Personally I just love hearing different people’s views and opinions of Jane Austen. What Jane Austen has meant to them and about various Jane Austen related things they might have done. That is why I just love doing these interviews that I have posted on here. And now my friends, it is time for another one!
This time I have interviewed Anna who not only is a fellow Jane Austen fan, but also a fellow Scandinavian (she is from Finland) and a fellow Austen blogger. You should make sure to check out her lovely blog Austenised!
I have to admit that I saw the film first and only then read the novel! *blushes* I was 15 years old, I think, when I first saw the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and I was smitten. I loved the characters, the story, the music, the costumes and the whole period feel of the series. With my friends, I used to debate who was better: Mr Bingley or Mr Darcy! I have always enjoyed watching period films, but this time I just had to read the novel, too.
Initially, being a non-native speaker of English, I struggled with the lengthy sentences of Austen’s narrative. The archaic expressions of her dialogue were alien to me, and I had to use a dictionary to follow each scene of Pride and Prejudice. Despite that, I loved the novel, and went on to read Sense and Sensibility and the rest of it… and later, having read the books over and over again, I was finally able to understand and appreciate most of her writing!
2. Do you have a favorite of her novels? And if so why that one?
Whichever I’m reading at the moment! But as I was drawn to Pride and Prejudice from the beginning for its light comedy and irony, it will always have a special place in my heart. I also love the themes of Sense and Sensibility, but these days I tend to be gravitate more towards Persuasion, as it has more depth to it, being a more serious novel. Perhaps it is also to do with the fact that, like Anne, I am now a little older and view things from a more mature perspective.
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 admire Elizabeth for her wit and determination and Elinor for her self-control and sensible nature. My husband says I’m much more like Marianne, though, as like her, I tend to get emotional and passionate. I would like to think that I am a combination of all of Austen’s female characters. After all, her characters are caricatures, and I’m sure that, in her characters, we can all recognise features which resemble people that we know.
4. Do you ever watch any of the screen adaptations? Do you have a favorite of them?
Of course! I look forward to seeing each new adaptation as and when they appear. I tend to prefer the ones that I saw first, as they are the most memorable for me. I loved the 1995 and 1996 versions of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Persuasion. I haven’t enjoyed the newer BBC adaptations as much, but out of those I thought that Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility were the best.
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?
Although the manners, morals and lifestyle have changed vastly in the last 200 years, it is the characters that make her books immortal. In those, we can all recognise characteristics from our daily lives, and apply her guidance to our dealings with people.
Perhaps there is also an element of escapism in our love for Jane Austen, as it is fascinating to enter a different world with old world customs and charms. After all, who could resist a man in breeches and in a cravat, offering to give us a ride in his carriage?
6. Has “discovering” Jane Austen lead to anything else in your life?
Having read several of her biographies, it was exciting for me to visit the places where Jane Austen had lived. Following my trip to Austen country last summer, I had so much material that I decided to start a blog, Austenised. I have enjoyed writing about my experiences and have continued writing about Jane Austen’s life and literature. I find it fascinating to research her life and times, and the blog is a wonderful excuse to do this. It would be an ultimate dream to write a book about Jane Austen, but that is still years of research ahead!
7. If you had the chance to meet with Jane Austen and talk to her, what would you discuss or ask about?
I would certainly ask her where she got all those ideas for her characters and stories. I would also love to know what she dreamed about. Had she lived up to old age, would she have liked to be famous and meet other authors? Or would she have loved to get married and have children?
8. Do you have a favorite Jane Austen quote? Or just one that you really like?
There are plenty, but this is quite a good one:
”Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”
9. And lastly, what other authors and books do you like?
I love other classic authors, too, such as Thomas Hardy, Anne Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell. But the most talented writer apart from Jane Austen has to be Oscar Wilde. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is beautifully written and, like Austen’s books, full of great quotes.
Of the contemporary authors I love Alexander McCall Smith. His series, such as “44 Scotland Street”, could be modern versions of Jane Austen. Like Austen, he crafts wonderful, amusing characters and writes about daily life in an interesting way. And what’s best, he is extremely productive, churning out new books twice or three times a year!
Thank you so very much! Tack så mycket!