Jane Austen Book Club – Sense & Sensibility Discussion Qs

What was your favorite moment of the book?

One of my favorite moments of Sense and Sensibility is in chapter 30 when Mrs. Jennings is checking on Marianne after her heartbreak, and offering olives. She says, “Well, poor thing! I won’t disturb her any longer, for she had better have her cry out at once and have done with.” And I just think that is the funniest and truest line ever. Cry it out, Marianne!

The working title of the book was Elinor and Marianne. Why is Sense and Sensibility a better title? In what ways do Elinore and Marianne embody these traits?

I would categorize Elinor and Marriane as dual heroines, and changing the title to S&S broadens the themes of the book. Typically Elinor is seen as the sensible one, and Marianne the sensitive one. But one of the interesting things about this book is how they do a switch, and by the end of the book Elinor is able to touch into her emotions in a way she wasn’t able to before, and Marianne makes much better choices, and shows more sense, which she was lacking at first. So this title change is important because it alludes to the sister’s transformations and dual nature, which I think everyone can relate to. We, all of us, have dual natures, a little bit of sense and a little bit of sensibility!

Margaret is often the overlooked younger sister in this novel–what do you think of her role in this novel?

Margaret Dashwood is mentioned sparsely throughout novel. Her character appears to be minor, existing as a particular supportive element for the her sisters. All her life depends on the events related to the members of her family, and she can not wait to live it by herself and feel all the patience of the independent existence.

What did you think about Willoughby’s apology? Did you feel sympathetic towards him?

I have very unsympathetic feelings toward Willoughby. He seems like a fuckboi and I just don’t like him.

What did you think of Lucy Steele? Did you trust her at first, or were you suspicious of her eagerness to befriend Elinor?

I personally do not trust Lucy Steele. There are moments where she seems to be intentionally petty, and I her keeping secret engagements makes her even less likeable.

Chapter 23 highlights her scheming character traits best, in my opinion. She is seen offering pointed information that Elinor hasn’t explicitly asked for, suggesting that Lucy is purposely choosing what to tell Elinor, and illuminates her pushing Elinor for information in an artful way.

In the end, Lucy gets what she wants—a wealthy husband who allows her to move up the social ladder through marriage. As the narrator says of her at the conclusion of the novel, she is a prime example of what someone can achieve when he or she is persistent, self-interested, and determined.

How do secrets drive Marianne and Elinor’s actions?

Secrets have a lot of power in the novel, both kept secrets and secrets revealed. 

CH 23 — “The necessity of concealing from her mother and Marianne, what had been entrusted in confidence to herself, though it obliged her to unceasing exertion, was no aggravation of Elinor’s distress.”

CH 29 — “Nor I,” answered Marianne with energy, “our situations then are alike. We have neither of us any thing to tell; you, because you do not communicate, and I, because I conceal nothing.”

Which sister seems to change the most over the course of the novel? Who would you say is the heroine of the story, or do they share the role equally? 

Elinor and Marianne’s characters both show great development and growth by the end of the book. Typically Elinor is seen as representing sense and Marianne as representing Sensibility throughout the novel, but as the novel goes on, the heroines are able to learn from each other and that drives their characters’ evolution. By the end, Elinor has learned to be more sensible, and Marianne has learned to be more sensical, and that is one of the greatest journeys: learning that it is okay to be a little bit of both.

If I had to choose, I would say Elinor is the heroine of the story, in the same way that Lizzy is the heroine of P&P. P&P presents a story where the heroines are lifted up from poverty to wealth, marry rich handsome gentlemen, and get to marry for love. S&S presents more of a story about choices–both sisters marry, but Elinor gets her man in the end because she makes more rational choices from point A to B. Marianne loses her first choice because of her desperate actions, poor decision-making, and lack of foresight. She marries a good man in the end, but unlike Elinor, she ends up with her second-choice after incredible suffering and heartbreak. It makes her a stronger character, but it is much less idealized than the HEA of P&P.

How would you compare/contrast P&P to S&S? How are they similar, and how are they different?

Ofc P&P is still my favorite, but it’s always interesting to go through her other works and read them closer. I have to say that I do see a lot of similarities between P&P/S&S—even the titles stand out as the most similar of her stories. However, while Pride and Prejudice leans more towards a fantasy HEA, Sense and Sensibility presents a much more realistic (albeit cynical) take on love.

Jane Austen Book Club – Pride & Prejudice Discussion Qs

Pride and Prejudice is my personal favorite—and, arguably the most favorited of all Jane Austen’s novels—so I thought I would start there. Pride & Prejudice is one of the most loved and widely adapted of Austen’s works. Since it was first published in 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies, and is now one of the most recognizable names in British literature. Though it was written over 200 years ago, it remains relevant. Not only is it a beautifully written love story with a happy ending, but it contains timeless insights about human nature that reminds readers that first impressions can often be wrong.

Discussion Questions to think about while reading Pride and Prejudice:

What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?

What was your favorite moment of the book? What is your least favorite?

The working title of the book was First Impressions. Why is Pride and Prejudice a better title? In what ways are Darcy and Elizabeth guilty of both pride and prejudice and how does this drive the action of the story?

Marriage, as something to be aspired to, is portrayed quite differently in the novel than in existing marriages. What married couples do we see in the novel? How would you characterize these relationships?

Two central characters in Jane Austen’s works have her own first name. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Bennet is described as “everything lovely.” In Emma, Jane Fairfax’s character is described as a “decorous, talented, beautiful woman.” What do you make of that?

Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters people you would want to meet?

Is Elizabeth Bennet consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How so?

How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? What makes this novel “timeless”?

My responses:

What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?

Some of the themes in the book center around the idea of love versus the institution of marriage, the expectations placed on women, social class and status, as well as manners and integrity.

What was your favorite moment of the book? What is your least favorite?

One of my favorite moments of the book is when Lizzy realizes her love for Darcy. “I do, I do like him,” she replied, with tears in her eyes; “I love him.” And then she goes on to say how she was so wrong about him, and I just think it is such a beautiful moment of self-realization and romance.

Another favorite is Caroline’s quote on libraries: How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

One of my least favorite moments is when Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. It just doesn’t sit right with me that she took Lizzy’s leftovers. Another low is everything about the slimy f-boy rake Mr. Wickham.

The working title of the book was First Impressions. Why is Pride and Prejudice a better title? In what ways are Darcy and Elizabeth guilty of both pride and prejudice and how does this drive the action of the story?

First Impressions was a great working title because it captures the essence of the story, but I think using the words Pride and Prejudice helps to narrow it down even more. Lizzy and Darcy’s first impressions of each other were wrong because of their pride and their prejudice, and they are given the space to work through their misunderstandings and reevaluate their first impressions. There are many times throughout the book that various characters are very judgy in general, and I think that also plays into pride and prejudices in a way. Also, both Lizzy and Darcy show signs of being prideful and prejudiced at various times throughout the book, though traditionally Darcy is aligned with Pride and Lizzy is meant to be Prejudice.

Marriage, as something to be aspired to, is portrayed quite differently in the novel than in existing marriages. What married couples do we see in the novel? How would you characterize these relationships?

I would categorize most of the married relationships in the novel as unhappy, or lacking in some way. My personal favorite couple is Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, I just think their toxic dynamic so so hilarious. I think this is Austen’s way of poking fun at the institution of marriage. She herself remained unmarried while all or most of her main characters get HEAs. This seems a bit satirical and ironic to me, that a woman who wrote about characters who strive toward the ideal of marriage did not actually practice what she preached. 

It also has always left me wondering about her own relationships. Some scholars have speculated about Jane’s love life, and some theories suggest she was jilted by the love of her life, Tom Lefoy. But there is no concrete evidence and it is just a fan theory that I frequently wonder about.

Two central characters in Jane Austen’s works have her own first name. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Bennet is described as “everything lovely.” In Emma, Jane Fairfax’s character is described as a “decorous, talented, beautiful woman.” What do you make of that?

I find it hilarious that Jane had a habit of naming her most talented and beautiful characters after herself! 

Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters people you would want to meet?

Some of the characters I find very likeable, and I would still like to meet some of the unlikeable characters just because they bring so much drama to a room!

Is Elizabeth Bennet consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How so?

I would categorize Elizabeth Bennet as a bit inconsistent, actually. I think she is written with flaws, as are most of the characters, and given room to grow, which is important to her character arc. By the end of the novel she has had time to change her mind on certain things, and the fact that she is a character who can admit her mistakes and learn from them makes her a strong character.

How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? What makes this novel “timeless”?

Though it was written over 200 years ago, Pride and Prejudice remains relevant today. Not only is it a beautifully written love story with a happy ending, but it contains timeless insights about human nature that reminds readers that first impressions can often be wrong. There have been countless adaptations of this story that continue to borrow the enemy-to-lovers trope, because it is an age-old idea that is universal. 

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 200 years, and we are all just Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants and recycling the same Seven Basic Plots. Reinterpreting their ideas and making them modern isn’t a new idea. Literature has always been intertextual – writers have forever been influenced by other writers. We are all only standing on the shoulders of giants, and the fact that Jane Austen’s books are still discussed, read, reworked and adapted 200 years later just proves the timelessness of her writing.

2023: The Year of Jane Austen

I talked about my attempt to finish reading all of Jane Austen’s books a bit in my last post, and how 2023 is going to be my new Year of Jane. This year, I plan to read all of Jane Austens works, including rereading my old favorites, as well as some of her lesser-known and unfinished works. There are roughly enough to fill in a whole year if I pick one book a month. So here is a rough sketch of my yearly plan, though it may shift a bit here is my generalized reading schedule. And if you would like to join along for discussions and group reads, come join the Jane Austen Book Club today!

January: Pride and Prejudice

February: Sense and Sensibility

March: Sandition *season 3 of Sanditon premieres March 19

April: Emma

May: Mansfield Park

June: Love and Friendship

July: Lady Susan

August: Persuasion

September: The Watsons

October: Northanger Abbey and The Mysteries of Udolpho

November: Poems

December: Fanny Burney’s CamillaCecelia and Evelina, or Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (all of which were some of Jane Austen’s favorite books)

Join my Jane Austen Book Club HERE!

Join my Jane Austen Book Club!

Join my Jane Austen Book Club!

For lovers of Jane Austen and Historical Romance, come join the Jane Austen Book Club today!

It is no secret that I absolutely adore Jane Austen. She is easily my favorite classic author, and Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favorite book. I even planned on finishing reading her entire works last year in what I dubbed “My Year of Jane Austen” … sadly I fell a few books short of my goal.

So, 2023 is my NEW Year of Jane. I plan to read the works I have yet to finish (Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey, as well as her unfinished works and poems), as well as re-read the ones I already know. Because with each reading I gain something new, and I will never be tired of reading Jane Austen. I would also like to read more fan fiction, and some of the books that were Jane Austen’s favorites in her life. So, If you would like to join me for a Year of Jane, this book club is for you!

This Jane Austen Book Club idea is something I have been playing around with for a long time, and I thought I would just go for it! And what better time than during my Year of Jane? In the club, I hope to suggest Austen-esque book recommendations, plan group reads and discussions, and hopefully connect with other Austenites and Janeites! If this is something you would be interested in, come join the club and suggest our next book!

An A-Z of Jane Austen

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An A-Z of Jane Austen by Michael Greaney

This was such an interesting read! Jane Austen is my all-time fav, and I always jump at the chance to learn more about her and her life.

I took so many notes and made too many annotations, but there were so many important passages and I just wanted to highlight everything! 26 short essays highlight keywords concepts and activities that would’ve been important to Jane Austen, and discussed in her books. Some stand out chapters include B is for bath, H is for horse, D is for dance, and V is for visits. I loved these essays and learned even more about Jane and the Regency era 🤍

Thank you so much to @bloomsburypublishing for sending me a copy!

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A Lady For A Duke by Alexis Hall

This new racy regency romance is everything and everyone should read it immediately!

I have truly never read anything quite like it. It is a story about a woman trying to find herself, and a man who loves her as she is. But it is more than that—it is also an exploration into identity, femininity, love, change, forgiveness; it is the story of two souls finding love, and learning to accept each other unconditionally.

The Regency Era was not a great time for the lgbtq+ community, and though this is a fiction story, it’s not hard to imagine people actually going through this. Which is incredibly sad, but also empowering, because Viola is truly a role model! Her story is powerful, and important, and valid.

“I am trapped between who I am and who I was, always terrified that one will swallow the other.”

Lady Viola struggles with self-acceptance, confidence, and identity. Her fears and struggles move the story forward and give readers a glimpse into the difficulties transgender people face daily. From navigating the alien territory of finding clothing to fit your body, to being uncomfortable with small daily tasks (needlepoint or tea pouring or letter writing) that women seem to know as second nature, Viola feels behind in her womanhood, as if she missed out on precious and formative moments of girlhood. She also wants to overcome the shame and fear she carries, and pushes to make her own space in the world, for the freedom to live authentically, no matter the costs, which is what makes her such a strong character.

“But it was hard to put into words. It took a long time.”

Duke Justin goes through an inner journey of learning to accept Viola as herself, and eventually understands that she always was Viola, and proves to be an ally as well as a friend. He struggles with addiction, ptsd, and the ghosts of his past, but Viola is able to help his overcome his struggles, just as he helps her. They are very cute together, and they have great chemistry!

“We can make our own world, Viola, with our own rules.”

Light is a huge theme of the book, fading sunsets and shadows show dark, sundials for the passing of time, and echoes to reference the past. Chrysanthemums are also a hugely important theme in the book. Viola returns to this flower again and again, as it means something to her. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, the chrysanthemum represents friendship, happiness, and well-being: everything she wishes for, what her soul seeks.

“Your life is yours, you did what you needed to live it.”

Also. I demand fan art for page 283, and all of chapter 34 & 35!!! The descriptions of Viola’s flowing gowns are to-die-for and I want to see every single bit of her wardrobe! If you are a fan of Jane Austen, Bridgerton, The Courtship, and period drama, THIS is the book for you!!!

I Am All Agony, No Hope: Reviewing Netflix’s New Persuasion “Adaptation”

Generally, I appreciate all page-to-screen adaptations: all press is good press, and whether you love or hate the new film, it is doing a lot for reigniting interest in the book.

When I found out that this adaptation would be inspired by the book rather than a faithful adaptation of Persuasion (a la Bridgerton) I had high hopes for it. HOWEVER. My personal opinion of this movie is that it is absolute trash.

“I am all agony, no hope”

I saw a lot of criticism around the film, and it kind of influenced my opinion before I could even watch for myself. TBH I was skeptical of the criticism. I wanted to believe that it couldn’t be as bad as people were saying. But after watching for myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the critics.

I think the most disappointing thing is that this adaptation was passed over for the Sarah Snook version, which seemed to lean more towards a faithful adaptation, whereas this version is clearly only based on the book and takes MANY creative liberties.

Fans of this version found the variety refreshing and funny, and seem to appreciate the deliberate changes. And if you found this version relatable and enjoyable, I am happy for you, and I am not here to change your mind. But I, personally, did not find this version relatable or enjoyable.

To be clear, I am a Janeite, but not a purist. I have no possession over Anne Elliot. I had never even read Persuasion until just before the release of this movie. So it’s not like I was set on hating this movie from the start. My personal favorite of Jane Austen’s is Pride and Prejudice. I bring it up to make this point about adaptations: I find value in the 1995 P&P for it’s gold-standard accuracy. I love the dreamy Hollywood 2005 version for its nostalgic soundtrack and cinematic scenes. I appreciate silly spin-offs like Lost in Austen and Austenland. Because, at the heart of them, they are able to take my favorite story and re-tell it, in different ways, but it is still the same story I love told over and over. Unfortunately, this ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion attempts to rewrite the story itself rather than retelling it, making it unrecognizable for those who do love the original story of Persuasion.

The point of an adaptation is found in the name—it is meant translate, modify, and adapt the text. At their worst, adaptations can lack real understanding of the source material, which seems to be exactly what happened here with Carrie Cracknell’s ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion.

I definitely agree that it seems like no one on the team at any point read Persuasion. It’s like they read the wiki summary and then wrote a play inspired by that bad summary. The script itself doesn’t seem to take much from the text. It seems that the actual story of Persuasion merely inspired the script. Which is weird. Fans understand the need to modernize the dialogue of Austen’s works, but here it was taken so far that it completely changes the story. It’s not at all how it goes in the book, and that is why fans are so upset. So many liberties are taken to make a new story, that at this point, they should have just written a new story. It’s irritating. Like, if they wanted to do a new modern movie set in the Regency Era, why not just do that? Don’t ruin a favorite classic and then claim to be reinventing the period drama.

So let’s begin with how they ruined Anne Elliot. Anne’s emotional intensity is a huge driving force of her character. Austen writes of Anne’s “elegance of mind and sweetness of character,” sensibilities, and compassion. In the book, her feelings are super intense inwardly, but she is still classy and has manners. Controlled passion! But this Anne is just a crybaby! In contrast to the book, the movie shows her pining from the start, and that just didn’t seem like Anne to me. The movie made her a damsel in distress, and completely misses the nuances that make Anne endearing. Which becomes an issue later in the film when we see Louisa’s declaration that “she won’t hear any ill talk of Anne”. Because as far as the film goes, it doesn’t make sense that Louisa would defend Anne like that. The film did a terrible job of showing Anne’s merits, making her snarky and dislikeable instead of the compassionate Anne we love.

I am seriously displeased that Anne’s ‘thing’ is breaking the fourth wall. It takes away from her character. If revolutionary was what they were going for, I hate to break it to them, but the rupturing of the fourth wall has already been done (see Patricia Rozema’s charming take on Mansfield Park from 1999). And it’s pointless if there’s no purpose behind any of it. Though Cracknell comes with a hefty portfolio, her work on Persuasion comes off as a gimmick capitalizing on current trends. How exactly does the line, “it is said if you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath”, improve on Austen’s work or make it any more palatable to modern audiences? Or what about the comments on being “an empath” and focusing on “self-care”? These are all just marketing buzzwords.

These memes really highlight the language barrier, for me:

And whyyyyy did they have to make her an alcoholic? What is the point of that? It was supposed to be funny and plucky, but it’s just painful. I really loved the cinematography during the hangover scene, with the ASMR toast-scratching… and then it was shattered with the bad acting. They didn’t have to make her an alcoholic to make that a powerful scene, she could have just been hungover one day, and it would have hit even harder.

I can’t even talk about the octopus. Please don’t ask.

Sir Walter, Mary and Elizabeth were all well cast. Mary is my favorite kind of Jane Austen character, and thankfully she seems to be a fan-favorite. I love the complain-y blabbering ones, and the humor that makes Mary worked really well with the tone of the film. She is the silver lining in a dark raincloud of horror.

I also liked Wentworth, but it didn’t seem like he had much chemistry with Anne unfortunately, It’s unique though because I don’t usually see a romance that only has chemistry on one side. His acting is really good, but Anne is ruining the illusion for me. I think she would’ve made a pretty good Jane Austen, like if they remade Becoming Jane she probably would’ve been good in that role. I don’t think she did bad in this role–I’m just upset that they made her break that fourth wall and do all of that like Jim-from-the-office eyebrow work. I admit that I liked what they did with the cinematography and the set design and the costumes I think the only thing I didn’t really like was the script. But it is so bad that it makes everything else unforgiveable. I really loved Mary’s Musgrove‘s character, but I think they really disrespected Anne and Wentworth, specifically.

I did find the costume design quite interesting, and along with the set design, costume was my favorite element of the movie. Costume design, especially in commercial entertainment, is always at the mercy of 21st century: directorial artistic visions, pretty productions, and budget constraints are all factors that make it nearly impossible to retain complete historical accuracy in any modern adaptation. So I was pleased with the way Marianne Agertoft approached costume design for this movie. The costumes in Persuasion are precisely, painstakingly rooted in Regency dress; have just enough artistic license to make a statement; and offer an approach to period costuming that feels entirely fresh. 

The cinematography and set design were the standout early-on in the film. With lavish and bold sets, this show really could have done so much more as a satire of wealth, and unfortunately, misses so many points. The director was still able to do some great things with the camera though—take a look at this shot of Lyme, for example. Here we see everyone walking along the sea-wall, but the last lady (Mary) skips off on her own, oblivious, as-always marching to the beat of her own drum, while everyone else keeps in formation. This is a great play on the Regency rules of society, and gives us a small glimpse at women who break away from that mold (if only for a moment).

They should have done more with Sir Elliot, IMO. To me, his fall from grace was a huge point. The tone of the film could have done a lot as a parody of privilege, but instead they focus on modernizing Anne’s character, which just butchers the story. The vanity of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall is highlighted really spectacularly with grand shots like this one:

And I really liked that last line about “dont let anyone tell you how to live, or who to love. “(But even then she was more narrating, she wasn’t talking at us through the screen, so maybe that’s why I liked that little scene). I like how they redeem it and they come back to the sextant thing, that’s cute too. But nowhere near enough to redeem the film, for me. This is an adaptation I will not be able to watch over and over, sadly, this is going to bottom of my list.

Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price

The second book in the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series is as thrilling as the first, and full of twists that leave readers in suspense until the very end.

True to its name, Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility expectedly touches on the themes of good sense versus emotional sensitivity. Set in the late 1700s, Austen’s novel takes place in a world where there are limited roles and opportunities for women in society. Austen’s female characters do not inherit property and cannot have careers. Their futures and fortunes depend almost exclusively on the men they marry and they are expected to be dutiful, upstanding ladies of society. But, Austen depicts her female characters as thoughtful, clever, ambitious women. Even while living in a male-dominated world, female characters are able to exert power and agency.

In the same spirit, Sense and Second Degree Murder also focuses on themes of women’s role in society, but with a more modern twist. This series is set during the regency era, but does take creative liberties with what may or may not have been proper for young ladies of the time. Price’s versions of Eleanor and Marianne Dashwood allow her to explore tensions that wouldn’t have been polite topics of conversation in the original Jane Austen novels, updating the story for a modern audience. In this new story, we see the sisters take a stronger control over their destiny. While their fate still remains tied to the choices of others (read: men), this telling allows them more power over their situation as they take control of solving their fathers mystery, empowering them to act rather than sit by and wait.

Retellings are important. They keep us in conversation with authors of the past, they bring relevance back to stories of the past, proving that human nature is universal and unchanging. And retellings like this are especially important, because they bring modern concepts and ideas back to the story, keeping them relevant and talked about. We still feel the same feelings that humans have felt for centuries, and will continue to feel for eons. We, all of us as humans, exist and are destined to share the same thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires, and dreams, not only that other humans are feeling, but that humans have always felt. We are all different, but we are also all the same, and always will be. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.

The Jane Austen Murder Mystery Series by Tirzah Price:

Pride and Prejudice and Social Anxiety

I recently re-read Pride and Prejudice and have come to the shocking realization that I am Mr. Darcy. Besides the fact that he is the big book collector of the story, (What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!”), I identified a lot with the mental health struggles his character face. After this new look at the text, I noticed a lot of details that made me view Darcy’s character less as prideful and more as socially anxious.

dear-mr-darcy gifs | WiffleGif
Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (2005) captures the essence of anxiety better than any other adaptation yet.
Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice and Social Anxiety”

A Modern Jane Austen Wardrobe

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady who loves Jane Austen also loves a good bonnet. That’s how I feel, anyway. In my teens, I became consumed with Pride and Prejudice and read it most nights (sometimes by candlelight), and can say it has really shaped my world view. I was and still am obsessed with the fashion and the history of Jane Austen’s time. I have watched every adaptation I can get my hands on. I keep a worn copy of Pride and Prejudice by my bedside, just in case I feel like flipping through it from time to time.

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The pastel- and muslin-filled world of the Jane Austen adaptations that I still watch on repeat (and plan to for the rest of my life) was brought to life by women I now worship. Brilliant costume designers like Jenny Beaven, Ruth Myers, and Jacqueline Durran who worked on Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice, respectively, imbued Austen’s characters with the historical likeness of Regency-period England as well as a timeless elegance that makes them and their style eternally beloved.

More recently, I was floored by Alexandra Byrne‘s sumptuous costumes in the new adaptation of Emma, which I strongly recommend for at-home viewing. Thanks to them, one of my biggest dreams is to don an empire-waist gown and white gloves and attend a Jane Austen ball (which, yes, is totally a thing!).

So. How is an avid austenite meant to dress in the world of fast-fashion??

Imagine yourself in a world where fans are used to shield smiles and secrets, and the best place to fall in love is on the dance floor. Think of the heavy use of organza and the endless streams of ribbons and pearls. A dream!

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Continue reading “A Modern Jane Austen Wardrobe”

Jane Austen Fashion: Regency or Georgian?

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I love learning about Jane Austen’s life and the history of fashion during her time. I absolutely love the costumes in the movie adaptations of her work, but there is one question that I have always had: is it Regency, or Georgian?

Jane Austen’s books are set in the Regency era (1811-1820), which is a sub-period of the Georgian era (1714-1830s). Austen’s books were written during the few short years when high-waisted empire dresses with short sleeves and décolletté necklines reigned supreme in the fashion world. When long sleeves were introduced in evening dress, she wrote Cassandra:

I wear my gauze gown today long sleeves & all; I shall see how they succeed, but as yet I have no reason to suppose long sleeves are allowable. Mrs. Tilson has long sleeves too, & she assured me that they are worn in the evening by many. I was glad to hear this.
– Jane Austen, 1814

Continue reading “Jane Austen Fashion: Regency or Georgian?”

A Jane Austen Road Trip Across England

IMG_4009Jane Austen‘s Pride & Prejudice was the first classic novel that I truly fell in love with. I have seen all six film adaptations multiple times, and read it more times than I can count. Reading her novels has been a comfort to me through good times and bad, and I can honestly say I have grown a kinship with the author. Promo Jane Austen – Editorial BarenhausBy reading her works I feel as if I know her, as if she is a dear friend and I am reading her letters. It is a dream of mine to see England through her eyes, visiting all the places she loved (as well as some of the locations featured in the films). I am not sure when, but someday I really want to go. Keep reading to see my ultra-secret Jane Austen themed English road-trip vacation plans!