Sunday, 28 June 2009

Everything Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl in possession of a book obsession, must be in want of a reading challenge. I have so many books to be read presently that I contemplated long and hard over committing myself to anything more than those and Ulysses. However, the Everything Austen challenge at Stephanie's Written Word isn't a testing of ability or endurance or an achievement of something insurmountable, but an enjoyable opportunity to read or watch six Austen-related things; how could I possible resist to take up that thrown down gauntlet? Between July 1st 2009 and January 1st 2010 I will engage in reading or viewing six Austen-related things; Austen-related things being completely open to interpretation and including Austen's own texts as well as those novels/biographies/reinterpretations/TV or film adaptations inspired by her work. Sounds tremendously easy, doesn't it? Not to mention a joy.

As yet in this blog I have not had the opportunity to share my love for Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice (it really is one of my favourite novels and has been since I was a teenager), which is clich├ęd but true). Reading the Vintage Reads blogs recently had already convinced me to reread some Austen, and to read the one novel of her six finished ones that I haven't yet read, Persuasion, and the Everything Austen challenge provides me with that opportunity; it also gives me an excuse to re-watch the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and the recent 4-part series Lost in Austen, both of which I passionately adore. In actual fact, who needs an excuse? If you haven't seen these then you simply MUST!

I may deviate from this (as is my wont) and possibly add a couple of items, as the challenge progresses, but this is my provisional list:

Reread Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Read Persuasion by Jane Austen
Read Pride and Promiscuity: the Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen ed. Arielle Eckstut

Re-watch Pride and Prejudice (the BBC adaptation, 1995)
Re-watch Lost in Austen (mini-series, 2008)
Watch Becoming Jane (film, 2007) or The Jane Austen Book Club or both.

I know a few of you are already participating in this challenge (and were the ones who brought it to my attention), but is anybody else? Do you have any suggestions for unmissable readings or viewings?

Also, as I am such a kind-hearted soul, I am including one of my favourite (and yes, the most famous) clips from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; it's the awkward exchange between Elizabeth and Darcy that makes this scene so delightful, honestly.


JoAnn said...

I love your opening line!! This is definitely a challenge that you can succeed in. Emma is the one finished novel that I've been 'saving', so maybe the challenge would be a good time to read it. Pride and Promiscuity sounds intriguing - I'll have to look that one up.

Thanks for the clip - makes me want to watch the movie now, but I'll wait until the challenge begins!

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, JoAnn!
Emma is my second favourite Austen novel; you should definitely read it. My English teacher many years ago likened me to Emma Wodehouse but I'm not sure how much of a compliment that was...
I have some Austen juvenilia at home with my parents so I think I may bring that back with me the next time I visit.
The clip made me eager to watch it again too! Thankfully it's only a few days until July begins.

Paperback Reader said...

Oh, also Pride and Promiscuity is something I've had on the shelf for some time; it received mixed reviews but I'm quite interested in reading it.

I also may have to re-watch Bride & Prejudice as it is so lush and rich with colour.

Darlene said...

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict was quite fun! I don't usually go in for anything like those Austen sequels but this was different. Very like Lost in Austen which I also adored.

verity said...

That sounds good - could you factor in a visit to Bath?! Isn't there a Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies? I have to say I don't think it's something I'd want to read. But what about Mysteries of Udulpho, featured so prominently in Northanger Abbey - I've always wanted to read that!

Paperback Reader said...

Darlene, thank you for the recommendation. Lost in Austen was fabulous, wasn't it?

Verity, I possibly could visit Bath! I'm still getting to grips with London though...
There is a Pride & Prejudice & the Zombies books but I think it will be a sacrilege.
The Mysteries of Udolpho is an option; I've read other Gothic fiction of the period including The Monk and other Radcliffe novels, which were great reads. I would like to read it and have a copy back in Glasgow.

FleurFisher said...

Have you read any of Jane Austen's juvenilia I wonder? Hesperus Press have a couple of little volumes in print. They aren't indispesible but they are great fun! Likewise the Northanger horrid books that Valancourt are reissuing ...

Paperback Reader said...

FleurFisher, the only juvenilia I have read is Love and Freindship (sic); the Hesperus Press copies are beautiful. I have a copy of Catherine & Other Writings at home in Glasgow, which I'll have to look out when I'm next at home; including some Austen juvenilia would be fun.
I haven't heard of the Valancourt series and will now go and look them up.