Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jane Austen Mania

It took me a while but I have now caught the Jane Austen fever. After watching "Pride and Prejudice" and then "Sense and Sensibility" on Masterpiece theatre for a few weeks in a row, I got hooked. Somehow the BBC versions were more realistic to me than the big Hollywood productions.

After watching those series, I had to rent "Becoming Jane" with Anne Hathoway, who does an excellent job of portraying this remarkable woman. As I forge on with my own writing career, I think about Jane and how amazing it would have been for a woman in the late 1700's and early 1800's to have her work published! She was way ahead of her time.

Jane's unrequited love story was so well done, even though I know they embellished a few details and maybe changed the timing of some events. Her conflict over her ill-fated love for Tom Lefroy, as well as her refusal to marry another man for money only, despite the pressure of her family, were poignantly portrayed.

So enthralled was I with this real life story, that I had to look up Tom Lefroy's biography. He married not long after his "flirtation" with Jane, and had 8 children, one of whom died in infancy. He went on to have an illustrious career as a Chief Justice in Ireland as well as to serve in politics. Unlike Jane who died quite young, Tom went on to live past 90. His first daughter was named Jane, and some speculate that it was after Jane Austen. He apparently did confess to a nephew that he had been in love with Jane. There is some proof as well that when Jane died, he travelled back to England for her funeral and that later he bought a rejection letter from one of the publishing houses. Now that is romantic! Big sigh!

So if you get a chance, rent "Becoming Jane", but have a box of tissue handy!

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