Category Archives: Jane’s Characters

From Northanger to Frankenstein Event

Come for Jane Austen book geekage.
The Fall meeting of the Jane Austen Society.

Gain a deeper understanding of Catherine Morland by looking at her horror fan side. Was she just a silly young miss innocent of the real dangers of the world, or did she enjoy horror literature on a more intimate level in a way that fans of horror media today can relate to? Author Emmy Z. Madrigal will give insight on this most misunderstood heroine.

Frankenstein and the Problem of Exile
Professor Omar F. Miranda of USF will talk us through what Mary Shelley’s readers might have thought 200 years ago, when Frankenstein was published. What did it mean to be exiled, to be cut off from society? Displacement, banishment, as well as alienation and exclusion all figure into the narrative. How does the creature use exile for auspicious ends? Can Victor Frankenstein break free from what he has created?

Want to join the Jane Austen Society? Click here!

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Movie Review: Love and Friendship

loveandfBeing a Jane Austen fan, I was really excited to see Love and Friendship, a film adaptation of the novel Lady Susan.

Lady Susan is a woman who has no qualms about her affair with a married man. She is selfish, rude, and controlling of her marriage-age daughter, but somehow in a charming way. She at first hitches her daughter to a silly man who rivals Mr. Collins in unnecessary speech. The young buck in this tale is Reginald DeCourcy, a man with wealth and title who falls for Lady Susan’s guise as the misunderstood widow.

The first thing that struck me while I watched was how the director used the opening to showcase a very unlikely technique reminiscent of the early age of film. With plain black background and wavy yellow font, I wondered if the film would be shot in silent. The introduction of characters was also shot in this fashion. I wasn’t sure if I liked this or if it made the film disjointed for me. The technique did add to the comedic fashion the film followed, but I am still undecided if I like it in a film so different in period.

There is no doubt that the entire movie carried Jane’s wit and sense of humor. Several of the sarcastic lines of Lady Susan’s are my all-time favorites of any of Jane’s books.

About a suitor,

“He’s too old to be governable, too young to die.”

About Alicia Johnson’s husband recovering from a gout attack when she wished he had perished,
“May Mr. Johnson’s next gouty attack end more favorably.”

love and f2Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin is the extra comedy relief and plays a nincompoop rather well. Along with Lady Susan’s sarcastic attitude, these two bring about a real sense of farce to the whole movie, which I rather enjoyed.

Sets, houses, and costuming in the movie were exquisite, especially for Kate Beckinsale who played Lady Susan. The reds and purples of Kate’s clothes were so vibrant and always made her the center of attention. However, I found the men’s breeches lacked proper tailoring. At first I thought it was just on the older men, but even the young buck DeCourcy’s outfits were in serious need of a crotch tailor.

kbeckThe almost unrecognizable Beckinsale (I’ll admit to only knowing her tough Underworld character) gave an outstanding performance playing a woman who was believable and dangerous. As for the other characters, I am not sure I liked them or not. The story in a whole is charming and funny but does not have the same happy resolution of Jane’s other works. When I say happy, I do not mean joyous, for of course there was a marriage at the end. I mean the story did not seem to mesh as well as her other works. In fact, it does not even hold the complexity of her other works. It’s as if someone said, “Jane, could you write a comedy without a proper ending, leaving out scenes here and there with no real resolution?” Perhaps this is why she did not publish it while she was alive. Perhaps she knew it needed something to make it complete?

So, as a Jane fan, I did enjoy seeing this missing piece from her, and I will most likely buy it on DVD, but it will only stand as part of a collection I love. This has inspired me, however, to re-read Lady Susan and see where (if any) mistakes or improvements were made.

Did you see Love and Friendship? What did you think? Please comment below.

Respect for Mr. Woodhouse

Being sick all week, I’ve found myself very much like Mr. Woodhouse in Emma.

Mr. Woodhouse: Cake! Surely you’re not serving cake at your wedding, Miss Taylor! Far too rich, you put us all at peril! Where is Mr. Perry, the apothecary? I’m sure he will support me!
Mrs. Weston: Ah, he is over there, Mr. Woodhouse, having some cake.

mrwAnd although we all know someone like Mr. Woodhouse—someone on the cautious side of health matters, carrying hand sanitizer everywhere and slipping on masks whenever possible—I think Jane might have included his comical personality to make fun of ourselves. For aren’t we all a little like Mr. Woodhouse at one time or another? Have you ever cancelled a date or appointment because the other person was recently ill? Have you washed your hands manically after visiting the doctor’s office? Have you gobbled Zicam because someone sneezed in front of you in line at the grocery store?

This week I have had to remind myself that things were so much more serious back in Mr. Woodhouse’s day. The truth is, if I’d had what I have now, back in the olden days, chances are I wouldn’t recover to blog about it. Only through the wonders of medical science have I conquered all the injuries and illnesses I’ve acquired during my life.

wanddIn fact, there were quite a bit of illnesses I might not have recovered from back in Regency England. One needs only watch the scene from Wives and Daughters where Molly and Roger can’t even touch because of illness to know how serious it was. Check out this blog post on lahilden.com if you want to get into a real hypochondriac state of mind. I mean we’re talking Cholera, Smallpox, Typhoid Fever… Really serious stuff!

You might be asking what the point of this blog is. Is it just a medication-induced rant brought on by too much Austen watching while sick? Is it because when you get sick you get all retrospective and try to make sense out of things we take for granted in our everyday lives?

mr woodhouseProbably. But because of this illness, I have gained a new respect for Mr. Woodhouse. He isn’t the scaredy-cat hypochondriac we all think he is, no! He’s just a man who cares enough for Emma and himself to want wellness to surround them. He knows the dangers of kids bringing illnesses home and of travelling in the rain.

No, I shall never look at Mr. Woodhouse the same again. He is to be applauded, to be revered!

Mr. Woodhouse: You must wrap up warm, Emma, in case some of the young dancers do something remarkably reprehensible, like opening a window.

Okay, so yeah, that might be a bit much. I’m sure I’ll come to my senses in 5-7 days.

Prescription: Watch Emma with a glass of hot cocoa and call me in the morning.

Stay well readers!

 

 

6 Things the Modern Woman Can Learn From Lizzy

lizzy

6 Things the Modern Woman Can Learn
From Lizzy in Pride and Prejudice.

  1. Don’t assume.

    Until you know the full story (from the horse’s mouth as they say) don’t assume the one who told you is telling the truth. Also don’t assume you know what’s going on by pictures or comments on social media or found out second-hand. Talk to him. Find out for sure. Then you can make an informed decision.

 

  1. Don’t overlook a quiet guy for a shiny new penny.

    If he sounds too good to be true, he usually is. Guys that boast about what they have or can do (or alternately how hard they’d had it, what trials and tribulations they’ve gone through) are usually just blowing smoke. Beware of tall tales and guys who like to toot their own horn. The quiet guys can be gems in the rough. He may be shy or not used to social situations, but has a heart of gold. Give him a second look and get to know him. Quiet guys are usually extremely loyal.

  1. Don’t give up on love.

    It’s really never too late to find your soulmate–or just somebody to have fun with. You deserve to be loved and share love with someone else and you never know when it will appear in the most unlikely of places. When it comes, don’t be closed to it. Don’t be so sure you are done that you are blind to the possibilities.

 

  1. Learn to forgive and be forgiven.

    Be gracious and allow him to apologize or change his mind just like you expect to be treated. Don’t expect him to be against reconcile, especially if the fight was your fault. Sometimes fights and the conversations after make for a stronger bond. Not to mention great make-up sessions!

 

  1. Learn to compromise.

    Not your morals or ideals, but perhaps your vision of Mr. Right might need to be skewed. I would never advise you to change your beliefs or standards, but maybe you have an unreal vision of THE ONE. Learn to let him have his beliefs and you yours, but they do not always have to match and sometimes it’s more fun if they don’t. How much fun will it be to live out your life with someone who is an exact copy of you? Our differences make life interesting.

 

  1. Be like Lizzy and voice your opinions.

    The man who doesn’t want your real opinion, isn’t the type you should pursue. A smart man will want to hear what you have to say and talk with you like a human being. A smart man wants a smart woman with her own views, interests, and hobbies.