Which Jane Austen Character Do You Most Indentify With?

Gentle Readers, Vic  from Jane Austen’s World and I both freely admit to being passionate Jane Austen fans, which tends to infiltrate our everyday world in ways that have us viewing friends and ourselves through Austen’s unique prism. Here is a bit of fun today for your amusement:

LA: Vic and I were chatting on the phone today. Over the course of our three plus year Austen-inspired friendship we have mostly emailed, so this was a treat. She has the most infectious laugh which made me laugh too. Of course we were talking about our favorite author and she remarked that Austen excelled at humor and the amazing secondary characters she developed. Somehow it just popped out and I boldly asked her what Jane Austen character she most identified with. Without hesitation she replied, Lady Russell from Persuasion. “Lady Russell?” I replied in surprise! “Well, yes.”

Jane Rus.., er, Mrs. Russell

She then revealed that she is often wrong about the advice she gives people. At work she gathers the young-uns around her and freely offers opinions, whether they are solicited or not. When she gives wrong counsel – which she admits is more often than not – she torpedos herself in a most spectacular fashion. “The error of my ways does not go unnoticed by this unforgiving crowd. Unlike Lady Russell, I will own up to a misteak, er, mistake or two, and apologize for having interfered, but I hold the line at groveling.”

Another reason why she identifies with this character is her independence. Lady Russell is a widow with a healthy income and she has no intention of remarrying and being subjugated by a man. “I am a divorced woman who has discovered the joys of living singly on my own terms and by my own schedule. Ah, what total, selfish bliss!”

Vic further admitted that at a party, or when she lets her hair loose, she starts to resemble Mrs. Jennings. You know the type: a bit vulgar, out for a good time, giggling at precisely the wrong moments, and making those with a more composed nature feel uncomfortable with crass jokes and loud language. “Like Mrs. Jennings, I have a good heart. But I can be out there and in your face too. I might seem unseemly to a quieter person like Elinor, and be totally disliked by the likes of a Marianne, but my friends and family get me, and that’s what counts.”

Oh Vic! You are such a card. Lady Russell and Mrs. Jennings? She then turned the tables on me. “Now, who do you identify with in Jane’s novels? Are you like me, a bossy and interfering carouser? Or are your a bit more sedate and ladylike?”

Harriet Smith (Tony Collette) patiently poses for Emma

Vic: “Sedate. A total Harriet Smith,” LA replied. Many years ago a dear Janeite friend tagged her as a Harriet to her Emma. “It seemed appropriate since I was often asking for advice and was very mailable to change.” In her view, Harriet was a bit of a ditz and gullible which she has been accused of too. The thing she liked about being a Harriet is that Austen gave her such a great ending. She is resilient, and after being tossed about in love no less than three times in a year, Harriet gets the man she wanted in the first place and proves Emma, with her self-important airs, was totally clueless about the human heart. “I like having the last laugh, and being right.” ;-)

Sir John Middleton (Robert Hardy) and Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs)

Lately LA thinks she has evolved into Sir John Middleton from Sense and Sensibility. He was the Dashwood’s cousin and landlord of Barton Cottage. He is very gracious and likes to pop in and make sure his tenants are comfortable and entertained. He is a bit of a bore and talks too much about things that are not of interest to his young companions, but he likes dogs, has a good heart and loves to laugh. “As an enthusiastic bookseller, I like to inform customers of their choices and make suggestions. I am also a bit of an organizer and enjoy planning events on my blog, and orchestrating the 23 authors in my anthology. It is like herding cats, but I like being the boss of my own world!”

One man’s ways may be as good as another’s, but we all like our own best. Persuasion, Ch 13

Now our question. Which Jane Austen character do you, estimable viewer, most identify with, or which character are you afraid of becoming? Feel free to leave your comments!

‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’: Jane Austen and Music

Gentle Readers: in celebration of the ‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’ event over the next month, I have asked several of my fellow Jane Austen bloggers to share their knowledge and interest in Austen’s most popular novel. Today, please welcome guest blogger Vic from Jane Austen’s World who shares with us her extensive knowledge of Regency culture and history in four posts during the event. Her fourth contribution is on music during Jane Austen’s era, how it influenced her life, and her writing.

“Yes, yes, we will have a pianoforte, as good a one as can be got for 30 guineas, and I will practice country dances, that we may have some amusement for our nephews and nieces, when we have the pleasure of their company.” – Jane Austen to Cassandra, 1808

Like many ladies of her era, Jane Austen was an accomplished musician. And so were her characters. In Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, the Bingley sisters and Georgiana Darcy could all play instruments with skill. Lady Catherine de Bourgh would have been a proficient, as would her daughter Anne, had she learned and practiced. Before the age of electricity and cable the world was largely silent musically speaking, save for the music played by family members, local musicians, or more famous musicians who were paid to play for the rich.

Musicians wandered the land, and London streets offered a pandemonium of sounds, much of it derived from musical instruments. The only music available in the home was that which amateur or professional performers could produce on the spot, so that the ability to play music well was crucial for all walks of life. From childhood on, young ladies were expected to play a musical instrument and study with music masters. Gentlemen sang as well and formed impromptu amateur groups that entertained in taverns and men’s clubs.

Continue reading at Jane Austen’s World

Further reading

Upcoming event posts

Day 20   July 14   Group Read: Chapters 57 – 61
Day 21   July 16   Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet
Day 22   July 24   Swag winners announced

‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’: Supper at the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice

Gentle Readers: in celebration of the ‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’ event over the next month, I have asked several of my fellow Jane Austen bloggers to share their knowledge and interest in Austen’s most popular novel. Today, please welcome guest blogger Vic from Jane Austen’s World who shares with us her extensive knowledge of Regency culture and history in four posts during the event. Her third contribution is on dinning at the Netherfield Ball. Learn all about what the guests would have been served at Mr. Bingley’s lavish multiple course meal.

“As for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards.” – Charles Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

The sit-down supper served at the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice probably occurred around midnight. By that time, people would be famished after their physical exertions or from playing cards nonstop in the card room. They had most likely eaten their dinner between 3-5 p.m. (earlier in the country, and later in Town). Dinners consisted of between 5-16 dishes and could last several hours. The best families would serve up two courses, for a meal’s lavishness depended on the number of courses and dishes that were served. Dishes representing a range of foods, from soups to vegetables and meats, would be spread over the table in a pleasing arrangement and would be set down at the beginning of the meal.

Continue reading at Jane Austen’s World

Further reading

Upcoming event posts

Day 15  July 07     Group Read: Chapters 43 – 49
Day 16  July 09     William Gilpin and Jane Austen
Day 17  July 10     Group Read: Chapters 50 – 56

‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’: Dancing at the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice

Gentle Readers: in celebration of the ‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’ event over the next month, I have asked several of my fellow Jane Austen bloggers to share their knowledge and interest in Austen’s most popular novel. Today, please welcome guest blogger Vic from Jane Austen’s World who shares with us her extensive knowledge of Regency culture and history in four posts during the event. Her second contribution is on dancing at the Netherfield Ball covering the etiquette and the popular dances of the day. Enjoy!

“So, he enquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. Then, the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two sixth with Lizzy, and the Boulanger …” Mrs. Bennet about Mr. Bingley at The Netherfield Ball.

The English ballroom and assembly room was the courting field upon which gentlemen and ladies on the marriage mart could finally touch one another and spend some time conversing during their long sets or ogle each other without seeming to be too forward or brash. Dancing was such an important social event during the Georgian and Regency eras that girls and boys practiced complicated dance steps with dancing masters and memorized the rules of ballroom etiquette.

Balls were regarded as social experiences, and gentlemen were tasked to dance with as many ladies as they could. This is one reason why Mr. Darcy’s behavior was considered rude at the Meryton Ball- there were several ladies, as Elizabeth pointed out to him and Colonel Fitzwilliam at Rosings, who had to sit out the dance.

“He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner.”

Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, danced every dance and thus behaved as a gentleman should.

Ladies had to wait passively for a partner to approach them and when they were, they were then obliged to accept the invitation. One reason why Elizabeth was so vexed when Mr. Collins, who had solicited her for the first two dances at the Netherfield Ball, was that she’d intended to reserve them for Mr. Wickham. Had she refused Mr. Collins, she would have been considered not only rude, but she would have forced to sit out the dances for the rest of the evening.

Continue reading at Jane Austen’s World

Further reading

    Upcoming event posts

    Day 10  June 30     Group Read: Chapters 29 – 35
    Day 11  July 02     Carriages in Pride and Prejudice
    Day 12  July 03     Group Read: Chapters 36 – 42

    ‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’: Dressing for the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice: Regency Fashion

    Gentle Readers: in celebration of the ‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’ event over the next month, I have asked several of my fellow Jane Austen bloggers to share their knowledge and interest in Austen’s most popular novel. Today, please welcome guest blogger Vic from Jane Austen’s World who shares with us her extensive knowledge of Regency culture and history. Her first of four contributions during the event analyzes the costumes worn at the Netherfield Ball in three movie adaptations in comparison to the fashions of the day.

    The Netherfield Ball. Ah! How much of Jane Austen’s plot for Pride and Prejudice put on show  in this chapter! Elizabeth Bennet – its star – enters the ball room hoping for a glimpse of a strangely absent Mr. Wickham, but is forced to dance two dances with bumblefooted Mr. Collins, whose presence she somehow can’t seem to shake. (From his actions the astute reader comes to understand that this irritating man will be proposing soon.)

    Mr. Darcy then solicits Lizzie for a dance, and his aloofness and awkward silences during their set confirms in Lizzie’s mind that he suffers from a superiority complex. As the evening progresses her family’s behavior is so appalling (Mary hogs the pianoforte with her awful playing; Kitty and Lydia are boisterously flirtatious with the militia men; and Mrs. Bennet brazenly proclaims to all within earshot that Mr. Bingley and Jane are as good as engaged) that the only enjoyment Lizzie takes away from the event is in the knowledge that Mr. Bingley is as besotted with Jane as she is with him.

    In anticipation of furthering her acquaintance with Mr. Wickham, Lizzie probably dressed with extreme care, making sure both her dress and hair looked perfect. In the image below, Jennifer Ehle’s “wig” is adorned with silk flower accessories, and a string of pearls, which was the fashion of the time. She wears a simple garnet cross at her throat (Jane Austen owned one made of topaz) and her dress shows off her figure to perfection.

    Continue reading at Jane Austen’s World

    Further reading

    Upcoming event posts

    Day 7  June 23     Group Read: Chapters 15-21
    Day 8  June 25     Tourism in Jane Austen’s Era
    Day 9  June 26     Group Read: Chapters 22 – 28

    Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Net: Issue No 9

    “All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

    April 12th – 18th, 2010

    Hot News of the Week:

    New author Jenni James of Northanger Alibi, a modern retelling of Northanger Abbey influenced by Twilight, lands the Austenesque book publicity coup of the decade! Wow. This might be a first for Austen on TV.

    Noteworthy:

    Author and Janeite Catherine Delors features Jane Austen’s juvenilia The History of England and directs us to the original manuscript viewable online at The British Museum website.

    The beautiful new hardback editions of Penguin Classics are featured in a Elle Decor article including Jane Austen’s Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

    Interview of Monica Fairview, author of The Darcy Cousins at Austenprose. Swag contest ends 23 April 2010.

    Author Jane Odiwe of Austen Sequels Blog features a preview of the new debut novel First Impressions, by Alexa Adams.

    Regency Mourning Fashions in England by Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen’s World is featured in the Suite 101.com online repository of insightful writers and informed readers.

    Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe’s favorite Gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho that they read together in Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey is highlighted on Jane Greensmith’s blog Reading, Writing, Playing in a great post on The Gothic Novel.

    Shameless self promotion here, but Maria Grazia has interviewed moi for her lovely blog Fly High. Leave a comment and enter a chance to win your choice of selected Austenesque books. Ends 25 April, 2010.

    Another interview of note is of Vera Nazarian, author of Mansfield Park and Mummies at Jane Austen’s World.

    Vote for your favorite Pride and Prejudice book cover from my top ten favorites. As of today, there is a dead tie between White’s Publishings lovely new release showing a graphic rep of Regency dancers from the waist down and the classic cover design by Hugh Thomson for the 1894 peacock edition of P&P.

    Deb at Jane Austen in Vermont blog posts info on Soethby’s The English Country House auction results. Oh my. Beautiful Regency-era items, but the prices Lousia!

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane invented baseball since she mentioned it in her novel Northanger Abbey. Doubtful? Read further proof in the third installment of posts by Mags at AustenBlog.

    Entertainment:

    British actor Elliot Cowan (Mr. Darcy in Lost in Austen 2009) opens in The Scottish Play in London next week. Read about the lore and superstition behind the Shakespeare play that we dare not mention.

    The Jane Austen Story opened at Winchester Cathedral on 10 April, 2010. Read more about this new exhibit spotlighting Jane Austen’s burial place and life in Hampshire that will run until 20 September 2010.

    The Los Angeles Times Book Festival has always been a lively affair and this year one of the guest speakers is author/editor Susannah Carson of the Austen anthology A Truth Universally Acknowledged that we reviewed and enjoyed. Jane Austen Today has a featured article on the the LA  festival which makes me homesick for outdoor book fairs that I frequented while I lived in California. *sigh*

    New Austenesque Book Announcements:

    A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly — 16 Sep 2010

    Book Reviews:

    Until next week, happy Jane sighting.

    Laurel Ann

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    Austenprose Celebrates Second Anniversary – What Would Dear Jane Say?

    Austen Pop Banner

    “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours,

    and laugh at them in our turn?”

    Another year in the Austen blogosphere has passed and I’m still here musing and muddling about on my favorite author and other related Regency folly and nonsense! Milestones are a great time to look back and reflect on what I really have been blabbering about, who was hot, and not, and what you all enjoyed the most. So here goes. 

    Top 10 most popular posts 

    1. Pride and Prejudice: Which Mr. Darcy Has the Noble Mien for You? 
    2. Masterpiece’s Wuthering Heights Succumbs to a Case of Bad Parenting 
    3. Zombies and Vampires and Jane Austen, Oh My! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is Haute! 
    4. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange – Preview 
    5. Preview: BBC One’s Emma staring Romola Garai Begins on Sunday 
    6. Lost in Austen: Review of Episode Four: Amanda Fixes Things at Warp Speed! 
    7. Lost in Austen: Review of Episode Three: Droolgate as Darcy Does the Dip 
    8. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan: The Sunday Salon Review 
    9. Jane Austen Short Story Award 2009 Winners Announced 
    10. Little Dorrit Recap & Review of Episode Two on Masterpiece Classic

    This is a diverse mix of posts indeed as interest is all over the Austen hill and dale, and some not even in her neighborhood. It represents what was in the news, on our minds and haute in the media and culture for the past year. Some I expected, others are a complete surprise.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that many, many people are still fascinated by top hottie Mr. Darcy. He eclipsed all other posts four times over. In my mind, this proves that he is indeed a literary and pop culture icon.

    The balance of posts were topical items. Controversary is still King. The review of Wuthering Heights proved that if you express your opinion decidedly and make a fool out of yourself, people will flock to watch you squirm in embarrassment. I hope that the Brontë community will forgive me for trying to apply Austen logic to a Victorian tale of craziness.

    Vampires and zombies arrived at our local bookstores this year stretching Austen in totally new directions. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was the breakout surprise. Who ‘da thought a zombie and Austen mash-up would make an international best selling novel and launch a new book genre – literary rip offs – opening  the flood gates for, yes, Austen and vampires?  We were all aflutter to read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and snapped that one up too. Hope the author made a ton of money since that appeared to be the prime objective. Another book that caused bus accident gawking was Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. I will let other pens dwell on the “why,” but I have sneaking suspicion that the author is dancing all the way to the bank too.

    Two new Austen inspired mini-series hit the airwaves in the UK and US. Lost in Austen was the biggest surprise hit and the new Sandy Welch adaptation of Emma that premiered in the UK last month had tongues wagging.

    Last and pleasingly last, the Jane Austen Short Story Award garnered more interest than anticipated. It is gratifying to think that new short stories inspired by Jane Austen piqued Googling and readers landed on my blog. 

    The rest of data is just icing, but of interest in an Austen cultural enlightening kind of way. It is a small example of who Janeites are, and why we love Jane Austen.

    Top 5 most popular book reviews

    1. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan: The Sunday Salon Review 
    2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Jane Austen Ate Our Brain Long Ago: The Sunday Salon Review
    3. Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes: A Novel, by Regina Jeffers: The Sunday Salon Review
    4. The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy, A Novel by Maya Slater – A Review
    5. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange – A Review

    I reviewed 59 books in the last year! Gulp – that’s a lot of Jane and her scions.

    Top 5 most popular search terms

    1. Elliot Cowan
    2. Matthew Macfadyen
    3. David Rintoul
    4. Northanger Abbey
    5. Mr Darcy Vampyre

    What? No Colin Firth? Abomniable.

    Top 10 clicks to other sites

    1. Jane Austen Today
    2. BBC official Emma page
    3. Which Austen Heroine are You Quiz?
    4. Everything Austen Challenge at Stephanie’s Written Word 
    5. PBS Masterpiece website
    6. Jane Austen’s World
    7. Republic of Pemberley
    8. AustenBlog
    9. Naxos AudioBooks
    10. Enchanted Serenity of Period Films

    Who you all want to visit – says a lot about me too!

    Top 10 referrers

    1. Jane Austen Today
    2. Jane Austen’s World
    3. Molland’s Circulating Library
    4. The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide
    5. AustenBlog
    6. Elegant Extracts
    7. Becky’s Book Reviews
    8. Reading, Working, Writing, Playing
    9. Emma Adaptations
    10. Marie Antoinete’s Gossip Guide

    A big thank you to fellow Janeite’s Vic (Ms Place) of Jane Austen’s World and my co-blogger at Jane Austen Today and Mags at AustenBlog. Two clever and witty ladies who keep me on my toes. Last, but first in my book – your 1,975 comments – all read and greatly enjoyed. Thanks to all for visiting my little corner of Austenland…

     where There is a monsterous deal of stupid quizzing, & common-place nonsense talked, but scarcely any wit.”

    Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 21 April 1805