Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Bicentennial Birthday Bash!


Happy 200th Anniversary, Lizzie & Darcy!


This month marks two centuries of readers enjoying the adventures of Jane, Lizzie, Mary, Kitty, & Lydia.  In fact, we now have variations and flavors to suit any mood, for Pride and Prejudice has garnered countless films, books, spinoffs, spoofs, and more.

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Just a few of the many P & P covers you will find...

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You can find Mr. Darcy's words on mugs, cell phones, tea towels...

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And of course, Keep Calm posters.



But, even more than my affection for Darcy & Elizabeth's story, is my admiration for Jane Austen's creation of a flawed heroine.  Lizzie was not celebrated for her beauty, or her gentle, angelic nature.  She fell for the charming smile of a man in a uniform, made assumptions, mocked her peers, lost her temper, and disliked being in polite society.

Yet she wins our hearts with her wit, intelligence, and strength of character.  We laugh along with her as she suffers through dinners with her mother and those younger sisters.  We fume over the harsh words of an arrogant man.  We feel her utter disgust at Mr. Collins self-serving proposal.  We hurt for Jane's broken heart.  

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And, of course, we slowly fall in love with one Fitzwilliam Darcy...


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Brooding, Colin Firth, 1995, Photo Credit

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Missing his cravat, shocking! Focus Films 2005, Photo Credit

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Classic Hollywood actor, Lawrence Oliver as Darcy, 1940.  Photo Credit


One thing that is appropriately in the works for 2013 is the film version of one of the most fitting Jane Austen spinoffs, Austenland.  First a book by Shannon Hale, it is now a film that will be at Sundance this year, directed by Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), and produced by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight).  Intriguing...oh who are we kidding, anyone want to join me for a midnight showing?

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Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly

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Keri Russell is playing the role of Jane Hayes, along with Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, & other BBC actors you will recognize---because let's face it, they all seem to work together on everything, much to our pleasure & delight...ehhem, see Downton Abbey.
So, in honor of this auspicious year, I hope you get a chance to do several Austeny things: re-read your favorite novel, trim a bonnet, watch a BBC, or even grocery shop with this tote!!


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With Love, and Until Soon,
Jane xx



P.S.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Austenland, here is an excerpt from Shannon Hale's website:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her. There was no husband, but those weren’t necessary anymore. There were boyfriends, and if they came and went in a regular stream of mutual dissatisfaction—well, that was the way of things, wasn’t it? 

But Jane had a secret. By day, she bustled and luncheoned and emailed and over timed and just-in-timed, but sometimes, when she had the time to slip off her consignment store pumps and lounge on her hand-me-down sofa, she dimmed the lights, turned on her nine inch television, and acknowledged what was missing.

Sometimes, she watched Pride and Prejudice. 

You know, the BBC double DVD version, starring Colin Firth as the delicious Mr. Darcy and that comely, busty English actress as the Elizabeth Bennet we had imagined all along. Jane watched and re-watched the part where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy look at each other over the piano, and there’s that zing, and her face softens, and he smiles, his chest heaving as though he’d breathe in the sight of her, and his eyes are glistening so that you’d almost think he’d cry...Ah!

Each time, Jane’s heart banged, her skin chilled, and she clamped down on the distracting ache in her gut with a bowl of something naughty, like Cocoa Pebbles. That night she would dream of gentlemen in Abraham Lincoln hats, and then in the morning laugh at herself and toy with the idea of hauling those DVDs and all her Austen books to the second hand store.

Of course, she never did. 
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