books

Adaptations, Retellings, and Book Paraphernalia for Jane Austen’s 200th Anniversary

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Mischiefmari, “Jane Austen Teapot Cookie,” 12 October 2007, via Wikimedia.

You may have noticed that Jane Austen’s name has cropped up frequently this past week, and that is for a very good reason; July 18, 2017 is the 200th anniversary of her death. To commemorate the rather morbid occasion, the internet has come out in full force with articles all about Austen.

My cyber home away from home, Book Riot, is hosting its own Jane Austen Day. Though I didn’t write anything for it – I was too busy thinking about Becoming Jane – several of my fellow contributing authors put together great posts that I want to share. As someone who considers Austen’s books to be comfort reads, I could hardly do otherwise.

“Don’t Dismiss Jane Austen As a Writer of Silly Things” by Adiba Jaigirdar

Some people associate Austen with tea, dainty ladies, and frippery, but Adiba Jaigirdar’s article argues that her writing was insightful, witty, and satirical.

“Blame Jane Austen for My Fanfiction Addiction” by Jessica Pryde

Stories are grand not simply because of the narratives they tell but also because of the ways they can spark the imagination. For Jessica Pryde, Austen’s plots opened the window to other worlds. They also led her to fanfiction.

“Book Fetish: Jane Austen Edition” by Rachel Manwill

Sometimes all you really need in life is a little book swag. If you feel the urge to have an Austen related candle, necklace, or whiskey glass in your life, Rachel Manwill’s list has you covered. (Personally, I’m a fan of the “Keep Calm and Oh My Poor Nerves” t-shirt, but alas, it is no longer available.)

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LittleLiterary, “Jane Austen Keep Calm and Oh My Poor Nerves,” via Etsy.

“5 Contemporary YA Jane Austen Retellings” by Amy Diegelman

Would you like to read Austen in space? Or perhaps you’d prefer one of the Austen books set in a summer theater program. Amy Diegelman has tracked down 5 modern young adult retellings of Jane Austen books. I’m all for it.

“Get Lost in Austen: 13 Adaptations for Jane Austen Fans” by Amanda Kay Oaks

If you are more of a visual creature, these 13 TV and film adaptations related to Jane Austen may be right up your alley. (Warning: a few of them may make you weep.)

And if you haven’t read much of Austen but want a place to start, my personal top five books by her are, in a very particular order:

1. Persuasion
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Mansfield Park
4. Northanger Abbey
5. Sense and Sensibility

I suspect that wars have been started over smaller things than this listing, but sometimes half the fun of books is arguing over which ones are the best.

With that, happy reading!

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12 thoughts on “Adaptations, Retellings, and Book Paraphernalia for Jane Austen’s 200th Anniversary

  1. Wow, my numero uno, ‘Emma’, doesn’t make your top 5.

    One thing that elevates for me is the brilliant use of close perspective third person misreading, We can see how blinkered Emma is being, but if she read the same text (before the usual Austenite epiphany) she’d see nothing wrong with the picture.

    Apart from that (and allowing that all comparisons are odorous) I put the rest in the same order and always have a special affection for ‘Love and Freindship’ as a piece of Monty Python, 150 years ahead of its time…

    ‘ Isabel had seen the World. She had passed 2 Years at one of the first Boarding-schools in London; had spent a fortnight in Bath and had supped one night in Southampton.
    “Beware my Laura (she would often say) Beware of the insipid Vanities and idle Dissipations of the Metropolis of England; Beware of the unmeaning Luxuries of Bath and of the stinking fish of Southampton.”
    “Alas! (exclaimed I) how am I to avoid those evils I shall never be exposed to? What probability is there of my ever tasting the Dissipations of London, the Luxuries of Bath, or the stinking Fish of Southampton? I who am doomed to waste my Days of Youth and Beauty in an humble Cottage in the Vale of Uske.” ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always felt a bit guilty for the fact that Emma doesn’t speak to me! I can appreciate that it does what it sets out to do extraordinarily well, but I’ve just never connected with it.

      I do love your impassioned defense of the book. If only everyone felt so intensely about the things they read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post, especially for Austen fans like me who are eager to read everything connected with their beloved author…

    I mostly agree with your list: the 1995 adaption of “Sense and Sensibility” looked way more interesting to me than the book itself. And “Northanger Abbey” does not enter my top 3 either – the novel just does not echo my feelings.

    Have you read “Lady Susan”? It is an early novel by Austen and is much less known than her six major novels, but it’s still adorable! You might have seen “Love & Friendship”, the film adaption of “Lady Susan”, if not, I highly recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’ve never gotten around to reading Lady Susan, but I really should! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. And Kate Beckinsale looks like she captures the role of Susan perfectly in Love & Friendship. Thanks for reminding me to dive in to these.

      Like

  3. Have you ever heard of Litographs? I got a scarf with text from the Great Gatsby for Christmas. They have scarves, tote bags, and t-shirts from a million different classic books. I saw a Pride and Prejudice one I really liked!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great collection! I hate thinking that anyone sees Austen’s books as silly, but alas, I’m sure they do. “Pride and Prejudice” was the first literary novel I actually LIKED and wanted more of. I’ve read all kinds of literature thanks to my college coursework, but there was something about Austen that made me want to read more Austen. Which didn’t really happen with many of the other literary authors I read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting into classic lit can be such a struggle. When I was younger, I made myself read a fair number of lauded books without necessarily enjoying them, but I agree that Austen’s novel were a pleasure.

      …Which is probably why they’ve hung around for so long.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Since you gave a thought on Jane Austen and her remarkable books I have a quick question here. Why she is referred as the exponent of Domestic Novels?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m certainly no Austen scholar! But from what I understand, she was one of the early popular novelists in the English speaking world who wrote about heroines who needed to master their passions, which was a major theme in domestic novels. Another marker of domestic novels is that the protagonist has to balance the pressures of society with her own desires, and these books often ended in the heroine’s marriage. Austen’s books fit into these general outlines. Her works essentially bridge the gap between sentimental novels and domestic ones. (As far as I understand it at least! I studied history rather than literature at university, so my knowledge of the evolution of genres isn’t fully formed.)

      Like

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