Me Reader, You Jane
The other day we were invited to lunch with some old American friends near Alton, Hampshire. Jane Austen country. A terrible journey( one hour became three) had to be washed way with a serious gin before I could sit down. But japes were had. As she once wrote “Every moment has its pleasures and hope” None more so, I add ,after a double!
But it made me think about the blessed Jane. It is said that no Londoner is ever more than ten yards from a rat. And so it is , no Englishman who does joined up writing is ever more than ten days away from a Jane Austen experience.
Ten days go I saw e most delightful Love and Friendship movie (see link) an adult, and extremely funny take on a little known Austen novella Lady Susan. And now I am travelling down the hangar lanes the maid herself once trotted smiled and plotted.
At school for A level I read Mansfield Park. Fanny Price ,what a prune. I was just beginning to beginning to touch breasts and fumble for knicker elastic ,so goody goody two shoes Fanny Price was the last girl I ever wanted to meet. However the line about her mother marrying beneath her,”she married to disoblige her family” stuck. My son ,bless, married to oblige his family.
When the children were growing up the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice ruled OK. We had the video and watched it a million times. Mr Bennett. The dance, The wit. That swim. Ahoy there.
Of course this was the ten plate for all rom-comes ever after. He and she are established early on. There are misunderstandings, a show of depth and character from the man, she forgive and dimples, love triumphs, the end.
But in the last twenty years Austen mania has taken off, films of all her books, films of her nearly love affair, biographies galore, take offs, rip offs they pore off the presses. A major international brand has been established. And I discover that Ulsterman Hugh Thomson(who once lived in Putney) is one of the great illustrators of Jane Austen.
In my loo lies small book “Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen”. Here are a few.
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” Pride and Prejudice
Husbands and Wives generally understand when opposition will be vain” Persuasion
For what do we live, but make sport for our neighbours and laugh at them in our turn? “ Pride and Prejudice.