A blog about writing . . . and a lot of other things

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jane, Jane

I'm an Anglophile.  I've read lots of British literature and have been working on the quality of my faux-British accent for decades (it's way better than Madonna's).  I love fish and chips and British ale and tea and digestives and the absolutely adorable way that British people are so inappropriately polite.  Most of all I love British humor and British accents.

When I'm sick or recovering from surgery as I have been recently, I tend to get all the BBC versions of Jane Austen's novels on DVD and watch them.  Jacob came out of his office the other day and asked me if I had been watching an Austen movie.  

"Yes.  How did you know?" I asked.

"You're speaking with a British accent."

Oh.  Right.

My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre.  I've loved it ever since I read it when I was a kid, and it amazes me how completely different it is every time I read it.  My long-suffering husband even read it aloud with me a few months ago, and we had a fabulous time with the vocabulary.  I'm positive that Charlotte Bronte made some of those words up.  

The latest film adaptation, although a very simplified version, is really lovely.  Michael Fassbender is far too attractive to be playing the role of Mr. Rochester, but I didn't mind at all.

I should probably stop watching that movie.

I also love Jane Austen novels and read them over and over again.   Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, but I love the silliness of Northanger Abbey, too.   Although not all the film adaptations are very good - the camera work in the 2007 BBC version of Persuasion kind of gave me the creeps - I'm always up for watching one.  

My love of British culture is not limited to Victorian novels, either.  I recently started watching the new show Sherlock on Netflix and can recommend it without reservation.

I have been to England.  I was there for six weeks back in the mid-90s.  The experience taught me several important things:
  • There is not enough ice
  • British food, by and large, is pretty awful
  • Line-dried jeans are crunchy and not okay with me
  • You have to be utterly mad to drive in England
That doesn't mean I'm not desperate to go back for another visit.  For one thing, I've heard the food has improved considerably.  For another, I need to make it up to Scotland this time.  Those accents are even better!


  1. I also love all these Ja(y)nes! I've watched the newest movies for Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma countless times, and have been meaning to go through the movie adaptations of her other books...but also kind of want to read the books first, so we'll see which one wins out.

    I've also been looking forward to watching the new Jane Eyre movie; Eric and I watched a really old black-and-white one that I got from the library a while back, but it wasn't very good, and left nearly half the book out. I have high hopes for this new one. Have you seen the movie adaptation of Wuthering Heights? I recently found out about it, and it's also on my Summer reading/movie-watching list. :)

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it!

    1. The new Jane Eyre movie leaves a lot out. I was particularly disappointed that there was no gypsy scene. After repeated viewings, however, I think the movie stands very nicely as a work of art on its own and Mia Wasikowska captures the character of Jane - the conflict between her quiet demeanor and her rabid independence.

      I also really like Michael Fassbender.

      Have you seen the five-hour BBC Pride & Prejudice from 1995? It takes some commitment, but is quite good. I own it, so let me know if you want to borrow it.

      I have not seen any Wuthering Heights movie. I read it back in college (bought a copy at a used book shop while I was in England), but have never been a fan. I tried to read it again recently and just couldn't do it. The characters are all so utterly distasteful.