I'm thrilled to post this! (Thanks, BajaJaneite for sending in the link -- I've been wanting to share it with you all.)
I did a gallery for BeliefNet with pictures from my trip and thoughts on the spiritual Austen places I visited -- spiritual being rather loosely defined, as in perhaps relating to (ahem...) the cult of Colin Firth. ;-)
I didn't love Sense & Sensibility. Ugh. I mean, I enjoyed it as a casual tv viewer, but not as an Austen fan. I got this email from a friend yesterday which summarized my thoughts exactly:
We only watched part of S&S, and it was okay. I was disappointed in
Edward (too self-assured), Willoughby (not good-looking enough and
slightly creepy) and Col. Brandon (definitely creepy). And I feel like
Andrew Davies is losing his touch -- he stole so many things from Emma
Thompson's version (including Fanny's weird hair).
Edward was energetic and enthusiastic and confident -- I think he could have easily read poetry in such a way that pleased Marianne. Willoughby was creepy. I thought the scene at the beginning was unnecessary and actually confusing, because you didn't know who it was. Mrs. Dashwood is not nearly emotional enough -- according to the book, Marianne gets her emotional tendencies from her mom. And Davies seemed to steal an awful lot from Emma Thompson! Like Margaret in the library on the floor, and playing outside with Edward while Elinor watches. And why, oh why, change the story so that Marianne actually likes Brandon a bit at the beginning? That changes everything. I also thought Austen's language had been deliberately dumbed down.
I'm looking forward to Sunday night, but to me this feels like a lesser adaptation of Emma Thompson's wonderful version.
Breakpoint has published my op-ed in response to Lori Gottlieb's article in last month's Atlantic Monthly (Marry Him!) suggesting that single women should forget about romantic love and settle for "Mr. Okay" instead of waiting around for "Mr. Right." What would Jane Austen say? Ultimately, I think she would challenge our notions of love (and probably have a great deal of fun laughing at them as well).
Perhaps I should
start by saying that I’m not incensed by this notion. I’m single, I’m 36, and I
want to be married. I want to have kids. I actually believe, as Gottlieb
ever-so-heretically asserts, that relationships (and primarily marriage) are
still in many ways what define us as women.
What strikes me
about all of this is that these are conversations we’ve been having for
hundreds of years, all the way back to Jane Austen’s dear Elizabeth and Mr.
Darcy (or perhaps more to the point here, Charlotte Lucas and the obsequious
Mr. Collins. Could Charlotte
have been happy that she settled? I doubt it). And as the film The
Jane Austen Book Club pointed out, we’re still asking ourselves today,
“What would Jane do?”
settle? Absolutely not. Marriage in Austen’s day was all about settling, of
course. Women who had no opportunity to earn their own living, needed financial
security. Men as well were hoping to “settle” on a woman of means. The whole
thing became a matter of business, which led to all sorts of mischief and
misery. In that setting, Austen gives us poor, intelligent women hoping to
marry for love. And because this is fiction, they do. (...)
Baja Janeite sent this in ages ago and I've been meaning to post it. How cool is this? The library in Temecula, California has a Jane Austen study group which meets from 10:30 - 12:30 on Wednesdays. Through May, they'll be discussing A Walk with Jane. More info here.