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What is your favorite work of Jane Austen and why?
Mine is definitely Northanger Abbey. It's so different from her other works, and yet definitely her own. It has more of a youthful air, like a girl with rosy apple cheeks climbing a tree as opposed to her later works, which I would personify more as stately ladies.
There's an earlier Jane Austen forum called "Two Inches of Ivory" that's fallen out of use.
You may think it trite, but I still love Pride and Prejudice, the first Jane Austen novel I ever read. Mom introduced me.
The first time I read it, it seemed a pleasant love story with a little humor. Then I read it again years later and saw how biting Jane could be. (I mean Jane Austen, not the sweet Jane Bennett.)
Also love the movie starring Greer Garson. Again, it was Mom--the first movie she purchased after my parents got a VCR. Although it doesn't follow the book precisely, it gets much of Elizabeth's spirit, and the more ridiculous Lady Catherine de Burgh, with her flouncing feathered hat, is a hoot. Perfect light entertainment.
I think my favourite is Pride and Prejudice too, although it's a close run thing with Mansfield Park. I enjoy the slightly darker, perhaps more disturbing, elements of Mansfield Park, which for me reveal Jane Austen as more of a social commentator than her other works. The interplay between Mansfield and Portsmouth as a metaphor for England and the colonies just gives it the edge for me.
I admire Northanger Abbey for Austen's wit and talent but somehow I never enjoy reading it quite as much.
I agree with Karen5l about the Greer Garson film - very enjoyable even if grossly misinterpreted through the filter of the pre-war American south. But my favourite adaption is the BBC one from the early to mid 1980s with Elizabeth Garvey as Elizabeth Bennett.
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Northanger Abbey was the first Austen book I read and from there on I was in love. I couldn't put it down. It was assigned as reading for a Gothic Literature class at Uni and I ended up reading it through my other classes - there was no way I was putting that book down!
My favorite is first and always the premiere of romance novels, Pride and Prejudice. It is purported to be the "perfect novel" by most educators as it is perfectly structured in plotting, characterization, emotional build-up and closure without loose ends. This break-out novel (in the very real sense of that word) contains romance, mystery, comedy, irony and absurdity. And, let's face it, there is no more ridiculous or obsequious character than that of Mr. Collins in all of literature.
My second favorite is Persuasion because it reflects the end of Jane Austen's life when her outlook had decidedly matured. Anne Elliot is a much more thoughtful character, who thinks before she acts.
I've always felt that quietly elegant Anne Elliot was as much of a representation of the real Jane in her mature years, as the feisty and slightly prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet was perhaps reflective of Jane in her early years.
My favourite is still Pride and Prejudice and I also adore Colin Firth as Mr D. in the tv apatation. Not so keen on the new film though.
Northanger Abbey is brilliant for its parodies of gothic fiction (when I read it I was writing a dissertation on ann radcliffe's novels, which are still amongst my favouite reads)
I'm on of those rare Fanny Price fans that you may have heard about! Mansfield Park is my all-time favourite Jane Austen. I admire Fanny a lot, standing firm when I, perhaps, would have been tempted by Mr. Crawford's money. But she is flawed, I often read & wonder what she can still see in Edmund when he is acting quite the dunce!
Persuasion is a very close second. Anne is a great woman & so deserves the love of her good man.
btw...is anyone here a member of the JASNA? I see their annual meeting will be in Vancouver, BC; we'll be moving near-ish the area this summer so I'm hoping to attend.
Yes, I am a member of JASNA and have attended many AGMs. It is a wonderful organization and I've been lucky to go on one of the JASNA-sponsored tours of England back in 2001.
I live in Oregon and getting to Vancouver BC is rather an easy drive for me. Unfortunately, this year the AGM coincides with a mixed media artist retreat that I attend every year in Portland, OR, so I'm going to have to miss the AGM.
The AGMs are really terrific; I hope that you enjoy yourself. You indicated you are moving near-ish -- what city?
Thank you for your reply!
My husband is military; we are due to be stationed at Ft. Lewis this summer. I can't wait! We are from CA & thus far, the Army has only moved us to the Midwest & I'm getting a little tired of it! :)
Well, I've only read two books by Austen. Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Of the two I've read, I liked Emma the best. Even though Emma has some haughty arrogance issues, for instance, her looking down on others for not having her social standing and her blunders in 'helping' Harriet find a suitable match, I really like the character Emma. When she realizes the mistakes she's made in assuming she knows it all, she is contrite and guilty for her misconceptions (for instance, regarding Jane Fairfax).
I just got Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, and have yet to read them, so maybe my favorite book of Austen's will change.
I was first introduced to Austen at a Best Buy, of all places, when I randomly selected the BBC Special Edition DVD of P&P, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Even now, I still like to lock myself in my room and go on one of my "Victorian Vinges". I know, I know: wrong time period, but it's more catchy.
Months later, when I had to pack all my things to move to Korea for a year, I missed it so much, that I picked up my copy of P&P in a teeny bookstore at the airport.
My second favorite is Persuasion. There's a moment in the book when you loose all hope for a happy ending, It just seems like every character is looking the wrong way, but thing work out.
Plus, isn't it every girl's secret dream to meet "the one that got away" again, and rock his world? You know.... that one guy of whom you think of randomly, no matter how happy you are, or how much time has gone by. You wonder where he is, how his life turned out, what he's doing, and of course, what could have been....
Pride and Prejudice, if I could marry a fictional character it would be Elizabeth Bennet.
The first book I read by Jane Austen was Pride and Prejudice, and I just finished Sense and Sensibility yesterday. I think I like "Pride and Prejudice" best of these two. In some ways, the two books reminded me of each other. However, there were times in "Sense and Sensibility" when I was eagerly waiting for the story to pick up, more frequently that I ever had with reading the other. (I've read Pride and Prejudice perhaps three times.) There are other reasons besides this for my liking "Pride and Prejudice" better, but I haven't the time now to go into that. I'd like to end here by saying the next of Austen's books that I'm going to read is Mansfield Park.
I love Pride and Prejudice because every time I read it I pick up on something new, hence; Pride and Prejudice is by far my favorite book. I have read Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Emma, and I am in the process of reading Persuasion (with Northanger Abbey anxiously waiting on my shelf). I would have to agree with Kerian when he/she said that they were always waiting for Sense and Sensibility to pick up, it also bothered me that not all the loose ends in the book were tied up. In Mansfield Park, I sympathized for Fanny but found it very difficult to see where she was coming from as I am not a shy person, if I were her I would have given Edward a good yelling and given Henry Crawford a better chance. As for Emma, I felt so bad for poor Harriet that I held a grudge against Emma
Right now I'm reading Emma and absolutely loving it. One of my favourite movies of all time is Sense and Sensibility (screenplay by Emma Thompson and starring herself and Kate Winslet). I've seen it about 10 or 11 times. I think seeing the movie first spoiled the book a bit for me, as it would I suppose, but it is a lovely, lovely story.
I'd have to say Persuasion is my favorite, although I too am a Fanny Price, although I haven't read Mansfield Park as many times as I've read Persuasion. But if I had to choose, Persuasion would be it. The scene at the end where Captain Wentworth leaves Anne the letter gives me goosebumps every time.
I'm still very new to Jane Austen - you could say I'm a very recent convert! I read Emma last year but didn't think much of it (I wanted to slap the heroine and was bored silly with all the nothingness happening). Then I listenend to an audio book of Northanger Abbey a short while ago and absolutely loved it (it's my favourite so far). I continued and read Pride and Prejudice this month and loved that too.
I also have Sense and Sensibility waiting to be read and I definitely plan on at least picking up Mansfield Park and Persuasion.
Emma was my first Austen too, and my reaction was exactly like yours, Kell_Smurthwaite. In retrospect, I think maybe I just needed to warm up to Austen's style . . . I've loved everything else that I've read, and I love many of the Austen movies (though not all of them). Maybe one day I'll reread Emma to see if it doesn't grate on my nerves as much. But there are so many books that I haven't read yet, so I'll have to see.
I read Mansfield Park at university, and had a fabulous teacher who was really into it. So my Mansfield Park experience was very positive. There is so much going on in that book.
Hi MollyGibson - As you can see from my handle, I am a Fanny Fan too! I love all Jane Austen's works for different reasons, but I am simply fascinated by Mansfield Park. It is such a different and problematic work and Fanny is such an interesting character. Right now I am trying to snap up as much Mansfield lit-criticism as I can find in order to enrich my perspective on the novel.
fannyprice, did you like the movie adaptation directed by Patricia Rozema? I thought it was pretty good considering it was only 2 hours. I love how Fanny's apparent meekness was effectively shown as a consciousness of her own moral superiority, while at the same time showing Fanny's vulnerability and temptation to Henry. I think Fanny really came to life in this movie, and I have a deeper appreciation of her.
I thought fanny was much more interesting in the movie than in the book. I read the book many year ago and didn't really remember her, so after I saw the movie I read it again. In the book I thought she was so boring, she never did anything but wait and hope life would happen to her. She never once stood up for herself. I would be very interested in hearing a different opinion.
I have very mixed feelings about Rozema's film. As an adaptation of Mansfield Park, I thought it departed from the spirit of the novel to an excessive extent. Fanny was almost unrecognizable - the changes to her character and her motivations made her decisions carry a different weight than they did in the novel. I also thought it was weird that the filmmakers conflated aspects of Jane Austen's biography with Fanny. I understand that this was all done in the service of making her a less unattractive character, but I also think that much of Austen's novel rests on the tension between Fanny being the unattractive heroine and the Crawfords being the incredibly charismatic villains. The film eliminates this dynamic and I think it totally changes the meaning of the novel.
Having said all that, I actually enjoyed it as a film in itself, as difficult as it was to stop comparing it to the source material. I thought it was interesting how the filmmaker emphasized the role of the slave trade in all aspects of the family's life - their economic position, their moral malaise, Tom Bertram's dissolution, Sir Thomas' attitudes towards women, etc., (Even though much of this was not really in the novel and many of the scenes were a bit over the top...) And I LOVE Frances O'Connor!
I enjoyed the firm for the same reasons you mention above. I loved Victoria Hamilton. She played Maria Bertram. She also played a young Queen Victoria in A&E's Victoria and Albert and was in the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice.
I agree that Fanny of the movie was totally different from Fanny of the book. I don't see how you could make an interesting movie with Fanny of the book as the focal point. She never did anything.
Funny how few people rate Emma as their favorite. I'd have it say at first it was kind of laborious to read, though once I really got into it I no longer felt that way. I have a three way tie for favorite: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensiblity and Persuasion. Of the films, my favorite is the Sense and Sensibility of Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet fame.
I've read all of Austen and can't help myself: P&P is my favourite, although some say it is not Austen's best.
I'm amazed how few people have listed Sense and Sensibility as their favorite. For me it's a toss-up between that and Pride and Prejudice. The plotting is so tight and the characters so good in each, I really can't decide between them. S&S was my first Austen novel though, so it will always be special to me because of that.
For me it's a toss-up between Persuasion and Emma... although they're as different as two Austen novels (and two Austen heroines) can be.
I'll never forget Joanna Russ, in her book How to Suppress Women's Writing, describing Emma as something very close to a mystery novel. Each time I read it, it reveals more layers.
And then, Persuasion is so incredibly poignant and passionate...
Mmmm...I think I'm all about Persuasion, because I really like the melancholic, autumnal feel that slowly gives way to this almost girlish, breathless passion (well, passion for Austen anyway). There's far more palpitating and panting in Persuasion than the others. Obviously the others all have happy endings too but I find that they tend to be shadowed - I mean, Emma is still stuck in this backwater village of doom dancing attendance on her horrible father, Elizabeth and Darcy may be beautifully suited but then there's Mr Collins and Charlotte lurking in the background, I've always though Henry Tilney was kind of superior (although very amusing) and, in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne has had her spirit totally crushed.
And I really struggle with Mansfield Park generally - I think perhaps it's quite a difficult book to accept from the 21st centuries because it's so very rooted in its time and place and Fanny's virtues - though admirable - are so very much not mine. And secretly I fancied Henry Crawford...
Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favorite, I have no idea how many times I've read it, studied it, torn it apart, picked it to pieces, and loved it thoroughly. Had a huge crush on Mr. Darcy and adored the BBC miniseries with Colin Firth. It will always have a special place in my heart. :) Didn't care for Mansfield Park and my 2nd favorite is Sense and Sensibility.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite as well although I do need to go back and re-read all the others. It's been too long and my memory, faulty.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen work. It was the first love story that I ever read and I was glued from page one to the end. Its still my favorite book of all times.
Persuasion is a close second especially after I saw the recent movie. Rupert Penry Jones is now my image of Capt. Wentworth. I love this book so much as it gives second chances. Anne is a great character and so is Capt. Wentworth.
I'm with wisewoman in loving Sense and Sensibility. Same toss up: P&P or S&S
Hello! This is my first time posting in this group!
I love Pride and Prejudice. This was the first novel of Austen's I read, way back in high school, and I absolutely adored the language and the characters. I think I was the only one in the class who did! It certainly has helped to see the Colin Firth version of P&P!
I have also read Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Both of these were enjoyable novels, though it has been years since I read them. For me, Austen has a magical touch with her writing, and she gets me in her spell every time I pick up one of her novels. When I get a chance, I am going to read all of her novels. Who knows, maybe I'll find a new favorite!
"I'll never forget Joanna Russ, in her book How to Suppress Women's Writing, describing Emma as something very close to a mystery novel. Each time I read it, it reveals more layers."
If she wrote that in 1983, then she was one of the first to recognize that Emma is a literary Chinese Box or Rosetta Stone.
You have to read all of Austen's novels, to fully appreciate each of them, and you have to reread them all multiple times to allow the sublminal effects to sink into your brain.
My favorite has to be Sense and Sensibility. Just the way everything works out in the end, even if the beginning isn't what I wanted.... hehehe.
And I love the movie. Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon? -faints- love him.
I have read her other books, my second favorite being Emma, third Pride and Prejudice.
Thanks so much for mentioning that Alan Rickman was in the movie -
I never watched the 1995 version and had a treat to watch it today:)
I'm trying to read thru the Jane Austin novels, however, I keep stumbling around with the language. Am I the only one - or does it just take time and persistence?
I'm trying to read thru the Jane Austin novels, however, I keep stumbling around with the language. Am I the only one - or does it just take time and persistence?
I found that with Austen at first too, but things got much easier after I read Mansfield Park for a class. The secret for me is to read her much slower than I normally read. She packs a lot into each sentence--it's not just the words, but what she's saying behind the words. That's where you'll find the beauty of Austen. If you speed read her, you'll miss most of it. I also found it easier after I watched Thompson's Sense & Sensibility, and the BBC Pride & Prejudice because it taught me how the language was supposed to sound. Hope that helps! Good luck.
Nickelini's advice is all excellent---and realize this, the more you read Jane Austen's writing, the more you will understand and appreciate, and the better reader you will become. Her writing is in a way difficult, because it is demanding. But it pays back all your effort tenfold.
Thank you both for your time - I will try again - slower.
There are soooo many books out there and in my library I want to read that I am turning into a speed reader, I think because I am always in a rush at work, at home, you name it. But I do want to read all of the Jane Austin novels. I love Pride and Prejudice and watched Persuasion and Emma. I was not too happy with the last 2, however, I understand they need to be read to receive the whole benefit.
I wonder - "to fully appreciate each of them, and you have to reread them all multiple times to allow the sublminal effects to sink into your brain." - can/will I get to this point? I'll let you know.
Diasukie, you are obviously very intelligent and a real lover of literature, that is the most important thing. In my opinion, your learning to read Jane Austen will deepen your appreciation for other great writers. It was reading Jane Austen more closely which led me to read Shakespeare more closely, and also Agatha Christie (yes, she is a great writer too in a different way) more closely.
Jane Austen's writing is connected to all the great literature in English which preceded her, and also all great literature in English which came after hers. She is a fulcrum, a node, like Shakespeare.
Mine's a tie between Pride and Prejudice and the hated Emma :) P&P is just the perfect story. I want to be Elizabeth and, through sheer character, attain a man as perfect as Mr. Darcy. And be rich. Forever. Seriously. It's the perfect love story. But at the same time, I love Emma because I can relate more to it. I feel that, of all Austen's heroines, she grows the most. She's the most human. She has very obvious flaws that get her in trouble. She has to admit that, although she had good intentions, she was manipulating and using her friends. She was, in short, not being a good friend or a good person. I've had this moment myself and it's a hard pill to swallow when you realize you're not the perfect person you thought you were. Maybe that's why I love her so much. We really have been through similar situations.
UpTurnedKnows - Thank you for the vote of confidence - I'm slowly trying to work my way into it as I finish off two books for the early reviewers club. Hi RebeccaAnn - Going through my books - perhaps I should read Emma next, I've watched the movie (not read the book at all), and never noticed situations in our lives similar to hers so I'll watch for that.
diasukie, definitely read Emma next--it is by far her most complex and perfect novel. Forget all about the movie, just read the book itself.
Persuasion is my favorite book ever. It's poignant, it's funny, it's just beautiful.
Pride and Prejudice the themes and everything about the book are exquisite!
I just browsed in this item, and see that few people have mentioned Northanger Abbey as one of their favorites.
That would have been my opinion as recently as a year and a half ago, but ever since then, my respect for the subtle genius behind Northanger Abbey has grown enormously, and I now have no hesitation in placing it on a par with the other five novels.
It is the one that pretends to be the least substantial, and the most frivolous, but it is actually every bit as serious, and loaded with significant meaning, as the others.
Of course, Emma is in a league of its own, which, in the company of the other 5 masterpieces is saying a lot--but then, I mean to say a lot, because I think it is a strong candidate for the greatest novel ever written by anyone anywhere.
Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite, right next to Sense and Sensibility :}.
Love P&P and S&S. Emma was good, but she was a bit snotty for me. I know that was the point, but didn't win me over. I still enjoyed it though. Persuasion was good. Enjoyed that too. Haven't read Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park-they are on my list.
That's quite a challenge, pick my favourite Jane Austen work... I think I would go for Emma and Pride & Prejudice, with the criterion of the amount of times I've gone back to the books. P&P is a book I can pick up at any time, read a couple of pages and feel much better (I tend to do that with North & South too). I haven't recently read Northanger Abbey but now that I finished Mysteries of Udolpho I'm definitely going back to it and see what this adds!
But one that really draws me too - although you can't only put that on Jane Austen's account - is Sanditon (the one finished by 'another lady'). I found it in the library last year, and I love it, the whole enigma of trying to figure Sidney Parker out. I for one always have trouble to find the part when Jane Austen left off and the other lady began, so to me it feels like a Jane Austen book. Curious to hear opinions on that book!
Good for you, AG! I came to her post-college myself, and she's become a favorite author. You've got some more good reading ahead of you. Persuasion is my #2 after P & P.
I've been reading an Austen a year, and I left Pride and Prejudice for last. I did this partly because I thought I'd save the one that is considered her masterpiece for the end, but also because I was very familiar with the story because of the many, many different film versions I've seen. Despite being completely familiar with it, I have to say that I've been completely blown away. Although I still really, really love Mansfield Park, I like P&P even more. It definitely make my list of best books of all time.
I agree with you completely, Nickelini! You just can't beat Pride and Prejudice. It's near perfection in my opinion! But I also love Mansfield Park. Talking about them makes me want to read them again! (I've read all of Jane Austen's books several times and I'm sure I'll read them all again in the future. I find something new in them each time.)
Pride and Prejudice, I've read it at least 10 times and I still find something new every time. I love Darcy and his inability to stop loving the woman he wants to despise. What a great love story.
Once I spent a Saturday watching the '95 P&P miniseries and then rereading the book. It was a wonderful day :D
Wisewoman-what a great day!! I watched Sense and Sensibility the other night while I was cleaning up in the kitchen and then relaxed to watch the end. It was wonderful!
I'm having an Emma week, watching the 2009 series on my iPod on the way to work, and re-reading the novel on an evening. It's lovely to escape to Highbury!
How fun! My husband and I are watching the 2009 Emma this week in the evenings too. It's better than I was expecting, but Romola Garai really does overplay the part. And the mysterious "link" between the three (Churchill, Jane Fairfax, and Emma) is kind of lame.
I love the series, I think it's wonderful! The 1996 film with Gwyneth Paltrow first inspired me to read the novel (I'm a latecomer to Austen), but there is really no comparison after reading Austen's story. The film becomes more of a Cliff Notes version! The series for me has far more 'Austen content', including much of the wonderful argument between Emma and Knightley over Harriet Smith, and Romola Garai embodies Emma's spirit and strength of character. And I cannot say enough about Jonny Lee Miller's Mr Knightley - spot on!
I hope you enjoy your evening viewings! :)
My absolute favourite Austen work is Persuasion. In my mind, Anne embodies the essence of a woman of integrity and soul.
Mine is Persuasion. There is something so wonderful about falling in love and staying there no matter what happens and how much time had passed. It was wonderful to see the two of them first ignore, then watch each other, then finally communicate their love. Aaaah!
Persuasion is definitely my favorite, though I'm not sure I have a particular reason why. It was the first I ever read, so I'm sure part of it is sentiment for the book that introduced me to the magic of Jane Austen. But I love the story and the characters as well.
Pride and Prejudice is my second favorite, but I haven't yet found one I disliked.
Started out liking Sense and Sensibility based on the latest film version but once I read Pride and Prejudice I was sold. Now that I've read them all, I must say that P&P i love and Persuasion is the best. More dark, more mature and it contains a lot of that detractors have said Austen's novels lack.
Pride and Prejudice, Emma then Northanger Abbey. In order of the couples that I like and the most spark that I think they have. P&P has the best wit and story but Emma has the most development and hidden clues.
Hi, everybody, it's my first message to this group, and even in the whole website.
My favorite book is persuasion. Maybe because Anna is older than the other heroines. She already have lived. We feel how sad she is, we share her pain as no one in her relatives do, there is a real bond.
Yes, Anna is the perfect character.
I love Sense and sensibility too, for Eleanor, and Colonel Brandon. (and the story too^^)
I like the story of Emma, but I dislike so much the characters (except Mr Knigtley) that I don't read it so much.
Northanger Abbey does not seem realistic, don't you think ?
Fanny Price is a sweet girl, but I don't understand her attachment to her cousin. She love him just because he was the only one nice to her. He "shapped" her as he wanted. It's like a stockholm's syndrome (Yes, I'm exaggerating, I know). Plus, it's her cousin! I find it a little gross.
As (almost) everybody, P&P is great, so much good characters !
I did not read her other work yet, it's hard to find in french, and it's too difficult in english.
(By the way, sorry for my english)
In case you're interested, my review of A Truth Universally Acknowledged: Why We Read Jane Austen is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/171619#4615115 The book collects essays from 33 well-known writers (e.g. Virginia Woolf, Maugham, C.S. Lewis) about the title question. Their favored JA works differ widely.
Really enjoyed A truth Universally Acknowledged: Why We read Jane Austen. Didn't always agree with the opinions expressed in the essays, but found them thought provoking.
>85 sweetiegherkin: Thanks, sweetiegherkin. Glad to hear it - I look forward to hearing your reaction to it.
>86 Rayaowen: Yes, I had the same experience, Rayaowen. I didn't agree with some like Kingsley Amis's, with his idea of JA displaying her own "moral corruption" in Mansfield Park but as you say, even then they were thought-provoking, including his.
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