Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jane Austen is my hero

Or, I guess what I mean is, Jane Austen is my heroine -- but that doesn't have quite the same "punch" as saying she's my hero.  She truly is, though.  I've read, re-read, and read some more each of her novels, seen every movie adaptation of them, and never tire of any of it.  Jane Austen makes me very happy.
My valentine to myself this month was this book; I bought it used for a very low price from a seller on Amazon.  The book is difficult to find in America, and pricey when you do find it, so I was thrilled to get it.  As per the title, 'My Dear Cassandra' Jane Austen, the book is a selection of letters that Jane wrote to her sister throughout her life.  Through the letters, you get a glimpse of Jane's genius as well as a behind the scenes look at how and when she wrote her masterpieces.
The book is simply full of the kinds of prints and illustrations from Jane's era that I just love and can't get enough of.  It also gives quite a bit of Jane's personal history: after the text of each letter, the author and Jane Austen scholar elaborates a little on the situations Jane has written about -- at least those that are known through interviews with Jane's family members.
Jane Austen enjoyed some fame and recognition late in her life, after publishing novels that were successful.  She didn't, however, live to see how important her work really was and continues to be.  My favorite quote from the book/one of Jane's letters: You will be glad to hear that every copy of S. and S. is sold, and that it has brought me 140 pounds besides the copyright, if that shd. ever be of any value...
The S. and S. she speaks of is her novel, Sense and Sensibility.
I own several Austen biographies, and most of them use her letters to her sister as their basis.  But none does it as well or as pleasantly as this book does.  I highly recommend it!
Coincidentally, as I was sitting down to write this blog post, I turned on the TV and saw that the movie Becoming Jane was on; I caught the last 20 minutes -- enough to have me sobbing.  If you haven't seen that movie, what are you waiting for?  It stars Ann Hathaway as Jane, and is a fictionalized account of a love affair.  No one knows for sure if Jane Austen truly did love and lose Thomas LeFroy, but it is certain that she knew him, and at a time when she would have been contemplating marriage.  Even though it might not be completely accurate, the story is so well done that you just have to love it.  I know I do.
Another little splurge: fabric from the Ardently Austen collection by Riley Blake; this is a lovely teal blue fabric printed with quotes from Jane's novels.
How much fun do you think I will have with this?
I was so enamored by my favorite author that I had to get out, and wear, my favorite piece of handmade Jane Austen tribute jewelry: this shawl pin with dangles.
The images are from a series of British postage stamps from the 1970s, featuring scenes from Austen's novels.  It was made by PTierney Designs.  After I bought this pin, I ordered some of the original stamps for a future project.  In the meantime, a newer set of Austen postage stamps was released by the Royal Post to honor the 200th year anniversary of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice -- they are on my wish list, too!
You can find a lot of Jane Austen jewelry on Etsy; I wish I could remember where I got this pendant with a quote from Pride and Prejudice on the reverse.  I love it because it's true to the novel;
so much of the Darcy-themed jewelry and t-shirts and such that you see on Etsy or otherwise have quotes from the most recent version of the movie, which are not Jane's words.  I'm an Austen purist.
I haven't been to England yet -- but when I do go, and I hope it's soon, I will want to visit places Jane lived, visited and wrote about.  I will be in literary fan girl heaven.  Do you have an author you love and admire as much as I do Austen?


Carola Bartz said...

I am fan of Jane Austen as well. My favorite movie ever made of one of her novels is the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice - it's spot on. Thank you for letting us know about the movie "Becoming Jane" - I put it on my list and we will watch it very soon.

Linda said...

Awww, yes, Sense & Sensibility. Loved it then and love it now. I guess some my favourites are the Bronte sisters!

Lorraine said...

Those are certainly wonderful Jane Austen treasures. Her era is so romantic. Almost makes me feel I would have liked to live then, almost.

Vintage Jane said...

You would love the Jane Austen museum in the city of Bath here in the UK! M x

Uouo Uo said...
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Kathy said...

Bravo to you for treating yourself to such a lovely book!!
I can't wait to see what you do with the fabric. I KNOW it will be something special.

WW said...

Have you seen the movie Austenland? It's about this woman (Keri Russell) who is obsessed with Colin Firth and his portrayal in Pride and Prejudice, so she spends her life savings to go to Austenland, a Jane Austen themed resort in England, and how it isn't exactly as she expected. It's pretty funny.

Patty Antle said...

Gosh, I wish I was a reader. I think I would love all of this!