Thursday, October 1, 2009

Austen Inspired

I am ashamed to say that at this point in the game I have yet to actually read any Jane Austen. I've seen most of the adaptations -- don't fuss at me! I never elected to watch the films rather than read the books, I just happened to catch the films on tv and watch them, and then rent them, and then buy the books that have been sitting on my bookshelves patiently waiting for me.

I've also read some books inspired by Austen, a trend that seems to be really hot right now. Again. Obviously Austen has been responsible for quite a few brilliant ideas, Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, and the whole chick-lit phenomenon.

Just the other night I was looking for something to watch and came across the UK mini-series Lost in Austen, a film about a P&P obsessed girl who finds herself launched into the story, where she proceeds to make a total mess of things. It stars Jemima Rooper (of Hex) as Amanda Price. It's a cute film that did well enough they are now adapting it for the big screen. Fun stuff. Still, I know, not a substitution for the real thing, and one of these days I'll read and become totally obsessed with Austen's actual written words. I'm Darcy obsessed as it is. I think he kind of ruins women for men. He's lovely. He's the perfect man in a lot of ways. And he's totally imaginary, which makes it even better. You see a new sort of Darcy in Lost in Austen, but he's still good old reliable Darcy in the end.

So yeah, I'm totally loving the Austen inspired trend of late. I don't have any details on the feature film, but Lost in Austen is available on DVD and I recommend checking it out. I also recommend the latest version of Sense & Sensibility, if you haven't seen it. It aired on Masterpiece Classics this year and I thought it was just wonderful. Next year they're doing Emma and I can't wait.

Off the Austen track, if you didn't see the adaptation of Dickens's Little Dorritt, you absolutely must rent it. Maybe one day I'll get around to trying to read this one, much later than I'll get to Austen, though, because it's kind of a whopper. In the meantime, the mini-series won 7 Emmies this year. It was by far my favorite in the Masterpiece Classic series probably because I'd never had any exposure to the tale before.

So see, adaptations can be ok. Believe me, I'm aware of how approachable Austen is, though, so there's really no excuse.

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