jane Austen Sequels... Do you like them or not?
I like them in theory.  I love fanfiction, and I've read a pretty good amount of it.  But most Austen sequels seem to have very little charm, and most retellings have little subtlety.  Do I lose all of my cred if I say I thought the Bridget Jones books were extremely good retellings?  I think what I like least about the sequels I've tried is that they repeat Austen's plots as though what I really wanted was to see was for the characters to forget everything and repeat their own stories, or that they go off in their own mad directions that aren't Austenish at all.  Joan Aiken's sequels are especially unAustenish.


Do you have a favorite spot to keep all your Jane Austen "stuff"?
 Not really.  I do keep all the books together on my shelf, because I feel that they want to keep each other company.  I don't have much else apart from the books, just a journal I got at the Jane Austen Centre.



Which Jane Austen character do you think you're most like?
Really, I have something from so many characters.  I think that mostly, though, I'm most like Anne Elliot.  Quiet and thoughtful, and often in the background.

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