Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Becoming Jane?

Lately there has been a lot of hub-bub about the movie Becoming Jane. I, personally, ignored all the buzz due to a busy life that hasn't allowed me time to pay attention, let alone watch, any movies.

A friend of mine invited me and several others to go and watch the movie Becoming Jane but then read an article that dissuaded her from going to see the film after all. I hadn't gotten a chance to read until just now. Here is the article from Solo Femininity.
Here is the article from the Washington Post which is referenced in the Solo Femininity post. I would encourage anyone to read both of the articles as I think the two balance each other out (in terms of the secular and Christian).

Now here's where I admit that I really don't know all that much about Austen to begin with. What I do know is gleaned from various websites. I haven't put any additional time or effort into learning more about her. I enjoy her books very much and that's about as far as I go with it. Hence, I wasn't all too concerned with seeing the movie. Perhaps I still will, I don't know. I DO know that the above mentioned articles give me pause.

Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Hollywood. That's said with both a sign and a moan. I thought the Wall Street Journal pegged it well by quoting Spense saying,"

"The film captures Jane Austen's spirit and her values," Spence says. "I think she would have rather liked it. Besides, could you really make a movie where Jane flirts with a man and then never sees him again? What kind of a movie is that?"

Hollywood never can seem to leave well enough alone. Our lives apparently would be quite dull without Hollywood. In every respect. I do suspect that Austen would be amused.

2. I think that Christians (Solo Femininity) would be quick to judge it. However, not without valid reason and concern. From what I do know of Austen, she was very "by the book" about life. She wouldn't have behaved unhonorably. I think of Eleanor Dashwood and smile (I always HAVE liked her)!

Given those two things, I'm not overly inclined to see the film. In other words, I'm not going to pay to see it. Nor do I object to it, per se. If it's out on video and some friends of mine (you know who you are) desire to watch it with me, I will! If not, I don't think I'm missing very much. Perhaps I'm not missing anything at all.

Interesting to note, not everyone is a fan of Austen (that seems so unbelievable, does it not?):

Apparently Charlotte Bronte really rather despised Austen. This doesn't bother me very much as I have always rather despised the Bronte sisters. Bronte says,

Anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well-bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as 'outrĂ©' or extravagant. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well. There is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy, in the painting. She ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him with nothing profound. The passions are perfectly unknown to her: she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy sisterhood… What sees keenly, speaks aptly, moves flexibly, it suits her to study: but what throbs fast and full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through, what is the unseen seat of life and the sentient target of death—this Miss Austen ignores… Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete and rather insensible (not senseless) woman, if this is heresy—I cannot help it."

I am a bit more disappointed by Mark Twain's reaction though:

"Jane Austen? Why, I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book."

Sigh. It just goes to show that we live in a fallen world.


Queen of Carrots said...

Well, Mark Twain was just generally snarky about everybody's writing but his own. Not that he wasn't great himself. You would think he could be more charitable.

And I'd love to hear Austen's opinion on the Bronte sisters. In my opinion, they go way overboard the other direction. I still like Jane Eyre, but not Wuthering Heights.

Sky said...

I love Jane Austen. She's a very tongue in cheek writer and she defied alot of society's customs. For instance that a woman should be a write at all!
Supposedly Mark Twain also said of her; "I haven't any right to criticise books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."
- Letter to Joseph Twichell, 9/13/1898

My question is WHY did he read it AGAIN if he detested it so??

So yes, I like Jane. She made a difference in her world against the odds of chauvinistic critics and an unprepared world.
Go Girl!

Carrie said...

HA! HA! HA! I'd be mad at Mark Twain about it, were he not so completely humerous in his dislike of Austen (HILARIOUS quote). It makes him forgiveable. Bronte on the other hand . . .

Rose said...

Humph, thanks for the warning. I suspected this would be a dud of a movie, and now I am sure of it. I hate the inaccurate imposition of today's morals on other times, as if people really would have acted that way then because it's common now.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, that I'm such a devoted fan of Mark Twain, that his
opinion far outweighs that of just about anyone. . . Take his famous essay "The Literary offenses of James Fenimore Cooper" crj

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