Lost in Austen (P&P challenge #2)

When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on. Books about adventures in the Amazone, stories about ordinary girls such as myself enjoying every day, drama in long gone times and adventures set in a fantasy world very unlike our own. As every young reader does, I imagined myself to be the main character, living through all the exitement, picturing myself in the world described by books. I would wear gorgeous, long dresses in period drama, be running around the forest in little more than a twig-and-leaf bikini or have pointy ears when being an elf.

As I turned older, I got my own bookshelves. I stacked them with all the books I loved so much. The hanging bookshelves were positioned in a triangle next to my bed, the middle one the highest, so I could sit in bed with my back against the wall, reading while surrounded by books. That is when my imagination concerning the world of books began to change. I had always pictured myself as the main character, the heroine. Now I began imagining simply living in the same world. In my dreams, I could see a hidden doorway beneath the triangle of bookshelves. Passing it, I would enter whatever world belonged to the book I was reading at the time.

It was a lovely time, my childhood, and I had quite forgotten I used to imagine this, until I watched ‘Lost in Austen‘ for the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge. Miss Amanda Price gets to do what I always imagined: she gets to step into the world of her favourite book, somewhat exchanging places with the main character. She is awed and very exited. I can imagine she might have had the same childhood ideas and fantasies, that have now become a reality. Amanda screws up, naturally, for she only knows the novel and barely anything of life 200 years ago. Unlike my completely appropriate behaviour when I entered the world of books, Amanda fails to conform to the norms and standards of the time. Instead of running its natural course, her entering the world alters the so beloved story of Pride and Prejudice.

The first episode I have watched with my hands before my eyes, feeling somewhat ashamed of the odd behaviour Amanda displays. After that I was quite able to follow the storyline. What an exaggeration of characters, that are already quite stereotyped in the novel. Mrs. Bennet is more fussy about her daughters getting married, Mr. Bennet vexes his wife even more than becomes apparent in the novel. Mr Collins is ghastly, horrible, despicable… mainly EW, that’s the best word to describe him.

Lost in Austen really is a very funny story, with exaggerated characters and very inappropriate behaviour by Amanda. Flirting with the BBC’s 1995 adaptation, we even get a wet Mr Darcy, which doesn’t make sense in the story at all. Miss Bingley, who would have imagined, turns out to be a lesbian, and Georgiana not quite so innocent as we have always believed her to be. The whole adaptation is a great parody on the story we all know so well, beautifully pictured and acted. And another bonus: I think it contained the most attractive Mr. Darcy I have seen thus far ūüėČ Yes, drool time, definitely!


Further reading

Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)With the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, it is a great time to read the book again, watch the movies, read spin-offs etc. in honour of this great novel! Austenprose hosts the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, with the purpose of letting people discover P&P once again. 

I have committed myself to reading or watching 9 books/movies at least, so the Aficionada level. I don’t have a planning, nor do I know exactly what I will read yet. Here a selection of books/movies I know already I want to read or watch:

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice (1995) – BBC series (I have already seen this in January)
Pride and Prejudice (2005) – movie
Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Lost in Austen – BBC miniseries

 

In addition there will be at least 4 more books, but as I don’t know the possibilities yet, I will roam around to find these 4! If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

200 years Pride and Prejudice (P&P challenge #1)

Yesterday it was Pride and Prejudice’s 200th birthday. For a novel that perhaps didn’t inspire much thought when it was first published, it is now one of the most well-read Jane Austen novels and one of my personal favourites. Why? Because it is so easy to get into the head of Elizabeth Bennet and understand what she goes through, even though society has changed greatly since the novel was first written. I have reread the book for probably the 5th time and still fell in love with Darcy as Elizabeth did, and I still felt curious: will they get together in the end? Of course, I know, but the way the book is written makes me question is every time again.

ImagePride and Prejudice has inspired some great movies, the latest from 2005 with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Wonderful costumes, picturesque villages and mansions, traditional dances (which I LOVE) and naturally the wonderful story. Yet, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I found that I missed parts of the story. Especially Darcy’s side of the story barely is enlightened, though it is hinted at in the novel. Had I not known the story yet, the (very sudden) admiration for Elizabeth had come across quite odd. Within the short time frame I have to say that Matthew Macfadyen makes the most of it, though… A very handsome Mr Darcy indeed!

Recently I bought the 1995 BBC series, starring the brilliant Jennifer 

ImageEhle and Colin Firth. Though I very much liked the 2005 film edition, I absolutely LOVED the series and spent an entire day with simply watching Pride and Prejudice. It is so truthful to the story, telling every little bit, showing how Darcy feels, having the clothing and environment that perfectly fits with 200 years ago. Contrary to the movie, the colours in the series are quite plain, but as I noticed that, I realized that plain colours are way more natural!

One of my favourites at this moment is a modern adaptation of the story as a video blog on Youtube. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, short videos of 3 to 6 minutes, and they’re great! The additional characters get way more depth than in the original novel or the movies. You can view the first episode here.¬†If you like it, there are currently 83 videos, and Lizzie is at Pemberley (yes, the story line is followed, but it is a very modern adaptation). According to some, this adaptation stays true to the novel best… Go check it out!

I’m definitely not the only one to love this classic, 200 year old novel. Many more people do. Some people have been inspired to write about Jane Austen’s world, others take a more feminist approach as a Modern Mrs Darcy¬†(she has written very nice reviews of the different film editions as well!)¬†and yet others simply love Pride and Prejudice, such as¬†The Bennet Sisters and Austenprose.