26/08/2009

SWAPPING LIVES & TIME TRAVELLING




EVERYTHING AUSTEN CHALLENGE- Task 3

“Today’s women are no less desirous of love, and marrying for love, than they were in your time. But they, like so many women before them, simply fear it is an unattainable goal. And thus they settle for what fleeting plasures they can find, creating an endless cycle of pleasure, despair, ad infinitum. Human nature is the same today as it was in your time. The only difference between today’s world and your world is that people have more choices now than they did then.” ( RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, p.265)

This Everything Austen Challenge has revealed a very pleasant and enriching experience to me. I must again thank Stephanie ( at STEPHANIE’S WRITTEN WORD) for this great adventure! Two days ago we were just discussing here on my blog the topic of dating and courting today respect to Jane Austen’s time and the discussion was brought about by Laurie Viera Rigler (HERE) , author of the book I’ve just finished as my third task for the challenge: RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT.
This is my first Austen-based book, never read one before, only the original novels by Jane. So I’m not an expert of the genre. RUDE AWAKENINGS is the sequel of Laurie’s first novel, CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, which I didn’ t read. What was this first experience like? Great pure amusement which reminded me the same kind of hilarious reaction I had after skeptically approaching LOST IN AUSTEN when the DVD got to me last September (or was it October?). I mean, I studied Jane Austen’s novels at university after reading some of them (only P & P and S & S) in my adolescence and that brought me to read them ( and every other novel ) professionally, because of my job (teaching literature). This is why I was rather skeptical toward Austen based fiction or adaptations. So, in order to read this novel for the challenge, I had to go back to the time I use to read just for fun day and night and leave apart the “professional tools”. Anyway, I was truly involved in the narration of the story, since Laurie knows Austen quite well and it is a pleasure to recognize that background while smiling at the entertaining series of misunderstandings, blunders, weird situations her time – travelling protagonist, JANE MANSFIELD, finds herself involved in . Jane wakes suddenly up in 2009 in Los Angeles but she is an English girl living in 1813, fondly in love with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. She is completely misplaced and shocked, her body even is a stranger’s one: she looks at herself in the mirror and sees a nice blondie everybody calls Courtney Stone!
Reading this novel I thought of LOST IN AUSTEN many times. There are many analogies between the stories, though I think CONFESSIONS has got more : In CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, a twenty-first-century Austen fan Courtney Stone awakens one morning in 1813 England as a gentleman’s daughter, Jane Mansfield—with comic and romantic consequences. In RUDE AWAKENINGS as I told you, Jane, the gentleman’s daughter from 1813 England, finds herself occupying the body of Courtney in the urban madness of twenty-first-century L.A. Since in LOST IN AUSTEN an Austen fan, Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper in the photo on the left) swaps her life with Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist of her favourite novel…I think it is obvious that I was always drawing comparisons while reading.


Have you seen LOST IN AUSTEN? It’s such fun!


I know many academic would turn up their noses at this kind of readings or TV series but I am convinced that reading as well as studying literature must be a pleasure. This is my philosophy even when I teach Austen or Dickens or Shakespeare to my students: they must contrast and compare those stories to their own experience and amuse themselves as much as they can. Not always an easy task, mine!


Warning you that there are huge spoilers in this clips, I invite you to see my favourite scenes from LOST IN AUSTEN. Are you ready?



14 comments:

Jenny Kerr said...

I thought Lost In Austen was so cute! I felt guilty because I KNEW Lizzy was supposed to be with Darcy, but I wanted Amanda to be with him. I love how the Darcy character was stiff but almost seemed to be lightening up at points in the show. I've read several JA sequels not written by JA. Some are great, some are funny and some are pure trash. You never know what gem you might uncover until you read them. Since I saw you post this book in your sidebar I thought it looked interesting and might read it one day. I'm trying to get my hands on a copy of "pride & Prejudice & Zombies" or "Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters". lol. They look funny to me. I think adaptations, variances and continuations are okay as long as you take them for what they are. It's like trying veggie burgers and expecting them to taste like meat, you'll be disappointed. But if you expect them to taste like the veg medly they are, you might just enjoy them!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Jenny Kerr
Good points, Jenny! I like your cuisine/Austen sequels simile, it's simply perfect!
I don't think I could ever read a book about zombies or monsters based on Austen. No, please!But let me know what you think after getting and reading them.

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi:) I never watched Lost in Austen- but now I"VE GOT TO!! I only watched your first clip (too afraid of spoiers that might be in the second one). I also want to read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict even though I didn't put this on my list for the challenge.

I totally agree with you that it's so important, especially in literature to help students embrace it all. grea post (and now I gotta get those books and movie!)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@ Ms.Lucy
Hope you'll have as much fun as I had, at least!
And... you made the right decision not watching the second clip. It's really sad to know the end of a story before even starting reading or watching it!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I enjoyed reading "Confessions" and can't wait to read "Rude Awakenings". I, also, thought "Lost in Austen" was great; definitely worth watching again.

lunarossa said...

Hi MG, Totally loved 'Lost in Austen' although I wasn't so taken by Mr Darcy as I was by the previous "serious" ones. I'm one of the many Colin Firth's devoted fans and he will always be THE Mr Darcy for me. A bit like you with RA. Ciao. A.

Luciana said...

Hi! So, I wasn't expecting much when I watched "Lost in Austen" last year, but it turned out to be great fun! I was just hoping we could have seen more of Lizzie's 21st century life!

P.S. I remembered you so much today Maria! I have a course in university that's called "Brazilian social, economical and political reality" and today was all about how our roots are TOTALLY connected with the italians! Well, you can see that at least by MY name!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Midnight cowgirl, Lunarossa, Luciana
Thanks for commenting, girls! I'm having breakfast with you and your kind words. It's about 6.30 and I must hurry to go to work. English exams this morning so I'm involved!

Table Talk said...

This is clearly another DVD I'm going to have to rent, isn't it? Where am I supposed to find time to watch all these DVDs, that's what I want to know. I have read Mrs Gaskell, by the way, so I will at least be able to watch 'North and South' without having to do the reading first.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Table Talk
Well, if you watch "North & South", let me know what you think about it. As for LOST IN AUSTEN...I found it extremely amusing! Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

MissBluestocking:

I haven't watched all of the episodes for Lost in Austen, but I found it entertaining, bringing to life my fantasies of going back in time!

but Mr Darcy in this tv show was a bit too....stiff for me. I mean, the way he moved about and all. He was too curt. There was no elegence to his gait.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@MissBluestocking
Hello there! I've read you're back at last.
In fact, June, LOST IN AUSTEN was quite amusing but DARCY's fans may be puzzled by the parodized character they find in this version. It is a parody of the real Darcy, that's it! Thanks for passing by and have a very good Sunday!

London Belle said...

I wasn't completely taken with Lost in Austen.
Its fun in parts but I doubt I'd buy it. Must admit I liked Mr Bingly over Darcy in this -never a good sign!There were however some great twists!!! And Im convinced that if Jane could re-edit the book she would add the lake scene!!!
xx

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@London Belle
I enjoyed watching Lost in Austen, it was fun. I had to buy the DVD if I wanted to see it. I agree with you there are great twists but I liked Darcy/Cowan, he was a funny parody of real Darcy. I'm not fond of blond blokes, this is maybe why I didn't like Bingley so much! The lake scene at Regency time? She should have been really too daring!