This interview is with Alyssa over at Days to Remember. Alyssa too I have come to know largely through the blogging world, and through Sense and Sensibility and Facebook (the wonders of internet!).
1. What was your first encounter with Jane Austen? What made you decide to read her work?
I remember hearing about her a little here and there when I was younger, but it wasn’t until we moved to where we live now, 7 years ago, that I stared hearing about her a lot more. Friends here would often mention watching films made from her books and/or reading her books. But for some reason I/we were skeptical… Finally a friend borrowed us the film Sense and Sensibility (1995) and told us to just give it a try! When we finally watched it we loved it!! I think Colonel Brandon’s character was our favorite. After watching the film I read the book, and then started reading more of her books, which led to watching the other movies based off her books. J I also like to listen to her books on CD while sewing.
2. Do you have a favorite of her novels? And if so why that one?
I would say Emma. I love the conversations between Emma and Mr. Knightly, and also Miss Bates’ ramblings (which are great fun to read aloud by the way!). Emma learns she is not as smart as she thinks she is… and Mr. Knightly is a good example of a true friend who loved Emma enough to tell her the truth and warn her about her behavior. I’ve always loved that about him.
3. Out of her characters, is there a particular one/ones that you like more than the rest? And which character would you say you resemble most yourself?
I really like Ann in Persuasion, because she is so sweet and selfless. Mr. Knightly and Colonel Brandon are my favorite gentlemen. Then there is Mary Musgrove and Mrs. Bennett who are always imagining themselves ill-used and/or infirm – I like them for their funny ways!
I am probably most like Elizabeth Bennett and Marianne Dashwood…rather an odd combination I know!
4. Do you ever watch any of the screen adaptations? Do you have a favorite of them?
Oh yes, we’ve watched several! 4 different versions of Pride and Prejudice, 3 of Persuasion, 3 of Emma, 2 of Sense and Sensibility, and one each of Mansfield Park and Northanger Abby, both of which are the newest versions. (We did not care for Northanger Abby at all and I don’t like the new version of Pride and Prejudice either.)
As for a favorite… I think I would have to say that I like the two newer versions of both Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility the best. Emma is a close second – I actually like the book the best, but the films are good too. The most recent one follows the book very well, except that the “badly done Emma” part and the proposal scene were rather a disappointment. I so wish they had followed the book a little better when writing those parts!
5. What do you think it is about Jane Austen’s books that makes them so immortal? Why have they stood the test of time so well and are now more popular than ever?
I think it is because her stories are about right wining out over wrong in a domestic tale with a little romance, plenty of conversations, interesting (and sometimes odd!) characters, wit, and a happy ending. Delightful!
Probably all the movie adaptations have made people more aware of her writings. And then they love the books for the great literary works they are and for the reasons I said above. J
6. Has “discovering” Jane Austen lead to anything else in your life?
Well, I joined the Sense and Sensibility message board and took Mrs. Chancey’s Regency Gown class which I enjoyed very much! Later on I took her costuming class, where we analyzed the costumes in different Jane Austen movie adaptations. I was able to meet Mrs. Chancey at a wedding last winter, which was a treat! I’ve enjoyed getting to “know” a few girls through the forum too. J
7. If you had the chance to meet with Jane Austen and talk to her, what would you discuss or ask about?
I would ask her to write more books. Please.J
And I would ask her which movie version of her books she likes the most, and what she thinks about all the sequels and spin-offs to her books that other people are coming up with.
I also sometimes wonder how she went about writing her books. Did she make a basic outline, or just plunge in and start right in on chapter 1? How did she come up with the stories….. things like that.
8. Do you have a favorite Jane Austen quote? Or just one that you really like?
“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chooses, and that is, his duty; not by maneuvering and finessing, but by vigor and resolution.” ~ Mr. Knightly
“The older a person grows, Harriet, the more important it is that their manners should not be bad – the more glaring and disgusting any loudness, or coarseness, or awkwardness becomes. What is passable in youth is detestable in later age.” ~ Emma Woodhouse
“What dreadful Hot weather we have! – It keeps one in a continual state of Inelegance.” ~Jane Austen
9. And lastly, what other authors and books do you like?
Besides Jane Austen and her books here are a few other books and authors I like:
Mother (Kathleen Norris),
Aunt Jane’s Hero (Elizabeth Prentiss),
Little Dorrit (Dickens),
North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell),
The Lamplighter (Maria F. Cummins),
The Lost Clue (O.F.Walton),
To Have and to Hold (Mary Johnson – edited by Josh and Sarah Wean),
Glory Duty and the Gold Dome (Nathaniel Darnell),
Self Raised and Ishmael (EDEN Southworth)
So Much More (Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin),
Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung),
Do Hard Things (Alex and Brett Harris),
God’s Smuggler (Brother Andrew),
L’Abri (Edith Schaeffer),
The Tapestry (Edith Schaeffer),
Beside the authors mentioned above I like: G.A. Henty, Ralph Connor, Charles Spurgeon, Eleanor H. Porter, and Isabella Alden.
Thank you so much!