I love how romantic Austen can be. I’ve swooned over many of her male characters, and will continue to do so for years to come. I enjoy watching her men stand up for love and the women they love, especially when they’re not following the rules of propriety. Last time I read P&P I was tearing up towards the end, but it was definitely in a good way. Plus, let’s not forgot about all the handsome actors that play these men in the films.
I have to say, however, that Austen’s work does a lot more for me than this. Her characters and her writing make me laugh. One of my favorite quotes from the Bennet parents is...
"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion of my poor nerves." "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.”
Pride and Prejudice, p. 45
On the one hand, I laugh at her characters when they commit social faux pas, yet still have pity for them as I read the story because they are oblivious to this. There are even some characters that I love to hate. I love reading Austen’s commentaries on human characteristics. Here’s one observation which I find to be particularly thought provoking...
"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."
Pride and Prejudice, p.58
I also must admit that I love Jane Austen because of all of the great adaptations which have been made from her work. Besides the film adaptations and Bridget Jones’s Diary, I’m interested in reading many of the books which she has inspired, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland.
I love how happy her films make me when I watch them, and I’m impressed by the fact that even though she wrote about over a hundred years ago, people are still making adaptations of her work. She connects issues of class and money with imperfect characters. Even though we may believe our own standards are drastically different from those of regency England, movies like Bridget Jones’s Diary, where the clearly wealthy Darcy scorns Bridget for drinking and smoking make us question the stereotypes that influence our perceptions of others. I think that’s a sign that an author has made an impact.
So what is my purpose in writing this post? To pay an homage to a wonderful author and her books? Certainly. To blather a bit and explore what her work does for me? A bit. To try to explain why you should read her if you haven’t already? Definitely. With that being said, I want to help you explore your love of Jane Austen, so I’m having a contest! One lucky winner will receive a Penguin hardcover of Pride and Prejudice and his or her own copy of Bridget Jones's Diary on DVD. To enter, just leave a comment on this post with your e-mil address. Because I'm a relatively new blogger and would like help spreading the word, I'll be offering an opportunity for extra entries. The contest will end at midnight on June 18th. Good luck!
EDIT: This giveaway is open to international readers! However, please keep in mind that the DVD which I'll be giving away is Region 1, so before you enter make sure that you have a Region 1 DVD player.
+1 for tweeting about this contest/linking it in your sidebar--be sure to leave a link when you comment.