This is Part 1 of my answers to the questions from Miss Elizabeth Bennet's Jane Austen Week
I'll be posting Part 2 and Part 3 later with week.
1. What is your favorite thing about Jane Austen? Why?
Oh my! There are so many things I love about Jane Austen! where do I begin?
I love the intricacy and elegance of her plot lines, told with such simplicity and humor. She wrote truthfully, from what she knew, she didn't romanticize things and make the plots fanciful. Her characters are completely real and interesting. They could certainly have been real people and I always enjoy studying them, delving into what their lives were really like. In her writings and characters she knew what she believed and her heroes and heroines value truth, sense, good manners, kindness and intelligence. These are just some of my favorite things about Jane Austen!
11. What was your introduction to Jane Austen?
This is the last question listed but I decided to answer it here because it just seems to fit better.
My introduction to Jane Austen was through my parents who watched Sense & Sensibility (1995) in theaters and then brought a DVD copy home. After that I was always allowed to watch Jane Austen films with them, and while my parents enjoyed them, I became so entranced with the stories, costumes, grand country houses and the old-fashioned charm of every scene! If you're interested I did a post in December about the Memories & Ramblings Of This Janeite.
2. What are your top three favorite Jane Austen Novels and why?
While I've enjoyed all of Jane Austen's novels with equal relish, you might say that I'm more attracted to the underdog. Jane Austen's lesser known works make my top favorites!
Northanger Abbey - Although my introduction to Jane Austen was through watching films like Pride and Prejudice (1995) and Sense and Sensibility (1995), the first book I read for myself was Northanger Abbey (NA). For my fifteenth birthday my parents gave me an audio book of NA which I listened to so many times I had several parts memorized! I really enjoy Jane Austen's satirical humor and how the tale is quite different from the Gothic romances of her day. I enjoy all the characters even the "villain" John Thorpe is so humorous and fun to read about! I adore Catherine Morland, she's such a sweetheart and quite like me in a lot of ways. The hero Henry Tilney is my absolute favorite, he's all that I'm looking for in a hero: devoted to his faith, kind to his sister, sensible, handsome and with a great sense of humor! His sister Eleanor Tilney is one of my all-time favorite characters in literature and I love her almost better than Catherine! (For more on Eleanor Tilney read my post about her here.)
I also love that NA isn't as popular as the other novels; I feel sometimes like it's my own little gem and I alone am intimately acquainted with it's contents! :)
Persuasion - This has been my second favorite novel since I first read the novel in high school and watched the 1995 adaptation. This story with it's mature characters and tale of constant love is probably the best Jane Austen ever wrote (at least that's what my father keeps telling me!). It's very possible that Persuasion could be her most accomplished work when we remember that it was her last completed novel, it has an overtone of maturity and knowledge that came through her years of experience as a writer.The heartbeat of the story is Anne Elliot, a heroine with great sweetness, kindness, abundance of sense and a noble character. Captain Wentworth's bravery, kindness, sense and devoted nature is a perfect match for her. Minor characters like the Musgroves, Harvilles and Crofts are the kindest and nicest folks you're ever want to meet. I really love the characters in this novel and reading about them time and time again!
Mansfield Park - I've always wanted to like Mansfield Park (MP) more than I actually did but it wasn't really until I started reading it for myself that I've completely fallen in love with the characters and the story! From the beginning there is such a deep thoughtfulness to the way it is written and that really reflects Fanny and Edmund who are at the core of the story. Far from being weak and painfully shy as I often thought, Fanny Price is such a pure, gentle, kind, intelligent creature! The story is mostly told from her point of view, she is often such a great judge of what is going on around her and never really gets lost in the selfish muddling actions of her peers. While Edmund does get a bit caught up in the play and thinking he's in love with Mary Crawford, it does take him a long time before he gets to that point. And you if you love Fanny you have to love Edmund because he is credited with teaching her and molding her mind. I haven't quite finished it but MP has definitely become a close contender with my other favorites!
Honorable mentions: Sense and Sensibility did have that third favorite spot for a long time because Elinor is one of my favorite heroines, John Willoughby is my favorite Austen villain and Mrs. Jennings is one of my favorite comedic characters (she has such a generous heart!). Also on my favorites list is Jane Austen's Lady Susan, a novella in letter form. It's so different from all of her other stories because the title character is more of a villain-ess than a heroine. But the cast of characters in that story are also amazingly clever!
Coming Soon: Click here to read Part 2 and Part 3.
Coming Soon: Click here to read Part 2 and Part 3.
Very Truly Your's,