Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Janeian Postscript

First, the exciting part: the winner our our random drawing for a fun assortment of Jane Austen stuff is...

Christina Farley!

Christina will be receiving Jane Austen's Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson, So You Think You Know Jane Austen? A Literary Quizbook by John Sutherland and Dierdre Le Faye, Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross, a box of Jane Austen notecards and, of course, the amazing Jane Austen action figure! Christina, can you please e-mail me via the contact form on my website so we can arrange mailing sometime after this holiday weekend?

The noodling around on the internet that I've done as we held our Jane Austen extravaganza has pointed up an interesting fact: Jane Austen is big business. Look at the books we're giving away above...what other 19th century author has spawned such titles? Can you picture, say, Thomas Hardy's Guide to Living Happily Ever After, or Henry James's Simple Country Living Stylebook? But joking aside, I don't think any other author has inspired modern books like these.

And then there are the Jane Austen continuations and fictionalized biographies. My November issue of The Historical Novels Review had reviews of no fewer than six Jane Austen "sequels" or other Jane-related fiction: Eliza's Daughter by Joan Aiken, Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley, The Darcys and the Bingleys by Marsha Altman, Pemberley Shades by D.A. Bonavia-Hunt, Lydia Bennett's Story by Jane Odiwe, and Impulse and Initiative: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds. And there are dozens of others, some more fanciful and free-wheeling, others as close to JA as their authors could make them.

What about Jane on the silver screen? Every one of her completed novels has been made into a movie, be it for Hollywood or for release on television--some of them several times. Battles rage between Laurence Olivier-as-Darcy fans and the Colin Firth supporters (not to mention Matthew Macfadyen), and the Keira Knightly movie vs. the A&E miniseries. (I have my preferences, of course...can you guess?)

Lastly, there's fan fiction and the internet. Googling "Jane Austen fan fiction" showed nearly 90,000 hits for hundreds of sites, and included Yahoo Groups for JA fan fiction not to mention fabulous sites like The Republic of Pemberley for all things Jane. Um, wow.

So to close our Jane Austen celebration, I'm going to ask you a few questions:
  • What is it about Jane Austen--why do you think she still speaks so clearly to people today?

  • What's your favorite JA sequel or JA-related fiction or movie/TV version of JA?

  • Are you a secret (or not-so-secret) JA fan fiction writer?

And finally, Regina and I wish you a very happy and healthy 2009, thank you for visiting and chatting with us at Nineteenteen over the last year, and hope you'll continue to do so in the new year to come!


Anonymous said...

I think we still like Miss Austens books because Jane's characters are, though nearly two hundred years old, still people we can relate to. We all want to be Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse and marry Mr. Darcy (or that's just me;)). Her books are set in a different time, but one we can still see ourselves living in, so it's not completely abstract. And it's just written so nicely =D

I definitely adore the 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries! I practically grew up with the adaptation because my mom had (and still has) a major crush on Colin Firth and since a couple of years I share that, so it's a bit special to me.
The 2005 movie I simply could not stand, mainly because Joe Wright made the Bennets look ridiculously poor and that annoyed me. And do not mistake me, I like Matthew Macfadyen very much as an actor (has anyone seen Little Dorrit? Oh my!) but in my opinion he has to take his paws OFF Mr. Darcy!

When I was last in London I bought 'Being Elizabeth Bennet' and 'Old Friends and New Fancies', the first sequel to Jane Austen ever written. I both enjoyed them immensly and can recommend them to everyone!

While I absolutely am addicted to Jane Austen fanfiction, I do not write it myself! I do not believe myself capable of that, hihi.

I must tell you how ardently I admire and love this blog! (Sorry, had to insert that;)) I am now writing an important history paper about the Regency and this blog is really useful to me, and great fun to read! Keep up the good work!

Love, Marloes

Marissa Doyle said...

Marloes, you've made my day--thank you so much! It's nice to know we're doing something worthwhile here (as well as fun!)

Addie said...

For Christmas this year, I received the movie Pride and Prejudice, featuring Keira Knightley! I think she does a fabulous job as Elizabeth.

Christina Farley said...

I'm screaming 'Happy New Year' to me!!!!!!!

Christina Farley said...

OK, so I've calmed down now (smile) to answer your questions.

There is definitely something in Jane Austen that voices the desires, needs and hopes that women feel. But there is also that inner strength that comes through in her characters that makes them true heriones. (And of course the Mr. Darcey's and Mr. Knightly's.)

I've all the Jane Austen movies and books that I can muster up. My favorite by far is the BBC/A&E version of Pride and Pred. Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow would be my second fav.

And then there's Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility that makes me want to cry along with her.

I wish that I was a Jane Austen stlyist writer but there's no hope for me in that. My voice just isn't similar, but I'd love to do something fun with another version of one of her books, specifically Northhanger Abby.

So, since Jane Austen is no longer with us in the flesh, you'll just have to write more books Marissa to quelch my thirst for books of this time period!

Gillian Layne said...

Happy New Year!

Jane Austen is a warm, gentle, utterly romantic voice in a time of often garish sensuality. YA is the perfect venue to continue in her tradition because you can revel in the romance while leaving the bedroom door closed.

Ladies, this blog and your books are wonderful, and a joy to share with my teenagers as well, so much continued success in 2009! :)

Gillian Layne said...

Christina, congratulations!!! What a great way to start 2009!

Anonymous said...

Jane Austen had a certain ability to capture the absurd qualities in people and to gently mock society, which I think, is something everyone can relate to. Her characters are realistic and honest portrayals of somewhat ordinary women with normal hopes and dreams. Of course everyone wants to marry Mr. Darcy. I especially love how he is willing and able to change for Elizabeth and overlook her family's bad points and ignore his family's objections.

My favorite spin-offs are the Fitzwilliam Darcy chronicles by Pamela Aidan. I love Mr. Darcy so much more after reading (and rereading) her version from Darcy's point of view. Count me in as a passionate Colin Firth as Mr/ Darcy fan! The Keira Knightly version was good but I felt kind of old because the actors were all my age and younger!
I have also read most of Joan Aiken's spin-offs/sequels. Some are good, some not so good (like Eliza's Daughter. I enjoyed reading Mr. Darcy's Daughters and the sequels.

I only read published fan fiction and not amateur fan fiction.