“I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.”

Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister, Cassandra, 24 Dec 1798

 

Jane’s fans see her so many ways: elegant and gentle; witty and heartless; feminist; and conservative. I like every one of the Janes, to be honest.

I met Jane in my mid-teens when my mother suggested that I read Pride and Prejudice. My favorites were Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. Later, I grew to enjoy Emma just as much. I read and own copies of all six novels. I also like her brief history (with very few dates) and Lady Susan.

 

I remember encountering some strange people who didn’t think much of Jane. I loaned my copy of Pride and Prejudice to an acquaintance who took pains to tell me that she wanted to read it only for Jane’s use of language and not for her plot. When I was writing a paper on her in college, a professor commented that Austen did not write characters so much as character types.

I like the Pride in Prejudice with Greer Garson and the one with Keira Knightly. The BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth is excellent in quality but not as frothy as it could be.

I really liked Frances O’Connor in the 1999 Mansfield Park. I know it is not a faithful adaptation but it’s an interesting and lively one. I’ve enjoyed modern versions of her novels: Bridget Jones’ Diary; Clueless; and Bride and Prejudice. I would like to watch a film of Lady Susan but that will probably not happen.

I haven’t read that many “sequels” books but I did enjoy the complete of Sanditon. In college, I discovered Regencies and read tons of them. My favorite Regency authors were Marion Chesney and Georgette Heyer.

I am, of course, going to watch Becoming Jane.

Now, I think that Austen is popular enough that my acquaintance could probably confess she liked all of Pride and Prejudice, not just her word choice.

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