Happy Birthday Jane!

I almost forgot that today was Jane Austen’s birthday! To celebrate it in last minute fashion, I have completed this fun meme from the Yet Another Period Drama Blog.

1 – What was the first JA novel you ever read, and who introduced you to it?

Pride and Prejudice was my first Jane Austen novel. I read it at 21 after watching the BBC miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I’m not sure, but I think Bridget Jones introduced me to the miniseries. I read Bridget Jones’ Diary that same year, and Bridget spent so much time obsessing over the Mr. Darcy diving into the lake scene that I had to see it. I loved the miniseries and had to read the book immediately.

2 – Which is your least favorite JA novel, and why? (Everybody posts about their favorites… I want to know what’s at the bottom of your list!)

My least favorite was Mansfield Park. But, I love Mansfield Park, so this really means nothing.

3 – Who do you think is the funniest character JA ever created?

Mr. Collins, hands down! Here is one of my favorite pieces of dialogue from Mr. Collins, as set up by the wonderful Mr. Bennet:

‘You judge very properly,’ said Mr. Bennet, ‘and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?’

‘They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.’

Classic Collins!

4 – Which JA villain[ess] do you love to hate?

Henry Crawford.

I’m not sure if he’s a villain, but he’s a character whom I shifted feelings for quite often. In fact, he might be the one Austen character that I have a sincere crush on (I always like the bad boys, but Wickham never did it for me!)

5 – What’s your favorite JA quote?

This may be often stated, but Mr. Darcy’s confession of love to Elizabeth Bennet has to be it!

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 have I 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.’

These lines rang so true in my head when I read them, I loved them so much, that upon reading them, I knew the sort of man I would fall for. At 21, I knew that I loved the awkwardness in these lines, the unstripped honesty with no regard for flattery or well-chosen words. Ten years later, I ended up marrying a man who was completely awkward and yet honest and somewhat insulting in his opening lines to me. I fell head over heels for him, and I have little doubt that Darcy influenced me at least a little!

6 – If you were to “start” someone on JA, which book would you recommend to them first and why?

I always start my new-to-Austen friends with Pride and Prejudice. It’s easy to fall in love with Austen with this novel and offers a little bit of everything. It’s a very well-rounded novel.

7 – What is your absolute favorite JA film adaptation and why?

Pride and Prejudice (1995) starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. This is the most perfectly casted and complete adaptation I have seen so far. Perhaps it requires many hours to get it all. Or Andrew Davies is necessary.

I love this scene so much! Nothing compares in any of the films to this ball scene! I have had bad days where I just fast-forward through the series to watch this scene. The only one that comes close is this scene in Becoming Jane (obviously not an Austen novel), but that’s because I’m in love with James McAvoy.

8 – If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of JA’s novels, which would it be and why?

Northanger Abbey. It might very well be my favorite Austen novel, and yet I have not yet seen a movie adaptation of it. If I could authorize the movie, I would insist that the director dramatize scenes from The Mysteries of Udolpho, so that the audience would get some idea of what Catherine is reading, since it plays so heavily in the plot. Maybe scenes where she is seen reading the book and then scenes of the book that she is reading. I think that would work!

9 – Which JA character do you most identify with?

Catherine Moorland–bookish and silly.

10 – If you could have lunch with JA today, what question would you most like to ask her?

Which of your characters do you most identify with? (Or, I’d just hand her this meme!)

11 – Is there any one thing that you think could have been improved upon in one (or all) of JA’s books? What is it and why?

Sometimes, Fanny Price drives me nuts. Edmund too. I bet Marianne would be annoyed by them as well. I almost wish that she had ended up with Henry Crawford as he would have added some excitement to her life. In many ways, I think Fanny and Edmund are too much alike and need some spice added in.

12 – If you could have lunch with one of JA’s characters today, who would it be and why?

Marianne Dashwood–she is exactly the kind of girl I always gravitate towards. She’s passionate, opinionated, and lively–characteristics I always admire and enjoy. I’m more like Elinor, so this might be why.

Happy birthday Miss Austen and thank you for your literary offering!

Also, thank you Miss Dashwood at Yet Another Period Drama Blog for offering up these questions–this was the most fun I’ve ever had with a meme ever! It gave me an excuse to post two videos of my favorite Austen movie scenes!