Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jane Austen Herself Would Appreciate Them

I've been a fan of the Dashwoods since I saw Emma Thompson's version of Sense and Sensibility. I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, but finally worked my way through S&S about 10 years ago. Marianne is one of those teens you want to take by the shoulders and shake. Elinor is so patient and careful with her mother and sister; at 18 she has more of those qualities than I did at 30! Margaret is the kind of daughter I want to raise. Wait--I am! And Mrs. Dashwood is just a hoot!

Recently, this book was published. I was skeptical, because I'm not a big fan of remakes. But then I found Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. What a great idea! These books will either entertain an Austen fan, which this one is doing for me, or draw in someone who might not have read the originals. I admit, you have to have read S&S to get all the humor in this passage:

The repellent Colonel Brandon's partiality for Marianne, which had so early been discovered by his friends, now became perceptible to Elinor. She was obliged to believe that the sentiments which Mrs. Jennings had assigned him for her own amusement were now real; and that however a general resemblance of disposition between the parties might forward the affection of Mr. Willoughby, an equally striking opposition of character was no hindrance to the regard of Colonel Brandon. She saw it with concern; for what was a silent man of five and thirty, bearing an awful affliction upon is face, when opposed to a very lively man of five and twenty, dripping with charisma and the sea-water dripping from his physique--accentuating diving costume?

or this one:

The Dashwoods were, of course, very anxious to see a person on whom so much of their comfort on Pestilent Isle must depend, and the elegance of Sir John's concubine was favourable to their wishes. Lady Middleton was not more than six or seven and twenty; her face was handsome and her imposing figure was draped in long, flowing robes of distinctive tropical hues. Her manners had all the elegance which her husband's wanted. But they would have been improved by some share of his frankness and warmth. She was reserved and cold, as if having been stolen from her native village in a burlap sack and made to be servant and helpmate to an Englishman many years her senior, for some reason sat poorly with her. She had nothing to say for herself beyond the commonplace inquiry or remark..

But this one is just plain slapstick:

He stopped. Mrs. Dashwood was too much astonished to speak, and another pause succeeded. This was broken by Willoughby. "It is folly to linger in this manner. I will not torment myself any longer by remaining among friends whose society it is impossible for me now to enjoy."
He then took his leave of them, his flipper feet fwap fwap fwapping as he hastened from the room.

This book is just too much fun to read to consider not buying P&P&Z when I'm done!

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