Thursday, April 3, 2008

Enjoying Sense and Sensibility

Sunday evening Masterpiece Theatre aired part 1 of a new version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. I wasn't sure if I'd like it since I so loved the film version starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslett, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. I saw the film at the theater, then bought the CD of the soundtrack and played it while I was writing my Regency romance, Lady Elinor's Escape. (The photo to the right shows the entrance to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England, taken by yours truly in 2003.)

But I'm happy to report the new version hooked me immediately, opening as it did with a rather steamy scene of the dashing but rakish Willoughby seducing a young lady before a roaring fireplace. You can bet that got my attention!

As with all Masterpiece Theatre presentations, the acting is impeccable and the details seem authentic. Watching, I was reminded of the fact that Europe was still in the Little Ice Age 200 years ago. Though the cottage the ladies move to is in a lovely spot, it looked terribly chilly to this pampered Californian.

I was also reminded how powerless women were at the time and how the method of primogeniture disinherited all but the eldest son (or closest male relative). A young lady without a decent-sized dowry stood little chance of making a good match. Fortunately, Jane's young ladies always come about in the end.

I love Jane Austen's works. She was ahead of her time in many ways and she was a master of characterization. My three favorites are Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.

Are you a Jane Austen fan? Which is your favorite book / movie?


Linda

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Linda, sounds like you enjoyed doing the research behind the regency book that you wrote. I find it interesting that Jane Austen, with all her writing talent, didn't publish until fairly late in her life. I like how Austen built meaningful drama from misunderstood feelings and wrote with dry wit. EMMA is my favorite.
-Kathleen Rowland

Linda McLaughlin said...

Kathleen,

You're right, I did enjoy the research, though it was daunting at times. I was very lucky to have the chance to visit England and I fell in love with the country immediately.

It is interesting that Austen didn't publish early in life. I guess it was just as hard to sell a book in those days as it is now, LOL. I loved the EMMA movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam, but I never got around to reading the book. Have to do that one of these days.

Linda

deboradale said...

Masterpiece Theater is a weekly staple in our house. My daughter is now hooked on Jane Austen... though I'm sad to say, she'd prefer to watch the movies than read the books. But then, she's only 12. Our favorite? Jane Eyre. And you're so right, Linda. The look, the sound, the girls' reactions... all made that cottage quite the chilly thing! Can't wait for Sunday. 9pm. :-)
~Debbie

Beth said...

My mom, sister and I were just having a conversation the other night about Jane Austin. I revealed to them and now to you that I have never read her. I know, I'm a freak. I plan on rectifying that ASAP!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbie,

Yes, at 12 your daughter may be a little young for Jane's books, but when she gets into high school... Well, Austen is definitely more pleasant to read than some of the choices on the reading list. Conrad! (shudder)

Linda

Linda McLaughlin said...

Beth,

LOL, you're not a freak, you just have a little hole in your literary education. I think you'd enjoy the books. Austen had a wicked sense of humor and never hesitated to point out the foibles of human nature.

Linda

Kathleen Rowland said...

Debora, I love Jane Eyre also. What a Gothic classic! Charlotte Bronte wrote during the same general era. That gloomy Mr. Rochester kept a secret in his attic. Wow.

Linda McLaughlin said...

I love Jane Eyre, too, though I believe Bronte wrote a bit later than Austen. Still 19th century, though.

Gothic just wasn't Jane Austen's style, though. Northanger Abbey is her satire of the genre.

Linda

deboradale said...

Well, I certainly confused my authors, didn't I? ::blushing:: And I'm a homeschooling mom? And a writer?! Yikes! (still love Jany Eyre, though.)
~Debbie

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbie,

LOL, don't worry about it. We've all confused authors before, and I doubt you'll make the same mistake again.

Linda

Barrie said...

I used to be a huge PBS fan and loved, loved, loved Masterpiece Theatre. I really must go back to watching it. Thanks for this post. And thank you or visiting my blog. :)

Linda McLaughlin said...

Barrie,

I hadn't watched Masterpiece Theatre in a while either, mostly because it's usually opposite Desperate Housewives, but I've enjoyed watching again. Room With A View is up next.

Enjoyed visiting your blog. I really like the "My Town Monday" idea.

Linda / Lyndi