Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Classics, Jane Austen, Bath, Persuasion and Colin Firth

I love the classics and particularly Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Brontes.  Those who know me well, know I also love period dramas.  Andrew Davies adaptations and BBCTV productions - Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and the more recent Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs.  I have the DVD's of Sense and Sensibility and both the TV and film versions of Pride and Prejudice ( preferring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the leading roles), after all who smoulders like Colin!  I am also the proud owner of a set of Jane Austen's books in hardback published by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd without a date, inherited from my Mother.  I have read P&P, S&S, Northanger Abbey and now Persuasion, the latter two novels being partially set in Bath.  Needless to say, I love Bath, it is my favourite city in England in terms of architecture,  Of course I have visited the Jane Austen museum and although very nice with talks included (I should think so!!), it is quite a small exhibition for the price.  If you are a JA fan then you will pay for the privilege.
Jane Austen was one of several children, having six brothers and one sister.  Jane was unlucky in love but in all her books (those I have read or viewed) her heroines always find love in the end.  Jane gives the reader hope despite all the obstacles that are thrown in the way of a smooth passage to the would-be beloveds being together.  In S&S we see Elinor in love with a man betrothed to another and Marianne falls for a total cad. In P&P there are similarities when Jane falls for a man whose family and friends attempt to keep him away from a "bad" match, Elizabeth eventually falls in love with someone she despises and the youngest sister Lydia throws herself at the cad who is only after fortune.  In Persuasion you see this theme when Mr William Elliot is proved to be only resuming an interest in his family when he hears of the wonderful Anne and tries to secure her marriage to gain his fortune.  Anne of course is still in love with Captain Wentworth, the man she was persuaded against in her youth.  These courses of love, described by Miss Austen rarely take place in real life and certainly not as much today.  These books survive because of the hope they offer, the lifestyle and escapism.
There will always be a place for the classics on my shelf and I will re-read Jane Austen forever.  I will continually make my annual visits to Bath and watch Colin Firth in P&P, just to see him dripping out of the lake and for his smouldering looks!

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