Announcing Giveaway Winner of Susannah Fullerton’s Celebrating ‘Pride and Prejudice’

and the Winner is…

book cover - celebrating P&P- fullerton

Oloore, who commented on January 23 with:

Actually my first experience with P&P ever was watching last 5 minutes of episode 4 in mini series of 1995 when I was 13 or 14. Those 5 minutes intrigued me so much, that I watched all the remaining episodes and then went in search for the original. I remember reading it the same year during my summer vacation. I loved everything about the book, its plot and style, its heros and heroines, and since that time P&P has become the best love story for me: witty, humorous, illustrative of different human characters, satisfying and with wonderful happy end. After P&P I read other works by Jane Austen, and some of them I liked, some of them I liked very much, but P&P was and still remains the best for me.

Congratulations Oloore! – Please send me your contact information [full name, address, phone, email] as soon as you can and I will get the book off to you right away.  So glad you went from the 1995 movie to the book and discovered even more of its treasures!

Again, many thanks to all who commented with their stories of first encountering Pride and Prejudice – an interesting study in itself, and illustrative of the power of this book that so many remember the joys of that first reading! I included all the comments on this post on the Pride and Prejudice anniversary posted on January 28th: you can read all the “first impressions of P&P” from members of JASNA-Vermont here.

And hearty thanks to Susannah Fullerton for joining us, and for writing the book! and to Voyageur Press for generously supplying the giveaway copy!

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Our “First Impressions” of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Letter 79.  January 29, 1813, Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, from Chawton

I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London; – on Wednesday I received one Copy, sent down by Falknor, with three lines from Henry to say that he had given another to Charles & sent a 3d by the Coach to Godmersham; just the two Sets which I was least eager for the disposal of.  I wrote to him immediately to beg for my own two other Sets, unless he would take the trouble of forwarding them at once to Steventon & Portsmouth – not having any idea of his leaving Town before today; – by your account however he was gone before my Letter was written.  The only evil is the delay, nothing more can be done till his return.  Tell James & Mary so, with my Love. – For your sake I am as well pleased that it shd be so, as it might be unpleasant to you to be in the Neighborhood at the first burst of the business. – The Advertisement is in our paper to day [the Morning Chronicle of January 28, 1813]. – 18s – He shall ask £1-1- for my two next, & £1-8 – for my stupidest of all. I shall write to Frank, that he may not feel himself neglected.  Miss Benn dined with us on the very day of the Books coming, & in the eveng we set fairly at it & read half the 1st vol. to her – prefacing that having intelligence from Henry that such a work wd soon appear we had desired him to send it whenever it came out – & I beleive it passed with her unsuspected. – She was amused, poor soul! that she cd not help you know, with two such people to lead the way [JA and her mother]; but she really does seem to admire Elizabeth.  I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know. – There are a few Typical errors – & a “said he” or a “said she” would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear – but “I do not write for such dull Elves” “As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.”  [from Scott’s Marmion] – The 2d vol. is shorter than I cd wish – but the difference is not so much in reality as in look, there being a a larger proportion of Narrative in that part.  I have lopt & cropt so successfully however that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S. & S. altogether. – Now I will try to write of something else; – it shall be a complete change of subject – Ordination. [p. 201-2]

PrideAndPrejudiceTitlePageOn this day that celebrates the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago, I asked members of our JASNA-Vermont region to share a few words on what their “first impressions” were on reading Austen’s “light, bright and sparkling … own darling Child.” I will be posting throughout this year a number of thoughts on Pride and Prejudice, but today it seems more important to see what this book has done for so many of us across years and generations, how some of us moved from a force-fed dislike to just plain awe, how some of us recall that first reading as feeling the earth shift, how multiple readings have enlarged our life in immeasurable ways.

I love Jane Austen, and even I am nearly exhausted with all the hoopla about this 200th bicentenary! – numerous new books on Austen and a number specific to this work; journals and newspapers from all corners of the earth have published articles; blogs, twitter and facebook abound in it; there are special websites, conferences, festivals – I must assume that the non-Austen folk out there are quite sick of it! But the one thing I am most enjoying is the slow re-read of Pride and Prejudice in the quiet of my study – no movies, no scholarly interpretations, no internet babblings – I just want to go back to Jane Austen and closely look at every word, every sly comment, every character brought to life on the page, every laugh-out-loud moment – and try to remember the first time I read her, a teenager lost in the corner of a library discovering the beauties of the English language from such a pen as Miss Austen’s….

Here now are a number of  wonderful Pride and Prejudice memories from our JASNA-Vermont members – I have so enjoyed reading these, so hope you do too – and then please share yours with us in the comment section below…

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Believing Elizabeth: My First Reading of Pride and Prejudice 

I was in the middle of Spring final exams, my third year at the City College of New York when I read Pride &  Prejudice  for the first time. I turned to it for relief because my exams were felt endless and relentless and I was desperate to read something, anything which wasn’t school work. I had fallen in love with Jane Eyre at age 16 and I was aware of the name Jane Austen. The phrase ‘pride and prejudice,’ was like ‘war and book cover janeeyrepeace,’ an esteemed part of the language.

Around the corner from where I lived there was a warm, dark paneled public library called The Ottendorfer; it was either an old mansion or had been built to look and feel like an old mansion. So there I went, found Pride & Prejudice and was hooked from the first line.

In this first reading I saw the world completely as Elizabeth was seeing it. This meant that when Wickham told the story that outraged Elizabeth I heard it as she heard it, with outrage. Farther on in the novel I was as shocked as she was when I learned that Wickham was a liar and a scoundrel.  My exams were finally over, a year later I graduated and life happened. When I next picked up Pride & Prejudice – many years later – I understood with some sadness that I could never again read it with that unconscious merging naivete.

-Michele C.

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I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until I was 40, more than a decade after finishing everything Georgette Heyer had written. I had been enchanted with the words and manners of Heyer’s characters, often thinking that I might have been quite content to live in their society. And with Heyer I could always count on laughing out loud. In desperation when there were no Heyers left, I even tried writing my own, but got only half way through the second chapter.

book cover - grand sophyCollecting books has always seemed the most natural thing for me and I bought a three-volume set of Austen along with a similar set of Bronte, thinking I couldn’t go wrong with something routinely labeled a classic. Trying a Bronte first, all six were immediately relegated to a distant corner of my brain if not a distant corner of my library.

I don’t remember what prompted me, years later, to finally reach for Pride and Prejudice, but I knew on page one that it was perfect. Heyer had been only an appetizer; this was Christmas dinner. As they say, life begins at 40!

Now, more than 20 years further along, I’ve discovered happily that I’ve forgotten enough of Georgette Heyer’s books to reread them with pleasure. But the real magic is that I don’t have to wait until I forget a plot to reread Jane Austen. I can start right over again and slip comfortably into a world I know well and always find a new delight. And I’m still laughing out loud.

-Susanne B.

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I believe I first read P&P in 1996. I had watched P&P 95 on video, as well as the movies for S&S and Emma. Alas, I can’t remember which came first. I love sweet Jane Bennet, especially when played by Rosamund Pike in 2005.  I wish I could be a 10th as good as sweet Jane Bennet.

Cheers!

Kirk C.

pike - bennet - tumblr

*****

Pride and Prejudice has provided ongoing lessons in my life.  I am seeking yet another lesson from this story.  I met someone recently, and my first impression of this person was very unsettling. I found myself quick to judge and assumed things about the person, due to behavior I observed. I am seeking ways to better understand this person, who may be an extended part of my life for a long time. Being open to possibilities of accepting his person will take time and understanding. The following exchanges from the book give me hope that my first impressions may not remain as they are, at present.

I look to Elizabeth Bennet, whose initial thoughts of Mr. Darcy, changed dramatically in the plot of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth is touring Pemberly with housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, along with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. Mrs. Reynolds says of Mr. Darcy, “I have never had a cross word from him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four years old.” Elizabeth’s own thoughts of Mr. Darcy begin to shift:

eliz reynolds 1995p&p

“This was praise, of all others most extraordinary, most opposite to her ideas. That he was not a good tempered man, had been her firmest opinion. Her keenest attention was awakened: she longed to hear more, and was grateful to her uncle for saying, “There are few people of whom so much can be said. You are lucky in having such a master.”

“Yes, sir, I know I am. If I was to go through the world, I could not meet with a better. But I have always observed, that they who are good-natured when children, are good-natured when they grow up: and he was always the sweetest-tempered, most generous-hearted, boy in the world.”

“Elizabeth almost stared at her. “Can this be Mr. Darcy!” thought she.

“His father was an excellent man,” said Mrs. Gardiner.

“Yes, ma’am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him- just as affable to the poor.”

“Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was impatient for more.”

A few pages later in the book, Mr. Darcy returned home a day early, and encountered Elizabeth, her aunt, and uncle, on the grounds at Pemberley. Darcy held his composure and spoke kindly with the party. Elizabeth was overwhelmed after the initial meeting.

“She blushed again and again over the perverseness of the meeting. And his behavior, so strikingly altered-what could it mean? That he should even speak to her was amazing!-but to speak with such civility, to enquire after her family? Never in her life had she seen his manners so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness as on this unexpected meeting. What contrast did it offer to his last address in Rosings Park, when he put his letter into her hand! She knew not what to think, nor how to account for it.”

I’m hoping for greater understanding in this new relationship.

-Barb F.

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carolinebingleyI first read P&P at a time when I could be said to have been “on the marriage mart”—I had just graduated from college and was deciding where to go from there. My mother was no Mrs. Bennet, but still the push to marry young (coming not so much from her as from the social standards of the time) was strong.

As I saw it, the two main approaches outlined in the book were 1) Elizabeth Bennet’s, in which a woman holds to her own views and doesn’t dismiss her feelings or trim her remarks and actions to fit the goal of catching (tricking actually) and marrying the most eligible man of her acquaintance whether she likes him or not, and would much rather be a despised spinster than to settle for a marriage void of love and respect; and 2) Caroline Bingley’s, in which a woman tracks, traps, and bags her prize using whatever means necessary, with no thought given to the probability that she’s also trapping herself in a lifetime of mutual loathing between herself and the man whose proposal she’s so desperate to win. Integrity versus flattery and deceit.

Two extremes, sure, but the contrast is a helpful reminder when navigating among the shoals on the way to finding a life partner—or indeed when working toward any kind of goal.

-Donna G.

*****

book cover - emmaI first ready P&P in 10th grade English class for a book report…my teacher had recommended it to me. I don’t remember much from that first reading, except that I did enjoy it. I’ll be giving away my age, but that was in the 1960’s. In 1992, we moved just outside London for about 2 years, and I stopped in the local bookshop for something to read. I prefer better literature, and they had a display of all of Jane Austen’s works. I remember thinking that I had enjoyed P&P, but I chose Emma, not knowing anything about it. I couldn’t put it down and read it so fast, I turned right around and read it a second time in 2 days, much slower the 2nd time. Then I chose Persuasion, and then the rest of the novels, and love some of the stories in the book of her juvenilia. I love her History of England! I couldn’t get enough of them and have since read all them at least 3 times and get something new from them every time.

I was able to visit Chawton, Lyme Regis, and Winchester Cathedral. I’ll always cherish my time in England. Living there certainly has given me new insight into the locations of Jane’s novels.

Now I keep the books in various places around the house so I can always pick one up to read again or peruse my favorite passages. In P&P, my favorite part is when Elizabeth is reading Mr. Darcy’s letter and the descriptions as she realizes she’s made a big mistake and is starting to change her mind. I find that an incredible piece of writing.

-Phyllis G.

*****

Pride & Prejudice was the first high school play I was in at a small Catholic academy for girls on the upper east side in NYC. There were 20 students each class, total 80 students in the high school. It was in my freshman year and it was the play before Christmas. The year was 1956 and I was 13 years old.

Although the stage was small, the production was opulent enough. I had a non-speaking role as a minuet dancer at an assembly. I wore a perruque, a beautiful blue ball gown, carried a reticule and sported a beauty spot. My partner was another girl in white stockings, silk breeches and waistcoat and dancing slippers. We wore lots of makeup which was professionally applied. It was a complete minuet lasting several minutes. I enjoyed rehearsals immensely and we dazzled the audience. We had only two performances.

dance

I never got the chance to watch the whole play but I did rehearse lines with the senior girl, Sheila C., all of 17 or 18 years old, who played Elizabeth Bennet. We travelled home on the same hour long subway ride to the Bronx. We were both academic scholarship students. I would give her the cue from the sides. When you rehearse from sides you get only the lead in line. So I would say, “….but he believes that it was left to him conditionally only.” Sheila-Elizabeth replied, “I have no doubt of Mr. Bingley’s sincerity, but you must excuse my not being convinced by assurances only. Mr. Bingley’s defense of his friend was a very able one, I dare say; but since he is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has learnt the rest from that friend himself, I shall venture to still think of both gentlemen as I did before.”

Did we have an audience as we stood on the subway train dressed in our blue uniforms, white blouses, white gloves, blue, ground gripper shoes and blue hats? I don’t remember because I was so transfixed by what Elizabeth said and how Sheila’s skin changed color from pale to pink as she spoke the lines so forcefully. That following summer I would read P&P for the first time, but nothing can compare to the full dose of Elizabeth Bennet given to me by a senior girl whom I stood in awe of and who befriended me so kindly albeit with a good dose of arch humor.

(I’m enjoying rereading P&P and it’s fun to take part in this 200th celebration)

-Margaret H.

*****

book cover -P&P penguinI found Pride and Prejudice in a local bookstore when I was in high school.  It was my first reading of Austen, and I soon decided that this book was different.  From that reading, I have been in awe of Austen’s ability to create characters. What stood out for me as a teenager was the description of Elizabeth’s dawning self-awareness over many chapters.  At the mid-point of the novel, for example, she must grapple with Mr. Darcy’s letter:   “…she was in a fair way of soon knowing [the letter] by heart.  She studied every sentence; and her feelings towards its writer were at times widely different.  When she remembered the style of his address, she was still full of indignation; but when she considered how unjustly she had condemned and upbraided him, her anger was turned against herself…” Here, and throughout the novel, Austen never rushes to get to her point.  Many years later, I am still in awe!

-Lynne H.

*****

I once read a single passage of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in a bookshop which lingers in memory and bookcover - P&P zombiessomehow makes me love Jane Austen’s original all the more. Don’t ask me if I remember it right; I don’t care. I didn’t buy the book. But what I recall is one blissful moment when Jane and Elizabeth launch themselves at Mr. Collins and tear out his throat.

Isn’t that secretly what we all long for?

-Stuart B.

*****

By the time I was 12 years old I had become an ardent fan of the works of Georgette Heyer. I don’t remember if I swooned over the romance or the costume descriptions and hilarious cant, but I do remember being intrigued with Heyer’s version of the Georgian and Regency world. I was happy, therefore, to find out that there was ‘another writer’ who wrote about this time period—and one that had actually lived in it. This Jane Austen person would surely make for a fun read. I found Pride and Prejudice. I now admit, to my secret shame, that I found it overlong, too wordy, with heavy-handed irony, and rather too slow a pace. I even tried a couple more Austen’s to no avail.

18120pelisse-carriage-walking-coat

Fortunately I gave her one more try, this time in a literature course in college. Thank goodness! I had grown up just enough in the intervening years to realize that P&P was not long at all, had just the right amount of irony, lots more subtle wit, and was paced to perfection. My only complaint at that, and subsequent, readings was that it was too short! I could have spent much more time among the residents of Longbourn (and Mansfield, and Highbury and…). And as I am sure so many have found, subsequent readings always bring something new.

-Hope G.

*****

pride_and_prejudice12

I first tried reading P&P when I was in the eighth grade.  I knew it was a “classic,” but I found it terribly dull.  I decided to try again when I was sixteen, and this time I saw all of the humor that I had missed in my first attempt.  That was it–I was hooked!  It’s still my overall favorite of JA’s books.

-Christie M.

*****

With varying degrees of intensity, all of Jane Austen’s novels are propelled by her almost unerring instinct for counter-balance in a scene. Rarely does Austen’s passionate story-telling NOT pair satire with fear, or irony with kindness, or absurdity with melancholy, or self-knowledge with self-deception. With a razor-sharpened pen and a delicately calibrated scale, Austen dissects and weighs the hearts of her characters as they do battle with the expectations of their closely-knit societies.

balancing scale can-stock-photo

In Austen’s earlier novels, the tone tends toward lightness. Her later works more heavily embrace the seriousness of the human condition. In the deftness of PRIDE & PREJUDICE we see Austen performing her most virtuosic balancing act: each barb is followed by a balm.

Because of this ameliorating rhythm, we may first worry, but we ultimately smile as we ponder her tale about the indignities faced by women who are NOT in possession of a good fortune, but who are VERY much in want of a husband.

-Nan Q.

*****

Loving Pride and Prejudice

I’m not going to lie and say I loved Pride and Prejudice the first time I read it. I was a senior in high school and just didn’t get what the fuss was about. What I did understand, however, was that my English teacher loved Jane Austen. Even after I went to college and became an English major, Ms. Henry remained my favorite English teacher and her love of Austen forever put those six novels on my radar. Like so very many of us, I am indebted to a teacher’s passion and enthusiasm.

It’s true that now that I love Pride and Prejudice best of Austen’s novels and of nearly all others entirely. It has become the standard against which I compare much of what I read. I happen to love its “bright and sparkling” quality and the packed action of “one country village.” There’s something about her work that makes my life better because I’ve read it.

My love for Jane Austen’s work has led me to join JASNA and to book a weekend at a bed and breakfast here in Vermont with the weekend focus of this great novel. I can’t wait to discuss Pride & Prejudice over afternoon tea and maybe play a little trivia. I get what the fuss is about, finally, and it never gets old.

Jane Austen weekend at Governor's House

Jane Austen weekend at Governor’s House

I love this line by Caroline Bingley: “To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above her ancles in dirt, and alone, quite alone! what could she mean by it? It seems to me to shew an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country town indifference to decorum.”

Michelle S.

*****

carriage ride

Mr. Collins is certainly not my favorite character (!) ….but Elizabeth, of course, is. I was moved by her strength, wisdom and insight when I first encountered her in Freshman English…and then I became an even greater admirer more than 60 years later when I made her acquaintance once again…..this time via an audio recording as I made daily automobile trips around Vermont this past summer.

-Sallie S.

*****

When I was twelve, my mother gave me a beautiful edition of “Pride and Prejudice” with leather ends and sprigged wall paper covers; it isp&p pantheon - etsy charming.  I read it then with the intellect of a twelve year old and re-read each year unto my current 75th year with delight, awe and the greatest pleasure.  My husband, of fifty five years, held the Darcy conversation, sprightly, ironic, engaged and bountiful, to my Elizabeth, for fifty-five years. I have been enriched on both counts.  Each of my granddaughters has a beautiful copy to read when she is ready.   I spoke of Austen often during forty years of my teaching life. Bravo for Miss Austen.

-Sarah M.

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The following comments were made on the blog post on Susannah Fullerton’s new book Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, all telling of first reading Pride and Prejudice: I love all these stories! – please tell us yours!

artprintimages.com

artprintimages.com

ladysusanpdx: I first read Pride & Prejudice when I was 13, when my grandmother gave it to me. Seeing how struck I was by the story and especially Elizabeth Bennet, my father surprised me by letting me stay up very late to watch the 1940 movie version with Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier. That was 50 years ago and it remains my favorite novel and an important part of my life.

Stefanie Henry: Although I teach Pride and Prejudice every year, I never grow tired of discovering some unknown nuance, and I always enjoy the faces of my students as they fall in love. The classes celebrate Austen by preparing and dressing for high tea. Hopefully, my love of Austen will continue to inspire students to read more and more.

Sharon Henson: I was an avid reader from the moment that letters formed words for me, but I didn’t have to read Austen in high school–or in college. I picked up Pride and Prejudice while living in London, England, where my husband was a Fulbright Scholar. From then on I was hooked, reading the rest of Austen’s books, and seeing all of the films based on her books. I’ve read books based on her characters, and various biographies on Austen and, still, over 40 years later, can’t get enough Austen.

Oloore: Actually my first experience with P&P ever was watching last 5 minutes of episode 4 in mini- series of 1995 when I was 13 or 14. Those 5 minutes intrigued me so much, that I watched all the remaining episodes and then went in search for the original. I remember reading it the same year during my summer vacation. I loved everything about the book, its plot and style, its heroes and heroines, and since that time P&P has become the best love story for me: witty, humorous, illustrative of different human characters, satisfying and with wonderful happy end. After P&P I read other works by Jane Austen, and some of them I liked, some of them I liked very much, but P&P was and still remains the best for me.

P&P 1995

Mary Preston:I can’t remember the very first time I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. It’s been a very long time. What I do know is that I appreciate it more with each reading.

Pinterest - JA International

Pinterest – JA International

Monica: I also can’t remember when I read P&P for the first time. I must have been in my early teens and it was an Italian translation. Maybe it didn’t make a great impression on me then. I reread it later and read also the other Austen novels and liked them very much. I have just reread P&P to celebrate this bicentenary and am really enjoying all the attention it is currently receiving. I will definitely read Celebrating Pride & Prejudice!

esolender: First time? Well, I was 15, I think, when my mother gave P&P to me for a second time — I had tried it once at 12, was too young, and left it unfinished. But this time, I read it through, loved it and then gulped down the additional five — all in one insatiable summer treat. Couldn’t get enough Jane so I read P&P a SECOND time that magical summer. But it was the THIRD reading —in college at age 17— that was truly a revelation: It was as if I were reading an entirely new and wonderful novel. That’s because I was two years older, brought more to the reading, and saw nuances and wit and wonder that I had missed the first time. It was also because Jan Ferrers Weeks (later Thaddeus) was my guide through the novel this time in freshman English at Barnard. I suspected —accurately, it turned out— that I could read it again and again with pleasure — and shall again this celebratory year.

Tanya:  Oh I would love to win a copy of this book – I just saw notice of it on Amazon yesterday and HAVE to have it. I adore Jane … all things Jane. Pride and Prejudice is well, tops! I design needlework inspired by Miss Austen’s novels. Never can get enough out of such few books!!I actually put a free pattern on the blog today to also mark the 200th Anniversary of this wonderful novel, P&P. If you do needlework, please do stop by and print a copy of it for your stitching basket: http://atthehoneysuckletree.blogspot.com/2013/01/literary-love-2013-souvenir-of-1813.html

Katherine:  I also can’t remember the first time I read P&P. I do remember the first time I read it critically (as literature, not strictly entertainment) – in a class on the English Novel in college. My professor considered Jane the greatest of English novelists, with which I heartily agree. I would love to have a copy of this book!

Ruth B.: My friend thinks that the first line of P and P is one of the best known of all  first lines. I agree with her and know that it is certainly MY favorite first line. I will be happily reading your book soon, I hope. It sounds fantastic.

gongjumonica: A question for Susannah. If you could change a scene in Pride and Prejudice, what would it be and why?

book cover - celebrating P&P- fullerton

Susannah Fullerton: It has been fascinating to read about the first reading of P & P for other people. We are all so lucky to have had our lives enriched by this book. Gongjumonica asked me if there was any scene I would change. The answer is NO, I do not want to change any scene at all. I adore it just as it is. Does anyone else think any scene should be changed? I do hope that whoever wins my book loves reading it.

Felicia: I remember the first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I just loved Elizabeth Bennet so much, I wanted to be her. It was not until the second reading that I truly appreciated Mr. Darcy. Maybe I was too prejudice?? :)

Tiffany:  I first read P&P in 8th grade… I remember desperately wanting to be a Bennet – crazy family and all. I agree with Felicia – Mr. Darcy didn’t catch on until I was a little older :).

A. Marie:  It was the summer I turned 16. I was at a low ebb, for various reasons: the usual too homely/too bright teenager angst, plus serious family dysfunction (frankly, the Bennets looked pretty good to me at that point). In addition, I’d just read Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night because someone thought I should, and I felt about the way anyone feels after reading that one. So I happened to pick up the battered old Everyman P&P that had belonged to my step-grandfather (bless you, Grandpa Bill, for throwing me a lifeline!). I was instantly hooked. I remember thinking before I finished the first chapter, “Jeez, I didn’t know it was OK to be funny in the early 19th century,” and I finished the book before bed that night–not just to find out whether Elizabeth and Darcy finally got together, but because I was completely drawn in and along by the language. And I still am, after too many readings to count.

Hugh Thomson - Elizabeth Bennet

Hugh Thomson – Elizabeth Bennet

Danielle C.: I fell in love with Austen when I was a young girl. I have found that as I got older and understood more about love and life I now fully appreciate what a great writer she was. Can’t wait to read this book.

Lúthien84: My mum introduced it to me when I was 12. She borrowed an abridged edition and having nothing else to do because school’s over and it was the holidays, I decided to read it. I’m joining the P&P 200th Anniversary blog hop party organised by Alyssa Goodnight so stop by on my blog to read my experience on Monday. I’ll also be giving away a copy of an Austenesque novel. Hope to see you there.

Kim W.: I came to Jane Austen late in life–I was in my early thirties when I started enjoying her movies–Emma was my first!!–and then my mid thirties when I started to read her books. Pride and Prejudice was the first book I read, which I got out of the library, and I was so surprised how easy it was to read! No memories of hard assignments by my 9th grade English teacher here!! I think that if I had met Jane earlier in life and understood her gentle sisterly advice, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. She is a truth teller even 200 years later!! Fingers crossed and Huzzah! for the publication of Ms. Fullerton’s book!

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P&P - peacock cover

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Thank you one and all for sharing your Pride and Prejudice stories! – would love to hear from others, so please comment below on:

  • 1. when you first read P&P and what it meant to you at the time / or how subsequent readings have influenced your life; or,
  • 2. your favorite passage from the book and why; or,
  • 3. thoughts on your favorite character in P&P and why.
  • Or, all three of the above!

Note: I will continue to post on Pride and Prejudice throughout 2013: next up will be “Places of Pride and Prejudice: St. Clements”, so stay tuned!

 c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Playing Jane Austen ~ The Jane Game

Hello all Jane Austen Readers!  I append a note from Elizabeth Bankhead about her soon-to-be-released The Jane Game :

The Jane Game

The Jane Game

 

Hello, I am a fellow JASNA member and for three years have been developing The Jane Game, a Jane Austen board game with trivia from all six of her novels. You can finally see it in all its splendor at www.thejanegame.com. Right now the game is not for sale, though, you can enjoy daily trivia fun at www.facebook.com/thejanegame. And you can follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/thejanegame

Below is a visual teaser of the game-

For Email Teaser

I plan on bringing The Jane Game to market through Kickstarter.com . This is a web forum where funding of the game’s production can be provided by pre-orders. If you like the game and would like to own it someday, please do one (or all) of the following:

1. On the website — go to “The Game” at bottom left, then scroll down to the “Notify Me” button and fill in your email address

2. Send me your email address ( janesgame [at] gmail [dot]  com ) preferably with your name and, if you feel inclined, one thing very clever, two things moderately clever, or three things very dull indeed. I promise to laugh heartily at them all :)

3. Or, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/thejanegame

With your email (option 1 and 2) I will notify you when the game’s kickstarter campaign starts for pre-orders. The facebook page will stay updated with the game’s progress as well as provide trivia fun every day.

If you know anyone who would be interested in a Jane Austen trivia game, please let them know (forward this blog post or invite them to the Facebook trivia page). The more people who know about this game, the faster it will come!

Thank you,

Elizabeth Bankhead

janesgame [at] gmail [dot] com

jane game facebook header

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Some examples: [from The Jane Game facebook daily trivia]

Mansfield Park: The day after the ball at Mansfield, two men leave. Who were they (choose two)? Mr. Crawford, Edmund, William, Tom, Mr. Yates

Pride and Prejudice:  What is Georgiana Darcy’s most praised accomplishment?

Emma:  Who was the first person to tell Emma that Mr. Elton could very well be in love with her?–“Mr. Elton in love with me! What an idea!”

Sense and Sensibility: How old is Colonel Brandon when we first meet him?

Persuasion:  On meeting the Harvilles and Captain Benwick, Anne admires their informal hospitality, ingenuity and charm. Why does she struggle to remain in high spirits?

Northanger Abbey:  Who does the heroine, Catherine Morland, marry?

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Thank you Elizabeth! – and best of luck with this – sounds like a great deal of fun, and who can resist anything to do with Jane Austen!

 c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen and Robert Burns

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).  One cannot forget those Robert Burns poems we all had to recite in high school, often our first introduction to the “romantic” poets – ‘O, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose’ or ‘Tam O’Shanter’ or ‘To a Louse: on seeing one on a Lady’s bonnet at church’ – and of course how often do we sing or hear ‘Sweet Afton’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’!

Robert Burns - from wikipedia

Robert Burns – from wikipedia

I had the fortune a number of years ago to visit Burns’s home in Alloway, Ayr, Scotland, and became sort of enamored with him – who can not? But what of Jane Austen and Burns? – she certainly read his poetry.  And we now know that in her music notebooks she had copied out the music notation of two of Burns’s songs: My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet, and My Ain Kind Dearie – and Gillian Dooley has recently noted that Austen had written out in her own hand Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle, [see the link below to this full article] where it shows that Austen had transcribed the words “Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean” to “the charms of his Jane” – evidence perhaps that Austen secretly admired Burns after all…?! [see full text of this song below]

Burns Cottage, Ayr

Burns Cottage, Ayr

All we have of her written words as to how she may have felt about Burns appear in Sanditon, with the ridiculous Sir Edward Denham spewing forth the following:

But while we are on the subject of Poetry, what think you, Miss Heywood, of Burns’ Lines to his Mary? — Oh I there is Pathos to madden one! — If ever there was a Man who felt, it was Burns. — Montgomery has all the Fire of Poetry, Wordsworth has the true soul of it — Campbell in his Pleasures of Hope has touched the extreme of our Sensations — “Like Angel’s visits, few & far between.’ Can you conceive any thing more subduing, more melting, more fraught with the deep Sublime than that Line? — But Burns — I confess my sence of his Pre-eminence, Miss Heywood — If Scott has a fault, it is the want of Passion. — Tender, Elegant, Descriptive — but Tame. — The Man who cannot do justice to the attributes of Woman is my contempt. — Sometimes indeed a flash of feeling seems to irradiate him — as in the Lines we were speaking of — “Oh! Woman in our hours of Ease’. — But Burns is always on fire. — His Soul was the Altar in which lovely Woman sat enshrined, his Spirit truly breathed the immortal Incence which is her Due. –”

To which Charlotte replies, in what critics have assumed is Jane Austen’s voice:

“I have read several of Burns’ Poems with great delight”, said Charlotte, as soon as she had time to speak, “but I am not poetic enough to separate a Man’s Poetry entirely from his Character; — & poor Burns’s known Irregularities greatly interrupt my enjoyment of his Lines. — I have difficulty in depending on the Truth of his Feelings as a Lover. I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a Man of his Description. He felt & he wrote & he forgot.”

“Oh! no no” exclaimed Sir Edward in an extacy (sic). “He is all about ardour and Truth! – His genius and his susceptibilities might lead him into some Aberrations – But who is perfect?…. Nor can you, loveliest Miss Heywood (speaking with an air of deep sentiment) – nor can any Woman be a fair judge of what a Man may be propelled to say, write or do, by the sovereign impulses of illimitable Ardour.”

[from Sanditon, ch. VII]

So I leave you with these thoughts on Jane Austen and Robert Burns and a few links for further reading:

Robert Burns

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Full text of Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle:

Their groves o’ sweet myrtle let Foreign Lands reckon,
Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perfume;
Far dearer to me yon lone glen o’ green breckan,
Wi’ the burn stealing under the lang, yellow broom.
Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers
Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk, lowly, unseen;
For there, lightly tripping, among the wild flowers,
A-list’ning the linnet, aft wanders my Jean. 

Tho’ rich is the breeze in their gay, sunny valleys,
And cauld Caledonia’s blast on the wave;
Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud palace,
What are they? – the haunt of the Tyrant and Slave.
The Slave’s spicy forests, and gold-bubbling fountains,
The brave Caledonian views wi’ disdain;
He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains,
Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean.

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Susannah Fullerton on Celebrating Pride and Prejudice ~ Guest Post and Book Giveaway

Gentle Readers All: Please see below to enter into the Giveaway for a copy of Susannah Fullerton’s Celebrating Pride and Prejudice.

book cover - celebrating P&P- fullerton

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Today I welcome Susannah Fullerton, president of JASA, author of numerous articles on Jane Austen, a leader of literary tours , and author of  Jane Austen and Crime  (2006),  A Dance with Jane Austen (2012), and most recently the author of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece [Happily Ever After in the UK].

Susannah shares with us a few thoughts on the her new work and the joys of discovering and re-discovering Austen’s most popular novel – and out just in time as we all celebrate the 200th bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice this year, all beginning on January 28th. I highly recommend this book, a must-have for your Austen Library, a perfect companion to the novel, and a lovely work in its own right.

And now Susannah:

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I was about 11 years old when my mother first read me Pride and Prejudice. We were away on a family holiday in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the only thing I remember of the visit there was lying at the end of a double bed while my Mum read aloud. It was not all joy – I did get very frustrated when she stopped to laugh. I was too young to appreciate the irony of the novel and just wanted to know what would happen to Elizabeth and Darcy. Now of course I know exactly why my mother laughed. In spite of my mother’s ‘interruptions’, I loved the story, and soon went back to read it by myself.

pandp_darcy_robertball

Mr Darcy,  by Robert Ball. Pride and Prejudice (Doubleday 1945)
[image from Austenprose.com]

So for just over 40 years Pride and Prejudice has been a vital part of my life. That first reading has been followed by countless others. Sometimes I have just picked up the book and it has fallen open in just the right place (any place is the right place) and I’ve read of the Meryton Ball, or one of Darcy’s proposals, or a scene with Mr Collins making a fool of himself. Even a ‘one page reading’ has always left me feeling better. Again and again I have picked it up and started with that brilliant opening sentence (to which I devote a whole chapter in my book!) and gone through to the end, knowing exactly what would happen but loving it more every single time.

And I have read ‘P & P’ in other ways – I adore unabridged audio versions, I’ve read it as a comic book, I’ve read it on my Kindle, and of course I’ve seen film versions and loved them too. Elizabeth and Darcy are my dear friends and while I would not want to actually meet Mr Collins, I always delight in his company within the pages of Jane Austen’s great novel.

It has been said that you never read the same book twice! Every re-reading is a different experience – you know what is going to happen within the plot and so you look out for other things. And with ‘P & P’ there are always other things – some slight nuance you missed last time you read it, a different inflection by an audio book reader can make you react to a sentence you know well in a different way, and you pick up on the tiny details of setting or character that you failed to notice last time. And the other thing that means you are not reading exactly the same novel, is that you yourself have changed. You have grown older and wiser, experienced things in your own life that have slightly altered you from the person you were on the first reading. I groaned over Mrs Bennet when I first met her – she was so vulgar and embarrassing and I pitied Elizabeth for having to put up with her. But now I’m a mother myself, with children who are forming romantic partnerships, and I have so much more sympathy for Mrs Bennet. And as a wife, I can understand her frustration when Mr Bennet goes off to the library and shuts the door, leaving the worries of 5 unmarried daughters totally up to her. Reading Pride and Prejudice changes your life, but your life also changes each re-reading of Pride and Prejudice.

mrs bennet

With such a deep love of this novel, you can imagine what a joy it was for me to sit down and write a book about its incredible 200 years. I could not think of a nicer way to celebrate this important literary anniversary. For months I was immersed in its pages, learning even more about the book and its characters as I worked on my own book. I was so fascinated by the translations of it – how very quickly it was translated into another language and what a mess was made of that first translation, and what huge challenges it gives a translator (do you think Mr and Mrs Bennet should say ‘vous’ or ‘tu’ to each other in a French translation  – I’d love to hear your opinion?). I especially loved writing my chapter on Elizabeth, trying to analyse what it is that makes her so charming and lovable, while not making her a ‘goody-goody’ in whom we can’t believe. I had lots of fun with my chapter on all the merchandise inspired by this novel – don’t you just love the idea of a BBQ apron that announces ‘Let’s BBQ Wickham!’ And I was fascinated by the responses to ‘P & P’ over 200 years from famous people. A.A. Milne quite rightly judged people by their reactions to this book, while Robert Louis Stevenson wanted to go down on his knees and worship Elizabeth Bennet whenever she opened her mouth.

My book is very gorgeously illustrated and has pictures that may be unfamiliar to many. It is available in two editions – the American edition is Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece and the UK edition is Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I do hope my book gives pleasure to those of you who read it, and also teaches you new things about this much-loved novel.

book cover - happily ever after uk

HAPPY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ANNIVERSARY YEAR!

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About the Author:

susannah fullertonSusannah Fullerton is President of JASA, and author of Jane Austen – Antipodean Views, Jane Austen and Crime, A Dance with Jane Austen, and her latest Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece – note that the UK title of this work is Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Frances Lincoln, 2012).

 

 

Celebrating Pride and Prejudice
Voyageur Press, January 1, 2013
ISBN-10: 0760344361; ISBN-13: 978-0760344361
$25.99

Contents: (I have abbreviated the title to P&P)

  • ‘My Own Darling Child’- The Writing of P&P
  • ‘A Very Superior Work’ – Reactions to P&P
  • ‘A Truth Universally Acknowledged’ – The Famous First Sentence
  • ‘Bright and Sparkling’ – The Style of P&P
  • ‘As Charming a Creature’ – The Heroine, Elizabeth Bennet
  • ‘Mr Darcy … is the Man!’ – The Hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy
  • ‘The Female Line’ – Her Relations
  • ‘The Same Noble Line’ – His Relations
  • ‘Delighting in the Ridiculous’ – Other Characters
  • P&P Goes Overseas – The Translations
  • ‘Pictures of Perfection’ – Illustrating and Covering P&P
  • Did They Live Happily Ever After? – Sequels and Adaptations
  • Bonnets and Bosoms – Film and Theatrical Versions
  • Mugs and Skateboards – Selling P&P
  • ‘Behold Me Immortal’ – P&P Now and in the Future
  • Bibliography and Index

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Please enter into the drawing for a copy of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice by commenting below: either by asking Susannah a question or telling us of your first experience in reading Pride and Prejudice [or like Susannah, perhaps being read to?].  Deadline is Tuesday January 29, 2013 11:59 pm; winner will be announced on Wednesday January 30th.  Worldwide eligibility. Good luck all, and thank you to the publisher for donating the book for the giveaway [please note that I happily purchased my own copy].

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Winner of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James…

… and the winner is: Dianna Anderson who commented on January 15:

I would love to comment on a book I’ve read but sadly I haven’t, but I would love to. If I were to win a book though I could easily read it and email a question later. :-)

 

Congratulations Dianna! – please email me your contact information and the book shall be sent to you right away.  And after you have read it, we hope you shall comment!

And thank you all for your comments and to Syrie James for her great post about JASNA.

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

 

 

Downton Abbey ~ Carson’s Song

Last week, Downton Abbey ended with Carson singing a song while polishing the silver, quite jovial over hearing the positive prognosis for Mrs. Hughes.  We can wonder at the plot turn – there have been previous intimations that Hughes and Carson should somehow hook up and exert even greater control over downstairs life – they do after all seem to genuinely care about and respect each other … but who knows what direction this shall all take – but just want to append the words of the song he was singing – a sure clue in this alone:

DA - Carson

The song is titled “Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron” – “a traditional English folk song written in the 19th century about a housewife carrying out her linen chores” [wikipedia]:

‘Twas on a Monday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-washing of her linen, O

Refrain
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Tuesday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-hanging out her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Wednesday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-starching of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Thursday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-ironing of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Friday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-folding of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Saturday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-airing of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Sunday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-wearing of her linen, O (Refrain)

[Text from contemplator.com]

dashing away smoothing iron

Further reading (and listening!):

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont