I’m Curious Now …

Something happened in my little part of the Austen Fandom yesterday and now I’m curious. If you can spare a moment or two, could you answer this poll?

9 thoughts on “I’m Curious Now …

  1. Robin Helm

    Very interesting, Susan. I’m amazed at the people who watch the movies and think they are Austen experts without reading the books.

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  2. Susan Kaye Post author

    Most of the adaptations are good. Some are excellent. For example, the 1995 version of Persuasion (Hinds/Root) I think is excellent, but even it changes some things to (usually) simplify the plot. One of the biggest plot shifts is that Mr Elliot has not lost his fortune. But, explaining his shenanigans is too complicated in the time allowed. Now, if you only see the 2007 version (Hawkins/Penry-Jones), IMO you will have absolutely no clue what Persuasion is about AND you will have absolutely not real insight into Frederick or Anne.

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  3. Susan Kaye Post author

    The 1971 version does, but it’s the old BBC, stage play looking version that is word-for-word from the novel and bogs down in a lot of places. But Mrs. Smith’s relationship to Elliot is so far afield from the Anne/Frederick storyline that it is best dumped in most cases.

    And ALL of them leave out my favorite scene in which Frederick rescues Anne from the troublesome Little Walter Musgrove.

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  4. Anji

    At least everyone who’s voted has read some if not all of the novels. Like Robin, I’ve met folk who think that the adaptations are the real thing. No, the “wet shirt” scene ISN’T in the book and “You have bewitched me body and soul” is indeed a very romantic line but Jane Austen DIDN’T write it. How many of us have had such encounters?

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      I think we have all met with people who are excited about Austen until they find out that she didn’t stipulate in her will that Colin Firth is the consummate Darcy. Or that Matthew Macfadyen is the ONLY man who portrays the real Fitzwilliam. And then there are those who love the stories but will not wade through the language to read all her wonderful prose.

      None of the Persuasion adaptations use this line: “Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for he had nothing to do, and she had hardly any body to love: … ” If that is not one of the most beautiful, bittersweet lines in literature, I don’t know what is.

      No, we miss a lot when we don’t read the novels.

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  5. Sophia Rose

    I have gotten so used to people not interested in the actual novels that I was pleasantly surprised for my Jane Austen’s birthday post back in December when one of the commenters saw the post of a lovely Austenesque author and said she wanted to read this book, but felt that to get the full appreciation she needed to read the original P&P first. I wanted to hug her for that sentiment.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      I think some of the problem comes when educators use movies as a teaching tool for literature. This tricks the student into thinking that the translation from page to film is exact. It’s not by a long shot as any of us who have had a favorite novel adapted know. The more people involved in the creative process–producers, screenwriters, directors, actors–the further from the original creative force you go. The only way to get the pure content is to read the words. And, as a writer I can say, it’s possible with time that even that purity ferments and morphs to something else.

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      1. Robin Helm

        Actually, when I taught high school literature, my students read their choice of P & P, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion. Then we watched the films and discussed the differences.

        Many of them became lifelong Austen fans. My daughter wrote a paper for her college lit college trashing the 2005 P & P. She knew what she was talking about, too.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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