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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Assignment Austen #2: Firsts

Last week I gave you a mission, an assignment, if you will, to watch an Austen adaptation that was made in the 80s (like me!). This week, we're creeping forward in time (for me, and some of you), or backward in time (for others of you), or maybe stopping RIGHT NOW (for the rest) to finally rewatch (or just plain ol' watch) our first Austen movie.

You may remember it fondly. You may remember it not at all. Chances are, it was the thing that got you into Austen in the first place. But we all have a first time with Austen, or what we count as our first, and this weekend, the goal is to revisit those warm, fuzzy memories, and see if the film lives up to the nostalgia.
(Or, if you're a fledgling Janeite and have yet to dive into the world of  her films, it's time to pick one and finally commit!)

So the field is wide open for this week's Assignment Austen — just think back to your first Austen adaptation (or what you think is your first Austen adaptation), track down a copy if you can, and sit down and watch it.
Bonus Janeite points if you share updates online with the hashtag #AustenInAugust.

As for me, my "first" Austen is complicated. I think I may have seen Sense & Sensibility first, I don't really remember or associate it with my first Austen, and I don't remember it at all from my childhood; it just seems like I would have watched it. Always a fan of the period piece, I.

So then technically, my first memorable Austen would have been Clueless — but again, at the time, I was unfamiliar with Austen, and had no idea it was an adaptation. Plus, we already had a twitter livechat about it.

No, the one I count as my first Austen, the one that changed me, that hooked me, that set me on the path, is 1996's Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.
And that is the one I'll be watching.

Last week, when we watched an 80s adaptation, I had no intention of livetweeting the experience — but boy, I sure did! So this week I'm just embracing the fact that that's gonna happen, and inviting you to join me:

This Sunday night, 8:30 pm EST 
I will be watching Emma and chatting about it on Twitter with the hashtag #AustenInAugust.
It's available on  Netflix, or for rental on Youtube or Amazon, if you'd like to join me.
I hope to see you there!

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!


  1. I first found Jane Austen in the early 1990s, a few years before the big Austen boom which started in 95. So my first Austen adaptation watch was... 1940 P&P, which was on TV one day. It bears very little resemblance to the story, but it's good ole Hollywood fun and I am very fond of it :)

    1. That's the one with the giant Victorian ballgowns, right? lol
      I need to try to track down a copy.

  2. My first encounter with Austen was with Pride & Prejudice, in the form of the 1980 mini-series that pretty much *no one* has ever seen :( I was absolutely riveted, and soon after picked up the book. While I don't think that version is the truest to the book (you can't really beat the Colin Firth 6-hour version for accuracy), and the Darcy is, as critics have pointed out, rather "wooden", I still have a very soft spot in my heart for the 1980 rendition. The Mr. Collins is absolutely ridiculous and does such a good job of getting under the skin (he's my favourite version of that character), Mrs. Bennet is played true to her character (very chatty, and not terribly bright, but well-meaning) and doesn't come off as super irritating, and the Elizabeth really captures her spirit and is probably the closest to the way I picture her when reading the book (although that could just be because this was the first version of P&P I saw, before I even read the book).


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