Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Miss Jane Austen and me | guest post from Jenetta James!

You guys might recall Jenetta James from last years "On Austen...In August" post, as well as my review of her book, Suddenly Mrs Darcy. She's rejoined us this year to talk about her history with Austen and how she became a Janeite — which might just be a bit of a theme this year... — in celebration of her latest, The Elizabeth PapersMake sure to pop in tomorrow for a chance to win a copy!


Miss Jane Austen and me

Firstly, thank you to Misty for hosting me again during Austen in August. In addition to this post, I am offering a giveaway (open internationally, either e-book or paperback, whichever the winner prefers) of my recent novel, The Elizabeth Papers, so make sure to stop back by tomorrow to enter!

So, this is the second year that I have taken part in this blog event and for the second time, have found myself writing the post whilst on holiday. I am blaming the holiday spirit for my slightly reflective mood on both occasions. This post is about how I “met” Miss Austen and why (I think) it has turned out to be such an enduring acquaintance.

When I was 11, an Aunt of mine gave me the complete Jane Austen. She suggested that I wait a few years before reading any of it and in any event, that I should read Persuasion last. The reason for this was her view that Persuasion is the best one and the most mature. Being a bit of a contrarian, I immediately got started on Anne Elliott’s tale of second chances. I was mostly lost. The romance was not quite the sort to touch an 11 year old girl (although I did like Captain Wentworth, even then), and the social satire left me completely baffled. Back on the shelf went my Jane Austen library, for the time being.

Fast forward 2 years and the BBC’s now famous mini series burst into living rooms around the country, including ours. The series was very well advertised before it was broadcast and my Jane Austen donating Aunt called to check that I’d read it, to which I had to say, no. So, a friend and I decided to try to “read along”. Trouble was, the BBC didn’t issue guidance on how many chapters to an episode, and the whole thing turned into a bit of a comedy of errors. We hadn’t read as far as the Hunsford proposal and so were as astounded as Elizabeth when it came on screen.

Still, I loved it and it gave me the confidence, slowly, to move onto Sense & Sensibility and then Emma and so on. I finally read and enjoyed Persuasion at 29. Over the years, there have been lots of re-readings, lots of dipping in and out. I took Pride & Prejudice into hospital with me when I was in labour with my first baby, although it is fair to say that this was another misjudgement on my part, as there wasn’t much reading of anything involved.

Miss Austen is an author who seems to ask the reader to link arms with her and go for a wander. She is companionable in a way unrivalled by other classic writers. For myself, I put her long standing place in my life down to the acutely observed characters, who we can all recognise and the blend of satire and romance that pervades her work. There is a humour and a hopefulness in it which comes back to me time and time again and is, I suppose, why I never tire of any of it.

I would love to read about when and how you “met Miss Austen”…

Leave a comment below telling us how you became a Janeite as an entry in tomorrow's giveaway of The Elizabeth Papers

*To be officially entered, you will have to fill out the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page, in which one of the entries is leaving a comment. You will not have to leave a new comment to enter -- just click enter!





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenetta James is the nom de plume of a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers are available now!

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

26 comments:

  1. How fun! Love reading about how Jenetta first encountered Miss Austen. I too was given a bundle of the novels for a birthday, but my mom wanted to read with me so we read aloud together through Pride & Prejudice. I was just a kid so didn't appreciate Austen as much as when I re-read all the novels as a teen and then again later.

    Love The Elizabeth Papers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and might I say, that I love the way Jenetta describes how it is reading Austen's work- an invitation to go with her on a walk.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Sophia - you're a star! Sounds like we have both grown up with JA then :-)

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was around 10 when I first saw the 1940s version of P&P with my grandma. She loved watching old movies and I loved watch them with her. That is when my obsession with her began. I had her take me to library to get copies of her books. My mother thought I was to young to understand them but my grandma said to leave me alone. She said I had and old soul. So by the time I was say 15 I had read all her books and written may book reports on them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "She said I had an old soul" would be a great first line in a novel, I love it! I have never seen that film but know lots of people adore it. Sounds like you came to really love JA very young - which says a lot for her and you. Thanks for reading and commenting:-)

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was already well-acquainted with the Miss Bronte's when, at the age of 32, I was introduced to Miss Austen. I had never read her books--the gothic romance fan in me had dismissed them out of hand. I was happy to discover that not only was Persuasion (my first Austen read) beautiful and thoughtful, it was entirely relatable! Almost seven years later I have read and reread all of Austen's works, and every time if feels like being greeted by an old friend.

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway, as I already have a copy of Jenetta's marvelous book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Beau, you're very kind. I read Bronte first as well I think - I'm pretty sure that I had read at least Jane Eyre and WH before flirting with JA.

      Delete
  6. I was introduced to Miss Austen when I was 14 and I went to my local library to look for some historical fiction - my favorite genre even then. The librarian, a very special lady, asked if I had ever read Pride and Prejudice - which I had not and the rest is history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great recommendation that was - sometimes the old ones are the best right? Thank you for commenting

      Delete
  7. I read Jane Austen as a moody teenager (Emma/S&S/P&P) in high school but I confess I was more of a Thomas Hardy "Tess of the d'Ubervilles" dark and angsty girl and had no appreciation for Austen's sparkling wit and happily ever afters. Joe Wright's 2005 fanfiction-like movie "Pride & Prejudice" sparked my interest in all things Austen. After reading The Six major works, my thirst for more could not be slaked, despite discovering on-line JAFF, purchasing ALL the movie adaptations, and even joining and attending my first Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) Annual General Meeting--all within that first year! Eventually I became a life member of JASNA and my addiction continues. Presently I own and have read well over 400 Austen inspired novels...and cannot comprehend the neglect of the collection in such days as these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can just imagine you ploughing through all of these - there is something about them that makes you want more right?

      Delete
  8. I actually first became an Austen fan via the movies - Pride & Prejudice 2005 and the BBC series with Colin Firth. Now I've read all but one of her novels (Mansfield Park still to come!) & I am 100% hooked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy MP - that's a great story

      Delete
  9. Thank you Jenetta for the giveaway! For me, it was the BBC 1995 series that introduced me to P&P, but it wasn't until my second viewing that I was intrigued enough to read the book. After that, when I too was around 29, a friend of mine, who was back home during the summer in Romania, wrote to me telling me that she was falling in love with Jane Austen's P&P (but in romanian!). So I read it too again!! And then, it just started, I wanted to read it again, and again... (I was hooked!) but I didn't, because I thought at that point, I should read her other novels. And the 2005 movie came around the same time. I rapidly became a fan of Jane Austen, slowly discovering JAFF. I can say that since 2005, I haven't stopped reading either Austen's novels or JAFF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So often there is a link between TV and film and the books - it is great that they inspire each other. I wish I had the language skills to read it in a language other than English. I have been to Romania once and loved it. Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing your story

      Delete
    2. Sorry Jenetta for the misunderstanding: I made you think I'm from Romania but I'm not (I'm Canadian, from Québec). My friend is Romanian. I meant to say that while she was reading it in Romanian, I started reading it too, but in English. Actually, I speak French and I read P&P in French the first time... but since then, I've been reading Jane Austen's novels only in English. I just can't help myself, the language that she used is so beautiful... It takes a while at first to understand everything, because the vocabulary is so different from contemporary English. But after a while, and a lot of re-reads, you get to understand all the subtleties (well I hope so!). And you loose it all in a translation. The translation is another work in itself. It can be good, but it will never be the original... That's the way I see it.

      Delete
    3. Hi Lena - oh I see... What you say makes sense. I don't have the language skills to really know - my french is very much the 'school girl' variety although my husband (who is English) speaks fluent french says much the same as you - that the translation is a different work effectively.

      Delete
  10. I first discovered Jane Austen through the 1980 mini-series of P&P (which I feel like pretty much no one else has seen!). My parents had rented it and suggested I might enjoy watching it with them. The rest is history! I must have read P&P within the next couple years, and then branched out to other Austen books and adaptations.

    So, yeah, shout-out to the 1980 adaptation of P&P featuring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul! (And if anyone else has also seen it, let me know what you thought!)

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must admit I've never watched it but a lot of people say it is very underrated compared to subsequent adaptations. Thanks for sharing and good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  11. I am a new Janeite! (I know, you can shame me LOL)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is never too late to discover JA Kayla! :-)

      Delete
  12. I found Jane Austen when I was about 8 or 9 and I wanted to venture into the adult area of the library, to more mature of course. I saw Persuasion on a display and picked it up, it has been my favorite ever since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is an amazing novel - probably my favourite to re-read. Thanks for sharing, Jenetta:-)

      Delete
  13. after reading Pride and Prejudice at age 15; and seeing the DVD of the 1980 version I was hooked, and that is still my favourite version

    ReplyDelete

Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...