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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Austen Purist vs. Wild-Child: Wishes & Wants | a Janeite Roundtable discussion


We're nearly to the end of yet another Austen in August, which means we're down to our final 2 Janeite Conversations (frowny face). For today's chat, we're breaking down what type of Janeite we (mostly) are, traditional purist or out-there experimentalist, and what it is we'd most like to see as a result. I asked:
Are you an Austen traditionalist, or experimentalist? And based on that, what would you most like to see happen in Austen adaptations, that you haven't come across yet, or don't think there's enough of?
MARIA: I’m writing the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, I think that makes me an experimentalist, don’t you think? ;)

ME: Oh, yeah. . . I may have heard something about that. [Psst! There's a giveaway!]

KAREN & MARILYN, at the same time: I’d definitely say I’m an experimentalist!

KAREN: Don’t get me wrong; I love the novels themselves and the Regency continuations and alternate paths. But I don’t like to confine my alternate paths to the Regency period in England.

MARILYN: What I find most appealing about Austen is how relevant her insights remain across time and culture. So, for me, any storyline that pushes the boundaries or provides a unique combination of genres is of immediate interest.

KAREN: *nods* I think Austen’s characters and themes transcend her time and place. For example, I’m a huge fan of the movie “Bride and Prejudice”.

MARILYN: I love moderns and time travel, and I think there could be some really fascinating cross-cultural Austen adaptations, much like Bollywood's "Bride & Prejudice," which I thought was quite fun.

*Karen & Marilyn stop to stare at each other, and realize that they maybe have a lot in common. A perfect new friendship is formed... *

MARIA: Seriously though, I’d love to see more adaptations escape the pure Regency Romance genre and delve into fantasy or even science fiction.

KAREN: I’d love to see Austen in different time periods like the Roaring 20s, the turbulent 60’s—and in as many places as there are authors to write them: the Far East, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, the Old West, etc.

ME: Yes! Agreed! All of those things!

MARIA: Those genres were my first loves and I don’t see why Jane Austen’s stories can’t inspire there as well.

ME: Of the few more "out there" retellings I've read, there's been an added layer of enjoyment in seeing certain key things translated to a wholly different settings and genres. It becomes almost like a little Easter egg hunt, finding all the hidden allusions to Austen. Take For Darkness Shows the Stars, for example.

MARIA: I’m currently convinced that dragons were definitely around in Regency England and there in the background of Pride and Prejudice. And yes, I have something of a Mansfield Park SF hatching right now, but it may be a while before it’s ready for prime time.

ME: Ooooh. Color me intrigued!

MARIA: Yeah, I’m definitely experimentalist.



CECILIA: *raises hand* Definitely an experimentalist. I love seeing Austen's tropes and themes explored across new genres, even the zombie kind. 

ME: *mutters* Even if most of the "big" zombie one wasn't that great. . .

CECILIA: I suppose we haven't seen Austen in space yet? Or a westernized Austen? 

ME: Well . . . Although it's not set in space, For Darkness Shows the Stars is futuristic. And Pemberley Ranch is Westernish, I believe. Maybe a little more Southernish than Westernish, but -- it's Texas, those are sometimes the same thing.

CECILIA: What I would really love to see is more Austen crossed with Kdramas. The angst!!! It would be deliciously unbearable.

ME: Haha! I think that would actually pair really well, strangely. Why didn't anyone talk about that in our Mashups chat?!

NICOLE: I’m pretty traditional. I want the characters to remain true to themselves, and I prefer period settings.

ME: I think that's the choice for a lot of people, actually. There's comfort in it.

NICOLE: When you really look at so much of what is being produced in entertainment, most of it is a repetition of certain themes anyway. If you’re going to call something an Austen spin-off, it should look a great deal like Austen (but that’s just my personal preference).

ME: Fair. I mean, lord knows, some things are "Austenesque" in name only. Sometimes even if they're in a traditional Regency setting. (Ahem.)

NICOLE: I would love to see Lady Russell and Mrs Bennet together someday. They would be a force to be reckoned with. I also need to pick up some Jack Caldwell soon, and I’m certain there are others, but I would really like to see Colonel Brandon and Colonel Fitzwilliam. It might also be fun to see Fanny Price give George Wickham the cold shoulder.

ME: Now, that is something I'd like to see! Okay, who haven't we heard from. Alexa? Melissa? Purist, or experimentalist?

MELISSA: A bit of both!

ALEXA: *nodsI'm a bit of both.

ME: Haha! So long as it's Jane, it's all good?

MELISSA: There’s nothing I like more than settling into an eight-part BBC adaptation that’s as true as possible to the original, but I also love some of the more creative adaptations that have come about over the years. (Clueless is an obvious favorite).

ALEXA: I like to think out of the box with my plots, but I also try extremely hard to stay true to the characters' personalities, as Austen conceived them. I don't particularly care for plots that delve heavily into the protagonists' sex lives, as it just feels kind of wrong to me.

ME: . . . yeah. Same. Wouldn't want to seem uncouth. *looks around shiftily, slides all of her smutty Austen retellings out of sight with her foot*

ALEXA: *pretends not to notice* What I really enjoy is when authors flush out the minor characters, bringing them fully to life, or write tales of redemption for the villains. I find that highly gratifying, especially when it is done in a believable way.

MELISSA: My one rule is that they need to be true to how funny and smart Austen’s writing is. It can’t just be all longing-gazes-across-a-drawing-room. There has to be spark.

ME: I think that's where it lies for me, too. A retelling can take any approach it wants, but it needs to capture something that makes me feel Austen in its pages. Even if the adaptation strays far from the original in some really big ways, as long as it captures what Austen created AND manages to meld that believably (changes and sameness and all) with whatever the author is going for, then I'm game.
I'm not a purist, and I'm not an experimentalist, I'm a Janeist.

What about you, my lovelies? Do you prefer corsets and carriages, or rock stars and theme parks? Let us know in the comments which type of Janeite you are, and what you've been wanting to see in an adaptation!




This Janeite Chat featured the following fabulous ladies:

Alexa Adams — books  |  goodreads  |  website  | twitter
Marilyn Brant — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter
Nicole Clarkston — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter
Karen M. Cox — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter
Maria Grace — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter
Cecilia Gray — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter
Melissa Pimentel — books  |  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter

Go check out their books!




Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

5 comments:

  1. Just because I don't write "smutty" JAFF doesn't mean I don't read it! Had to clarify. Great fun as always, Misty.

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  2. These conversations are always so stimulating and fun. I think I swing both ways, too. Mood reader/watcher. I think you hit on my salient need there in the end- it has to feel like Austen in the wit and sparkle not just be a swoony period piece or a clever modern or fantasy that has a little of the Austen feel.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To take the phrase from Sophia Rose…I suppose I swing both ways, too! :P :)

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  4. I am a bit of both actually. I like the traditional Regency setting and can venture out of my comfort zone. I've never tried fantasy and science fiction as in dragons, steampunk and zombies as I'm not comfortable with the elements. How about in the medieval era? I've never read a published JAFF book which takes place during the period.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like both but prefer experimentalist as I feel I have the original as the perfect purist novel and like to see the characters I love in completely different settings. Since I am a fantasy reader, my favorite jaff stories are ones with fantasy elements.

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