Favorite Adaptation

Jane Austen. That name evokes a sense of romanticism and charm. She is "all the rage," as they say, today. I don't remember her being such the rage during my college class devoted to Austen's novels, though I do remember appreciating her writing style and her characters while wishing she had found the time to write a vastly different book to break the monotony. "Write what you know," and Austen certainly understood her time and locale in a way that I believe most modern writers don't have the patience or sense of appreciation (or possibly skill?) to note in print.

While some of the specifics are different, just due to the passage of time and changes in the way we live, I think the general themes transfer well from Austen's time to American society today. I would like to think we're less class-stratified and have less rigid gender-specific roles, but. . . . In some ways, yes; in other ways, a resounding no. People are people, certainly, and Austen has a grasp of motivations and personalities.

So, not surprisingly, my very favorite representation of a book on film is A&E's mini-series based on Pride & Prejudice. Besides loving Colin Firth (along with most women in Britain), who is the epitome of Mr. Darcy and at least partly personally responsible for the popularity of the "I Mr. Darcy" t-shirts, I love Jennifer Ehle as a strong, intelligent Elizabeth Bennet. I think they bring the characters to life. Even without Firth's presence, I would want to watch Ehle as Elizabeth. I want to *be* Elizabeth the way that Ehle portrays her.

Sigh. I need to buy that DVD set and watch yet again. . . .


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