Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday,Dear Jane

This past Sunday was the 232nd birthday of one of my favorite authors,Jane Austen. Having a December birthday can be tricky,especially since most folks resort to giving "Christmas/birthday" combo presents to the birthday person,but I do think that Jane enjoyed this time of year regardless of that.

Many Austen appreciation societies hold Jane Austen birthday celebrations around this date(I attended one of JASNA's a few years ago,and it was lovely)while others simply watch their favorite JA film adaptation or reread one of her books.

"So,what did you do,Lady T?" Fair question. First off,I was fortunate enough to get a great early Christmas present of a Jane Austen Door Hanger from a good friend of mine(who received her very own Dumbledore's Hat in return)and inspired by that,I've been rereading Emma,an old Everyman's Library edition given to me by that same friend a few Christmas eves ago.

Funny,since Emma Woodhouse is low on my list of Favorite Austen Heroines(vying for the top would be Anne Elliot and Elinor Dashwood. Yes,I adore Lizzy Bennet but I do believe in giving the other young ladies time to exhibit)but do admit to feeling more charitable to her after several readings of the book.

This lead me to naturally watch the Kate Beckinsale made for TV version of Emma,which I do prefer to the Gwyneth Paltrow one released in theaters. The Andrew Davies script is the strongest of the two and I also think that Mark Strong is a much more substantive Mr. Knightley than Jeremy Northam any day of the week.

I decided to follow that up with an "Austen inspired" film and while the obvious choice for Emma would have been Clueless,I went with You've Got Mail instead. Granted that You've Got Mail is a remake of an officially non-Austen movie,The Shop Around the Corner,the spirit of Pride & Prejudice is invoked several times during the film and it has many of the essential elements of a good JA story.

The NYC setting has the feel of a small interconnected village,there's plenty of sparkling dialogue,a goodly number of misunderstandings and a feisty heroine who combats the arrogant male lead with wit and sharp zingers:

Speaking of zingers,I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that Jane Austen would have also liked Gilmore Girls. Jane was a fan of theatericals(despite that certain subplot in Mansfield Park,which was really more about the moral tone of the chosen play and certain character's reasons for picking it,than the actual acting itself)and the antics of Stars Hollow certainly suits her notion of " Three or four families in a country village" as" the very thing to work on,"

So,to cap this off,here are some GG clips that Jane would've particularly liked,in my very humble opinion. Happy birthday,Miss Austen,and I wish you had been given many more to enjoy:





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