1. Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?
An audio book of Pride and Prejudice. I was young (maybe about twelve) and I didn’t understand it all that well, so it didn’t make much of an impression. But in my teens I read the novels and fell in love before I saw all the movies.
2. What is your favorite Austen book?
Sense and Sensibility. I love the characters, especially the sweet relationship and personality contrast between the sisters Elinor and Marianne. They go through so much together. When the opportunity arose for me to participate in a new series retelling the Jane Austen novels in the 1930s, there was no question which one I’d pick: Sense and Sensibility. My love and appreciation for the original has grown even more.
3. Favorite heroine? Why do you like her best?
Elinor Dashwood. The other Austen heroines are all wonderful, but there are so many reasons why I like Elinor best, I don’t know where to start. She’s a picture of the ideal woman, who’s sweet and kind yet strong, capable, level-headed, and resilient. She puts other people’s needs over her own. I tend to favor quiet, unassuming characters like her. I also see aspects of myself in her—I try not to let my emotions show overmuch, and I’m more of a listener than a talker. She’s a role model for me . . . if I’m somewhat like her already, maybe I can be more like her in other admirable ways.
4. Favorite hero? Why do you like him best?
Edward Ferrars—to go with Elinor, of course! I know he’s not a popular hero, but I think he’s extremely sweet. They’re good for each other. He’s quiet and unassuming as well, but not so sure of himself as Elinor is of herself. Even though he’s not bold, he has the courage and principles to make hard, honorable choices.
5. Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen’s work?
So far, I would have to say either Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility or Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice. I think S&S is a delightful and well-made movie, even if it leaves out much of the book, and I find P&P to be an accurate and completely entertaining version.
6. Have your Austen tastes changed over the years? (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better? Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind? Etc.)
My tastes have changed somewhat. I listened to a couple of audio books first and thought them a little dry, but that changed when I read the books myself and found them lovely and fascinating. She used to be hands down my favorite author, one who could do wrong, but as I’ve gotten older, other authors have joined her at the top (namely Elizabeth Goudge and Elizabeth Gaskell) and I can acknowledge that she’s not perfect. Her books seem lighter than they used to since I’ve matured. But I haven’t ceased to thrill over her whenever she’s being discussed, and reading her books are like coming home in winter to a warm cup of tea.
7. Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)? (Feel free to share photos if you want.)
Um . . . I’m a bit of a collector, so yes, I do. Some of my favorites include a shoulder bag with her profile printed on it and quotes about all her heroes; a book about the Jane Austen House Museum (Chawton Cottage) that I bought when I visited there; greeting cards with Hugh Thomson’s illustrations; a piano book; and playing cards with quotes and pictures.
8. If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?
Only one? Well, I suppose she’d be busy answering a whole line of us if she were open to querying at all! I love the questions that other bloggers in the tag have asked, but I’ll choose: “Can you give me some tips on analyzing human nature and using that knowledge in fiction?”
9. Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads. What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?
I want to see a version of Mansfield Park that I can unequivocally like. The 1983 version, with Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra Le Touzel, comes the closest, but I have issues with some of the characters. As for who I would cast . . . I must apologize, but I have no idea! I don’t know my actors and actresses that well.
10. Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!
“My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.” - Anne Elliot, Persuasion
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” - Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey
“Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility
“My being charming is not quite enough to induce me to marry. I must find other people charming – one other person at least.” Emma Woodhouse, Emma
“We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” - Fanny Price, Mansfield Park
|Jane Austen Watercolor, public domain|