Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jane Austen

Reading all of Jane Austen's novels, seeing many of the movies, and finally, visiting Bath, wasn't near enough to satisfy me. I'm still obsessed with all things Jane Austen, and as evidenced by a book I picked up in the gift shop of the Jane Austen Centre, so is everyone else in the world. The book is called Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman. I read it over last weekend (I still have a long way to go to get through the large stack of books I brought back from England!), and enjoyed it. Part biography and part listing of all the places in pop culture that Jane Austen has influenced, the book was a fun read and only made me add to my list of books and movies that relate to Jane Austen that I must now read and see. Jane really is everywhere, still seeping into our lives over 200 years later. 

The book details interesting facts such as how hard Austen's family members worked after her death to see to it that she got the credit she deserved for contributing to English literature. It also discussed Austen's contemporaries who did not see the value of her work, and those who later did (Rudyard Kipling was one of many fans).

Besides this book, one of the Jane-related things I've really enjoyed lately is the movie Lost in Austen, which is apparently a takeoff on a BBC television series (or maybe the series is a takeoff on the movie - either way, they are related). In it, a modern-day Austen fanatic switches places with Elizabeth Bennet, who becomes a nanny in London while the main character, Amanda, ends up in Pride and Prejudice, and spends every second trying not to derail the plot of the book, while its characters have no idea they're even in the book. This movie got a lot of chuckles out of me, and I loved how the characters could jump back and forth between modern times and centuries ago. 

Just do a search on YouTube for movie trailers, spoofs, tours of Bath and Chawton Place, and many other Jane Austen gems. If you're in the mood for a laugh, be sure to check out the Jane Austen Fight Club videos. Very funny.

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