Enjoying Austen

Enjoying Austen

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I’m gathering ideas for a novel. And while that is a daunting moment, it’s also tremendous fun. The blank screen holds endless potential. Here are a few books I’m digging into presently for research. I’ve spent the last week re-reading Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey – and watching the latest round of BBC movies. It’s been a good week…

KReay picI thought I might share a few moments with you…

Marianne stating with such certainty – “Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”

Yes, Marianne, you do. 🙂

And the sigh produced as the pragmatic Elinor final reveals her broken heart – “—If you can think me capable of ever feeling – surely you may suppose that I have suffered now. The composure of mind with which I have brought myself at present to the consider the matter, the consolation that I been willing to admit, have been the effect of constant and painful exertion.”

You can feel her anguish, then smile as she must console Marianne in the next beat. I love the interplay between the sisters in this one. They may be my favorite sisters – don’t tell Lizzy and Jane.

And who can resist the final laugh, caught on a sigh, as Edward gets his girl? This moment, I think, is better in the movies than the book. Sorry, Austen. But here, I think, Austen takes us too far from the action with “This only need be said; — that when they all sat down to table at four o’clock, about three hours after his arrival, he had secured his lady, engaged her mother’s consent, and was not only in the rapturous profession of the lover, but in the reality of reason and truth, one of the happiest of men.” I personally like seeing Elinor burst into tears and Edward ask for forgiveness and her hand.

 

And Northanger Abbey

northanger abbeyAusten is laughing right along with us in this one with her opening line: “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.” She goes on to describe this poor girl as plain, with a thin awkward figure, never able to learn or understand anything before she was taught, inattentive and occasionally stupid.

It’s a wonder, with that introduction, that anyone kept reading. I don’t think I’ll try that in my next book. But Cathy improves and, as we all know, becomes that heroine. I particularly enjoy Austen’s narrative voice and wit in this one. There are notes of sarcasm and disdain, but, in the end, I think Austen couldn’t help herself – she gave Cathy a better story than our unlikely heroine probably deserved.

I love this site as a place to chat about Austen. If you have any thoughts about these two books or favorite moments you’d like to share, please do! I’m all ears… And I’m off to read Persuasion

 

 

5 Responses to Enjoying Austen

  1. I have long wished to read a Sense and Sensibility that includes a nice side story where Fanny Dashwood receives her just desserts. Truly, her character gives me the same feeling as fingernails on a chalkboard!

  2. Happy planning! I absolutely adore Northanger Abbey! As much as I love P&P…it gets complicated. NA is just FUN! And Henry Tilney? My book boyfriend. MINE. No one else can have him. 🙂

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