Austen —romances or not?

Anne here. P&P
Yesterday I was on several panels at the Melbourne Writers Festival, and for one of them, the topic we were given to discuss was Unpicking Classic Romances — with particular references to historical classics, rather than those 20th century novels regarded in genre romance as "classics".

ClareToni&meMWF2019I don't intend to write a full report on it, but I thought wenchly readers might be interested in the topic, and could offer their own thoughts on some of the questions and discussion points. Here are the three writers who were on the panel — from left Clare Connelly, Toni Jordan and me. Calla Wahlquist, a journalist from the Guardian (Australia) and also a budding academic, chaired the panel and asked some thought-provoking questions. Sadly by the time we remembered to take a photo of us all, she'd left.

Jane Austen's novels came up for quite a bit of discussion, as did those of Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontes. Thomas Hardy got a mention, and we even did a brief  drive-by of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. And someone in the audience raised Gone with the Wind. But for this blog, I'll just stick to Austen.

So, on to Austen.
Clare and I felt strongly that Austen's novels were romances, but Toni argued that while the books were definitely courtship novels, they were not romances. She argued that Austen spent much more time in her books, describing and dwelling on the parts in the story where things fell apart than when love was declared and celebrated. And she supported her case with quotes, one of which was the very last paragraph of Emma, which sums up the wedding of Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse thus:

The wedding was very much like other weddings, where the parties have no taste for finery or parade; and Mrs. Elton, from the particulars detailed by her husband, thought it all extremely shabby, and very inferior to her own.—"Very little white satin, very few lace veils; a most pitiful business!—Selina would stare when she heard of it."—But, in spite of these deficiencies, the wishes, the hopes, the confidence, the predictions of the small band of true friends who witnessed the ceremony, were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union.

An anticlimax indeed – though snarkily entertaining. So Toni made a fascinating point, and I've decided I need a big reread of my Austens — once I've finished working on my current manuscript. ToniT-shirt

By the way, I had to get a snap of Toni Jordan's t-shirt — isn't it fabulous? Do you recognize all the names?

Another question arose about which of Austen's male protagonists were the most romantic. The panel was divided between Darcy and Captain Wentworth, and worthy arguments were produced on either side.

Certainly Darcy did make quite a romantic speech… as long as you disregard the foot in his mouth.

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

And he did come back, and he did and redeem himself — and we agreed that a hero needed to struggle and confront his flaws and have his arrogance broken a bit etc — but really, how's this for a romantic declaration? It's in the letter that Captain Wentworth wrote to Anne Elliot in Persuasion.

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own…(snip). . . I have loved none but you.” 

Darcy_colinfirth_bbcCalla, the panel moderator commented that Pride and Prejudice invariably makes the top 10 (if not the #1 position) on various polls asking for people's Favorite Romances. But I think a lot of that is influenced by the various various TV and movie adaptations, and I suspect that some of the people who say P&P is their favorite romance haven't actually read the book, but are thinking of Colin Firth's Darcy, emerging wetly from that pond — a scene that never happened in the book.

And just in case you  need to refresh your memories click here for a video of the scene.   (See how I look after you all?)

I think it's undeniable that even if we've read the books, some of our impressions of various characters in Austen have been influenced by the actors who played them in the TV and movie adaptations. I then confess I horrified a large segment of the audience that I'd never liked  Col. Brandon as played by Alan Rickman. (There might even have been some hissing!) Another panelist revealed that she didn't like the Hugh Grant portrayal of Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility. (But nobody hissed at her!)

What makes a hero?
Then we discussed some of the other male characters in Austen — Bingley, Edward Ferrars, Wickham and others and wondered about the kind of male character who had hero potential, and who didn't. And to what degree were heroes a matter of the eye of the beholder?

We decided that even though men who started out as not very heroic (eg Darcy) could become heroes, a man like Wickham could never become a hero. We thought he was weak, selfish, unreliable, dishonest and disloyal — there was more, but that was enough to rule him out. 

HughGrantEdwardFerrarsWe were divided about Edward Ferrars — Clare argued that he'd behaved honorably, and was caught in a difficult position, but his love for Eleanor was true. Toni and I said, yes, maybe, but he was weak, looked to others (eg his mother) to arrange his life for him and didn't do anything to make his life better and only approached Eleanore after he'd been cast off. And Toni whipped out some more superb quotes to support her opinion. 

Bingley we all thought was fine for Jane — he'd make her a good husband, but I think that despite his good qualities, he was not hero material. He was too compliant and persuadable; he dumped Jane because Darcy warned him off her, and then it was all back on after Darcy changed his mind.  A hero, we concluded could be flawed in many ways (in fact some of us like the flawed hero) but he also needed to be strong and to stand up for himself and do things for himself and the heroine. 

I have, of course, failed to mention other possibly potential heroes — please someone, make a case for Mr Collins. <g>
All in all it was a fun discussion and we all felt we could have happily talked about it for hours.

So, over to you, wenchly readers. Make a case for your favorite Austen hero. And are there any minor male characters that you thought could potentially become heroes, if challenged by the right woman? And which Austen film or TV adaptation do you most prefer? Or most dislike?

And by the way, if you don't have copies of Jane Austen's books, you can download them (and other out-of-copyright titles) for free on Project Gutenberg

 

160 thoughts on “Austen —romances or not?”

  1. I fear there is no case to be made for Mr. Collins.
    This is a most interesting post, and I agree with your position on all the characters you mentioned.
    I do wonder if our perception of the heroes depends on the age we were when we first read each novel. And does that change as we get older. Mr. Rochester seemed a hero and very romantic when I first read the book, in my teens, but now I have more mixed feelings about him. Of course, times and society have changed and that first reading was over 50 years ago. Hmm.

    Reply
  2. I fear there is no case to be made for Mr. Collins.
    This is a most interesting post, and I agree with your position on all the characters you mentioned.
    I do wonder if our perception of the heroes depends on the age we were when we first read each novel. And does that change as we get older. Mr. Rochester seemed a hero and very romantic when I first read the book, in my teens, but now I have more mixed feelings about him. Of course, times and society have changed and that first reading was over 50 years ago. Hmm.

    Reply
  3. I fear there is no case to be made for Mr. Collins.
    This is a most interesting post, and I agree with your position on all the characters you mentioned.
    I do wonder if our perception of the heroes depends on the age we were when we first read each novel. And does that change as we get older. Mr. Rochester seemed a hero and very romantic when I first read the book, in my teens, but now I have more mixed feelings about him. Of course, times and society have changed and that first reading was over 50 years ago. Hmm.

    Reply
  4. I fear there is no case to be made for Mr. Collins.
    This is a most interesting post, and I agree with your position on all the characters you mentioned.
    I do wonder if our perception of the heroes depends on the age we were when we first read each novel. And does that change as we get older. Mr. Rochester seemed a hero and very romantic when I first read the book, in my teens, but now I have more mixed feelings about him. Of course, times and society have changed and that first reading was over 50 years ago. Hmm.

    Reply
  5. I fear there is no case to be made for Mr. Collins.
    This is a most interesting post, and I agree with your position on all the characters you mentioned.
    I do wonder if our perception of the heroes depends on the age we were when we first read each novel. And does that change as we get older. Mr. Rochester seemed a hero and very romantic when I first read the book, in my teens, but now I have more mixed feelings about him. Of course, times and society have changed and that first reading was over 50 years ago. Hmm.

    Reply
  6. Well, I wouldn’t care to make a case for Mr. Collins as a hero, but one could make a case for him as husband material—as Charlotte does. He is so busy sucking up to Lady de Bourgh that his wife can pretty much run her house and her life as she chooses. It may not be romantic but it offers considerable independence and it sure beats impoverished spinsterhood.
    The adaptation I most disliked was Mansfield Park, which so differed from the book that it wasn’t really an adaptation at all. I’m not sure what to call it except rather unpleasant.

    Reply
  7. Well, I wouldn’t care to make a case for Mr. Collins as a hero, but one could make a case for him as husband material—as Charlotte does. He is so busy sucking up to Lady de Bourgh that his wife can pretty much run her house and her life as she chooses. It may not be romantic but it offers considerable independence and it sure beats impoverished spinsterhood.
    The adaptation I most disliked was Mansfield Park, which so differed from the book that it wasn’t really an adaptation at all. I’m not sure what to call it except rather unpleasant.

    Reply
  8. Well, I wouldn’t care to make a case for Mr. Collins as a hero, but one could make a case for him as husband material—as Charlotte does. He is so busy sucking up to Lady de Bourgh that his wife can pretty much run her house and her life as she chooses. It may not be romantic but it offers considerable independence and it sure beats impoverished spinsterhood.
    The adaptation I most disliked was Mansfield Park, which so differed from the book that it wasn’t really an adaptation at all. I’m not sure what to call it except rather unpleasant.

    Reply
  9. Well, I wouldn’t care to make a case for Mr. Collins as a hero, but one could make a case for him as husband material—as Charlotte does. He is so busy sucking up to Lady de Bourgh that his wife can pretty much run her house and her life as she chooses. It may not be romantic but it offers considerable independence and it sure beats impoverished spinsterhood.
    The adaptation I most disliked was Mansfield Park, which so differed from the book that it wasn’t really an adaptation at all. I’m not sure what to call it except rather unpleasant.

    Reply
  10. Well, I wouldn’t care to make a case for Mr. Collins as a hero, but one could make a case for him as husband material—as Charlotte does. He is so busy sucking up to Lady de Bourgh that his wife can pretty much run her house and her life as she chooses. It may not be romantic but it offers considerable independence and it sure beats impoverished spinsterhood.
    The adaptation I most disliked was Mansfield Park, which so differed from the book that it wasn’t really an adaptation at all. I’m not sure what to call it except rather unpleasant.

    Reply
  11. I too think that Jane Austen’s novels seem more like courtship novels than romance. But I think that is because I am comparing them to today’s romance novels.
    My favorite Austen hero is Mr. Knightly. I can’t say exactly why except that I appreciated the life long relationship he had with Emma. He is really more of a Beta hero – but I like them too.
    I do think that TV and movie adaptions have changed my opinion of some of her heroes. I never thought of Mr. Darcy as anything more than a prig until I saw Colin Firth in that role. Even before the water scene, my heart was going pitty-pat (smile).
    Wonderful, interesting post!

    Reply
  12. I too think that Jane Austen’s novels seem more like courtship novels than romance. But I think that is because I am comparing them to today’s romance novels.
    My favorite Austen hero is Mr. Knightly. I can’t say exactly why except that I appreciated the life long relationship he had with Emma. He is really more of a Beta hero – but I like them too.
    I do think that TV and movie adaptions have changed my opinion of some of her heroes. I never thought of Mr. Darcy as anything more than a prig until I saw Colin Firth in that role. Even before the water scene, my heart was going pitty-pat (smile).
    Wonderful, interesting post!

    Reply
  13. I too think that Jane Austen’s novels seem more like courtship novels than romance. But I think that is because I am comparing them to today’s romance novels.
    My favorite Austen hero is Mr. Knightly. I can’t say exactly why except that I appreciated the life long relationship he had with Emma. He is really more of a Beta hero – but I like them too.
    I do think that TV and movie adaptions have changed my opinion of some of her heroes. I never thought of Mr. Darcy as anything more than a prig until I saw Colin Firth in that role. Even before the water scene, my heart was going pitty-pat (smile).
    Wonderful, interesting post!

    Reply
  14. I too think that Jane Austen’s novels seem more like courtship novels than romance. But I think that is because I am comparing them to today’s romance novels.
    My favorite Austen hero is Mr. Knightly. I can’t say exactly why except that I appreciated the life long relationship he had with Emma. He is really more of a Beta hero – but I like them too.
    I do think that TV and movie adaptions have changed my opinion of some of her heroes. I never thought of Mr. Darcy as anything more than a prig until I saw Colin Firth in that role. Even before the water scene, my heart was going pitty-pat (smile).
    Wonderful, interesting post!

    Reply
  15. I too think that Jane Austen’s novels seem more like courtship novels than romance. But I think that is because I am comparing them to today’s romance novels.
    My favorite Austen hero is Mr. Knightly. I can’t say exactly why except that I appreciated the life long relationship he had with Emma. He is really more of a Beta hero – but I like them too.
    I do think that TV and movie adaptions have changed my opinion of some of her heroes. I never thought of Mr. Darcy as anything more than a prig until I saw Colin Firth in that role. Even before the water scene, my heart was going pitty-pat (smile).
    Wonderful, interesting post!

    Reply
  16. While I LOVE the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P, I am not a fan of the swimming scene. It felt like a scene demanded by a Hollywood producer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it 🙂 but I didn’t think it needed to be included.
    Has anyone scene the youtube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”? It is a modern retelling of P&P which is very clever.
    I have P&P almost memorized, and Emma is my next favourite. I need to read the others again, but my memory of them is that I felt the heroes were wishy-washy. Darcy, for all his faults, knows who he is and, while he does change, he changes because he realizes he’d was wrong, not in his principles but in his actions. I’ve always felt that, even if Elizabeth hadn’t accepted his second proposal, he still would have been a better man for having known her.

    Reply
  17. While I LOVE the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P, I am not a fan of the swimming scene. It felt like a scene demanded by a Hollywood producer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it 🙂 but I didn’t think it needed to be included.
    Has anyone scene the youtube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”? It is a modern retelling of P&P which is very clever.
    I have P&P almost memorized, and Emma is my next favourite. I need to read the others again, but my memory of them is that I felt the heroes were wishy-washy. Darcy, for all his faults, knows who he is and, while he does change, he changes because he realizes he’d was wrong, not in his principles but in his actions. I’ve always felt that, even if Elizabeth hadn’t accepted his second proposal, he still would have been a better man for having known her.

    Reply
  18. While I LOVE the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P, I am not a fan of the swimming scene. It felt like a scene demanded by a Hollywood producer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it 🙂 but I didn’t think it needed to be included.
    Has anyone scene the youtube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”? It is a modern retelling of P&P which is very clever.
    I have P&P almost memorized, and Emma is my next favourite. I need to read the others again, but my memory of them is that I felt the heroes were wishy-washy. Darcy, for all his faults, knows who he is and, while he does change, he changes because he realizes he’d was wrong, not in his principles but in his actions. I’ve always felt that, even if Elizabeth hadn’t accepted his second proposal, he still would have been a better man for having known her.

    Reply
  19. While I LOVE the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P, I am not a fan of the swimming scene. It felt like a scene demanded by a Hollywood producer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it 🙂 but I didn’t think it needed to be included.
    Has anyone scene the youtube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”? It is a modern retelling of P&P which is very clever.
    I have P&P almost memorized, and Emma is my next favourite. I need to read the others again, but my memory of them is that I felt the heroes were wishy-washy. Darcy, for all his faults, knows who he is and, while he does change, he changes because he realizes he’d was wrong, not in his principles but in his actions. I’ve always felt that, even if Elizabeth hadn’t accepted his second proposal, he still would have been a better man for having known her.

    Reply
  20. While I LOVE the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of P&P, I am not a fan of the swimming scene. It felt like a scene demanded by a Hollywood producer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it 🙂 but I didn’t think it needed to be included.
    Has anyone scene the youtube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”? It is a modern retelling of P&P which is very clever.
    I have P&P almost memorized, and Emma is my next favourite. I need to read the others again, but my memory of them is that I felt the heroes were wishy-washy. Darcy, for all his faults, knows who he is and, while he does change, he changes because he realizes he’d was wrong, not in his principles but in his actions. I’ve always felt that, even if Elizabeth hadn’t accepted his second proposal, he still would have been a better man for having known her.

    Reply
  21. You’ve asked questions which could elicit some very long and detailed responses, and which I’m not going even to attempt to answer.
    However, I am going to take up your “romance” question as it is something about which I’ve been involved in discussions in the past. My contention was that “Persuasion”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” are definitely romances – in fact prototypes for some romance tropes – but that the other books (especially “Lady Susan”) do not qualify. Sometimes though I am persuaded to change my mind about “Northanger Abbey”.
    Of course, “Emma” does have a significant romantic subplot but to make it as a romance the book would have to be recast to concentrate on the subplot and would have to be re-titled to something like “Jane and Frank” (though I really need to think of a more Austen like version; what pair of nouns would do?). Emma would then become one of the villains, which some would say is already the case.
    One of the problems is that I think the meaning of “romance” has been somewhat distorted by the modern “category romance” rules, so much so that I’ve seen Georgette Heyer books criticised as “not being romances”, basically because of the suspense and comedy/farce aspects taking much of the foreground.
    Finally, I did at one time have all the Project Gutenberg Austen’s but I’ve recently switched to the AmazonClassics Kindle versions which, in the UK at least, are free to Prime members. If one does a book search specifying the publisher as AmazonClassics (no spaces) and the format as Kindle Books there are some very interesting titles available (and I find it a lot less trouble than using Project Gutenberg’s horrible search functionality and then fiddling around sideloading the files or emailing them to my Kindles).

    Reply
  22. You’ve asked questions which could elicit some very long and detailed responses, and which I’m not going even to attempt to answer.
    However, I am going to take up your “romance” question as it is something about which I’ve been involved in discussions in the past. My contention was that “Persuasion”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” are definitely romances – in fact prototypes for some romance tropes – but that the other books (especially “Lady Susan”) do not qualify. Sometimes though I am persuaded to change my mind about “Northanger Abbey”.
    Of course, “Emma” does have a significant romantic subplot but to make it as a romance the book would have to be recast to concentrate on the subplot and would have to be re-titled to something like “Jane and Frank” (though I really need to think of a more Austen like version; what pair of nouns would do?). Emma would then become one of the villains, which some would say is already the case.
    One of the problems is that I think the meaning of “romance” has been somewhat distorted by the modern “category romance” rules, so much so that I’ve seen Georgette Heyer books criticised as “not being romances”, basically because of the suspense and comedy/farce aspects taking much of the foreground.
    Finally, I did at one time have all the Project Gutenberg Austen’s but I’ve recently switched to the AmazonClassics Kindle versions which, in the UK at least, are free to Prime members. If one does a book search specifying the publisher as AmazonClassics (no spaces) and the format as Kindle Books there are some very interesting titles available (and I find it a lot less trouble than using Project Gutenberg’s horrible search functionality and then fiddling around sideloading the files or emailing them to my Kindles).

    Reply
  23. You’ve asked questions which could elicit some very long and detailed responses, and which I’m not going even to attempt to answer.
    However, I am going to take up your “romance” question as it is something about which I’ve been involved in discussions in the past. My contention was that “Persuasion”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” are definitely romances – in fact prototypes for some romance tropes – but that the other books (especially “Lady Susan”) do not qualify. Sometimes though I am persuaded to change my mind about “Northanger Abbey”.
    Of course, “Emma” does have a significant romantic subplot but to make it as a romance the book would have to be recast to concentrate on the subplot and would have to be re-titled to something like “Jane and Frank” (though I really need to think of a more Austen like version; what pair of nouns would do?). Emma would then become one of the villains, which some would say is already the case.
    One of the problems is that I think the meaning of “romance” has been somewhat distorted by the modern “category romance” rules, so much so that I’ve seen Georgette Heyer books criticised as “not being romances”, basically because of the suspense and comedy/farce aspects taking much of the foreground.
    Finally, I did at one time have all the Project Gutenberg Austen’s but I’ve recently switched to the AmazonClassics Kindle versions which, in the UK at least, are free to Prime members. If one does a book search specifying the publisher as AmazonClassics (no spaces) and the format as Kindle Books there are some very interesting titles available (and I find it a lot less trouble than using Project Gutenberg’s horrible search functionality and then fiddling around sideloading the files or emailing them to my Kindles).

    Reply
  24. You’ve asked questions which could elicit some very long and detailed responses, and which I’m not going even to attempt to answer.
    However, I am going to take up your “romance” question as it is something about which I’ve been involved in discussions in the past. My contention was that “Persuasion”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” are definitely romances – in fact prototypes for some romance tropes – but that the other books (especially “Lady Susan”) do not qualify. Sometimes though I am persuaded to change my mind about “Northanger Abbey”.
    Of course, “Emma” does have a significant romantic subplot but to make it as a romance the book would have to be recast to concentrate on the subplot and would have to be re-titled to something like “Jane and Frank” (though I really need to think of a more Austen like version; what pair of nouns would do?). Emma would then become one of the villains, which some would say is already the case.
    One of the problems is that I think the meaning of “romance” has been somewhat distorted by the modern “category romance” rules, so much so that I’ve seen Georgette Heyer books criticised as “not being romances”, basically because of the suspense and comedy/farce aspects taking much of the foreground.
    Finally, I did at one time have all the Project Gutenberg Austen’s but I’ve recently switched to the AmazonClassics Kindle versions which, in the UK at least, are free to Prime members. If one does a book search specifying the publisher as AmazonClassics (no spaces) and the format as Kindle Books there are some very interesting titles available (and I find it a lot less trouble than using Project Gutenberg’s horrible search functionality and then fiddling around sideloading the files or emailing them to my Kindles).

    Reply
  25. You’ve asked questions which could elicit some very long and detailed responses, and which I’m not going even to attempt to answer.
    However, I am going to take up your “romance” question as it is something about which I’ve been involved in discussions in the past. My contention was that “Persuasion”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” are definitely romances – in fact prototypes for some romance tropes – but that the other books (especially “Lady Susan”) do not qualify. Sometimes though I am persuaded to change my mind about “Northanger Abbey”.
    Of course, “Emma” does have a significant romantic subplot but to make it as a romance the book would have to be recast to concentrate on the subplot and would have to be re-titled to something like “Jane and Frank” (though I really need to think of a more Austen like version; what pair of nouns would do?). Emma would then become one of the villains, which some would say is already the case.
    One of the problems is that I think the meaning of “romance” has been somewhat distorted by the modern “category romance” rules, so much so that I’ve seen Georgette Heyer books criticised as “not being romances”, basically because of the suspense and comedy/farce aspects taking much of the foreground.
    Finally, I did at one time have all the Project Gutenberg Austen’s but I’ve recently switched to the AmazonClassics Kindle versions which, in the UK at least, are free to Prime members. If one does a book search specifying the publisher as AmazonClassics (no spaces) and the format as Kindle Books there are some very interesting titles available (and I find it a lot less trouble than using Project Gutenberg’s horrible search functionality and then fiddling around sideloading the files or emailing them to my Kindles).

    Reply
  26. Captain Wentworth for me.
    Thank you for the closeup of Toni’s tshirt—I was unable to read it in the group shot. Tilney is the only name I didn’t recognize, but I have not been exposed to his book.
    I agree with Alison—I see Rochester as more of a cad than a man stuck in a bad marriage. I didn’t understand what “expectations” when I read Great Expectations in high school: I hadn’t enough exposure to English society at the time. It is certainly not the same meaning at the wandmaker in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I couldn’t understand Miss Havesham’s situation, exaggerated and morbid though it was, for much the same reasons. No one should make fifth-graders, no matter how intelligent, read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner without a lot of explanation for the mariner’s story—yes, that was me in that special class.
    I’m sure there are books of and about that period written before the 1960s, as well as novels of the sort contemporary to authors before the 1960s. I used to think that Sara Teasdale wrote wonderful romantic poetry, but now her nature poems are the only ones I can just: I so much want to slap the “lovers” silly and send them to therapy. I cannot stand doormats and manipulative characters. Many classics, plays, fiction, and poetry stand the test of time.
    O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was too painful to watch: I had to leave in the first scene. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also made me want to slap characters and send them to therapy—well, Streetcar Named Desire as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby left me cold. Most of the male writers between the wars do the same—self-centered and boring.
    So there you have it, my personal opinions on several classics that don’t work for me.

    Reply
  27. Captain Wentworth for me.
    Thank you for the closeup of Toni’s tshirt—I was unable to read it in the group shot. Tilney is the only name I didn’t recognize, but I have not been exposed to his book.
    I agree with Alison—I see Rochester as more of a cad than a man stuck in a bad marriage. I didn’t understand what “expectations” when I read Great Expectations in high school: I hadn’t enough exposure to English society at the time. It is certainly not the same meaning at the wandmaker in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I couldn’t understand Miss Havesham’s situation, exaggerated and morbid though it was, for much the same reasons. No one should make fifth-graders, no matter how intelligent, read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner without a lot of explanation for the mariner’s story—yes, that was me in that special class.
    I’m sure there are books of and about that period written before the 1960s, as well as novels of the sort contemporary to authors before the 1960s. I used to think that Sara Teasdale wrote wonderful romantic poetry, but now her nature poems are the only ones I can just: I so much want to slap the “lovers” silly and send them to therapy. I cannot stand doormats and manipulative characters. Many classics, plays, fiction, and poetry stand the test of time.
    O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was too painful to watch: I had to leave in the first scene. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also made me want to slap characters and send them to therapy—well, Streetcar Named Desire as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby left me cold. Most of the male writers between the wars do the same—self-centered and boring.
    So there you have it, my personal opinions on several classics that don’t work for me.

    Reply
  28. Captain Wentworth for me.
    Thank you for the closeup of Toni’s tshirt—I was unable to read it in the group shot. Tilney is the only name I didn’t recognize, but I have not been exposed to his book.
    I agree with Alison—I see Rochester as more of a cad than a man stuck in a bad marriage. I didn’t understand what “expectations” when I read Great Expectations in high school: I hadn’t enough exposure to English society at the time. It is certainly not the same meaning at the wandmaker in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I couldn’t understand Miss Havesham’s situation, exaggerated and morbid though it was, for much the same reasons. No one should make fifth-graders, no matter how intelligent, read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner without a lot of explanation for the mariner’s story—yes, that was me in that special class.
    I’m sure there are books of and about that period written before the 1960s, as well as novels of the sort contemporary to authors before the 1960s. I used to think that Sara Teasdale wrote wonderful romantic poetry, but now her nature poems are the only ones I can just: I so much want to slap the “lovers” silly and send them to therapy. I cannot stand doormats and manipulative characters. Many classics, plays, fiction, and poetry stand the test of time.
    O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was too painful to watch: I had to leave in the first scene. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also made me want to slap characters and send them to therapy—well, Streetcar Named Desire as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby left me cold. Most of the male writers between the wars do the same—self-centered and boring.
    So there you have it, my personal opinions on several classics that don’t work for me.

    Reply
  29. Captain Wentworth for me.
    Thank you for the closeup of Toni’s tshirt—I was unable to read it in the group shot. Tilney is the only name I didn’t recognize, but I have not been exposed to his book.
    I agree with Alison—I see Rochester as more of a cad than a man stuck in a bad marriage. I didn’t understand what “expectations” when I read Great Expectations in high school: I hadn’t enough exposure to English society at the time. It is certainly not the same meaning at the wandmaker in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I couldn’t understand Miss Havesham’s situation, exaggerated and morbid though it was, for much the same reasons. No one should make fifth-graders, no matter how intelligent, read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner without a lot of explanation for the mariner’s story—yes, that was me in that special class.
    I’m sure there are books of and about that period written before the 1960s, as well as novels of the sort contemporary to authors before the 1960s. I used to think that Sara Teasdale wrote wonderful romantic poetry, but now her nature poems are the only ones I can just: I so much want to slap the “lovers” silly and send them to therapy. I cannot stand doormats and manipulative characters. Many classics, plays, fiction, and poetry stand the test of time.
    O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was too painful to watch: I had to leave in the first scene. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also made me want to slap characters and send them to therapy—well, Streetcar Named Desire as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby left me cold. Most of the male writers between the wars do the same—self-centered and boring.
    So there you have it, my personal opinions on several classics that don’t work for me.

    Reply
  30. Captain Wentworth for me.
    Thank you for the closeup of Toni’s tshirt—I was unable to read it in the group shot. Tilney is the only name I didn’t recognize, but I have not been exposed to his book.
    I agree with Alison—I see Rochester as more of a cad than a man stuck in a bad marriage. I didn’t understand what “expectations” when I read Great Expectations in high school: I hadn’t enough exposure to English society at the time. It is certainly not the same meaning at the wandmaker in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I couldn’t understand Miss Havesham’s situation, exaggerated and morbid though it was, for much the same reasons. No one should make fifth-graders, no matter how intelligent, read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner without a lot of explanation for the mariner’s story—yes, that was me in that special class.
    I’m sure there are books of and about that period written before the 1960s, as well as novels of the sort contemporary to authors before the 1960s. I used to think that Sara Teasdale wrote wonderful romantic poetry, but now her nature poems are the only ones I can just: I so much want to slap the “lovers” silly and send them to therapy. I cannot stand doormats and manipulative characters. Many classics, plays, fiction, and poetry stand the test of time.
    O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was too painful to watch: I had to leave in the first scene. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also made me want to slap characters and send them to therapy—well, Streetcar Named Desire as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby left me cold. Most of the male writers between the wars do the same—self-centered and boring.
    So there you have it, my personal opinions on several classics that don’t work for me.

    Reply
  31. Thanks, Brenda — I whizzed over to youtube and found the link to the first of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so people can watch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs
    I’m not a fan of the swimming scene either, but I do think Colin Firth nailed Darcy and is many person’s Darcy. I also like Laurence Olivier in the old black and white film version with Greer Garson. The costumes were all ridiculously wrong in that production, but there was much to be said for it otherwise.

    Reply
  32. Thanks, Brenda — I whizzed over to youtube and found the link to the first of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so people can watch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs
    I’m not a fan of the swimming scene either, but I do think Colin Firth nailed Darcy and is many person’s Darcy. I also like Laurence Olivier in the old black and white film version with Greer Garson. The costumes were all ridiculously wrong in that production, but there was much to be said for it otherwise.

    Reply
  33. Thanks, Brenda — I whizzed over to youtube and found the link to the first of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so people can watch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs
    I’m not a fan of the swimming scene either, but I do think Colin Firth nailed Darcy and is many person’s Darcy. I also like Laurence Olivier in the old black and white film version with Greer Garson. The costumes were all ridiculously wrong in that production, but there was much to be said for it otherwise.

    Reply
  34. Thanks, Brenda — I whizzed over to youtube and found the link to the first of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so people can watch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs
    I’m not a fan of the swimming scene either, but I do think Colin Firth nailed Darcy and is many person’s Darcy. I also like Laurence Olivier in the old black and white film version with Greer Garson. The costumes were all ridiculously wrong in that production, but there was much to be said for it otherwise.

    Reply
  35. Thanks, Brenda — I whizzed over to youtube and found the link to the first of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so people can watch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs
    I’m not a fan of the swimming scene either, but I do think Colin Firth nailed Darcy and is many person’s Darcy. I also like Laurence Olivier in the old black and white film version with Greer Garson. The costumes were all ridiculously wrong in that production, but there was much to be said for it otherwise.

    Reply
  36. Thanks for that, Mike. I’d agree that those three are romances —and I do like your suggestion of recasting Emma as a villain – that could be fun. there are some Georgete Heyer novels that aren’t really romances, or have the romance as a thread, rather than the “meat” of the story, but most of hers are very much romances in my view. For me, even The Conquerer and Simon the Coldheart were romances.
    As for some Austen novels being prototypes for modern tropes, Clare on our panel was putting a case for North and South being a kind of remake of Pride and Prejudice, in a different setting. It was very interesting. Going to have to read that one too and think about that.
    Thanks for that amazon recommendation. I prefer the Gutenberg versions because I can then search the text, which I can’t so easily on Kindle. I use a lot of Austen quotations in my books as chapter headings. But for most readers, your suggestion would be most useful.

    Reply
  37. Thanks for that, Mike. I’d agree that those three are romances —and I do like your suggestion of recasting Emma as a villain – that could be fun. there are some Georgete Heyer novels that aren’t really romances, or have the romance as a thread, rather than the “meat” of the story, but most of hers are very much romances in my view. For me, even The Conquerer and Simon the Coldheart were romances.
    As for some Austen novels being prototypes for modern tropes, Clare on our panel was putting a case for North and South being a kind of remake of Pride and Prejudice, in a different setting. It was very interesting. Going to have to read that one too and think about that.
    Thanks for that amazon recommendation. I prefer the Gutenberg versions because I can then search the text, which I can’t so easily on Kindle. I use a lot of Austen quotations in my books as chapter headings. But for most readers, your suggestion would be most useful.

    Reply
  38. Thanks for that, Mike. I’d agree that those three are romances —and I do like your suggestion of recasting Emma as a villain – that could be fun. there are some Georgete Heyer novels that aren’t really romances, or have the romance as a thread, rather than the “meat” of the story, but most of hers are very much romances in my view. For me, even The Conquerer and Simon the Coldheart were romances.
    As for some Austen novels being prototypes for modern tropes, Clare on our panel was putting a case for North and South being a kind of remake of Pride and Prejudice, in a different setting. It was very interesting. Going to have to read that one too and think about that.
    Thanks for that amazon recommendation. I prefer the Gutenberg versions because I can then search the text, which I can’t so easily on Kindle. I use a lot of Austen quotations in my books as chapter headings. But for most readers, your suggestion would be most useful.

    Reply
  39. Thanks for that, Mike. I’d agree that those three are romances —and I do like your suggestion of recasting Emma as a villain – that could be fun. there are some Georgete Heyer novels that aren’t really romances, or have the romance as a thread, rather than the “meat” of the story, but most of hers are very much romances in my view. For me, even The Conquerer and Simon the Coldheart were romances.
    As for some Austen novels being prototypes for modern tropes, Clare on our panel was putting a case for North and South being a kind of remake of Pride and Prejudice, in a different setting. It was very interesting. Going to have to read that one too and think about that.
    Thanks for that amazon recommendation. I prefer the Gutenberg versions because I can then search the text, which I can’t so easily on Kindle. I use a lot of Austen quotations in my books as chapter headings. But for most readers, your suggestion would be most useful.

    Reply
  40. Thanks for that, Mike. I’d agree that those three are romances —and I do like your suggestion of recasting Emma as a villain – that could be fun. there are some Georgete Heyer novels that aren’t really romances, or have the romance as a thread, rather than the “meat” of the story, but most of hers are very much romances in my view. For me, even The Conquerer and Simon the Coldheart were romances.
    As for some Austen novels being prototypes for modern tropes, Clare on our panel was putting a case for North and South being a kind of remake of Pride and Prejudice, in a different setting. It was very interesting. Going to have to read that one too and think about that.
    Thanks for that amazon recommendation. I prefer the Gutenberg versions because I can then search the text, which I can’t so easily on Kindle. I use a lot of Austen quotations in my books as chapter headings. But for most readers, your suggestion would be most useful.

    Reply
  41. Alison, I think you make a good point about the age at which we first came to the novels making a difference. For me it’s been a long time since I had a proper read through of all of Austen novels — I’ve tended to dip in and out of them since those first early readings, many moons ago, and I didn’t have time to reread them all before this panel.
    But so many interesting points were made — and Toni pulled out so many excellent quotes and statistics (her PhD involves Austen so she had some wonderfully detailed research at her fingertips) that I’m planning to have a proper reread, and maybe a rethink, when I have the time.

    Reply
  42. Alison, I think you make a good point about the age at which we first came to the novels making a difference. For me it’s been a long time since I had a proper read through of all of Austen novels — I’ve tended to dip in and out of them since those first early readings, many moons ago, and I didn’t have time to reread them all before this panel.
    But so many interesting points were made — and Toni pulled out so many excellent quotes and statistics (her PhD involves Austen so she had some wonderfully detailed research at her fingertips) that I’m planning to have a proper reread, and maybe a rethink, when I have the time.

    Reply
  43. Alison, I think you make a good point about the age at which we first came to the novels making a difference. For me it’s been a long time since I had a proper read through of all of Austen novels — I’ve tended to dip in and out of them since those first early readings, many moons ago, and I didn’t have time to reread them all before this panel.
    But so many interesting points were made — and Toni pulled out so many excellent quotes and statistics (her PhD involves Austen so she had some wonderfully detailed research at her fingertips) that I’m planning to have a proper reread, and maybe a rethink, when I have the time.

    Reply
  44. Alison, I think you make a good point about the age at which we first came to the novels making a difference. For me it’s been a long time since I had a proper read through of all of Austen novels — I’ve tended to dip in and out of them since those first early readings, many moons ago, and I didn’t have time to reread them all before this panel.
    But so many interesting points were made — and Toni pulled out so many excellent quotes and statistics (her PhD involves Austen so she had some wonderfully detailed research at her fingertips) that I’m planning to have a proper reread, and maybe a rethink, when I have the time.

    Reply
  45. Alison, I think you make a good point about the age at which we first came to the novels making a difference. For me it’s been a long time since I had a proper read through of all of Austen novels — I’ve tended to dip in and out of them since those first early readings, many moons ago, and I didn’t have time to reread them all before this panel.
    But so many interesting points were made — and Toni pulled out so many excellent quotes and statistics (her PhD involves Austen so she had some wonderfully detailed research at her fingertips) that I’m planning to have a proper reread, and maybe a rethink, when I have the time.

    Reply
  46. Yes, I think you’re right, Lillian —Charlotte will manage. I fear I’d strangle him. *g*
    I don’t remember the Mansfield Park adaptation. There are so many adaptations of Austen — I really wish people would look further afield. Maybe even to George Heyer!

    Reply
  47. Yes, I think you’re right, Lillian —Charlotte will manage. I fear I’d strangle him. *g*
    I don’t remember the Mansfield Park adaptation. There are so many adaptations of Austen — I really wish people would look further afield. Maybe even to George Heyer!

    Reply
  48. Yes, I think you’re right, Lillian —Charlotte will manage. I fear I’d strangle him. *g*
    I don’t remember the Mansfield Park adaptation. There are so many adaptations of Austen — I really wish people would look further afield. Maybe even to George Heyer!

    Reply
  49. Yes, I think you’re right, Lillian —Charlotte will manage. I fear I’d strangle him. *g*
    I don’t remember the Mansfield Park adaptation. There are so many adaptations of Austen — I really wish people would look further afield. Maybe even to George Heyer!

    Reply
  50. Yes, I think you’re right, Lillian —Charlotte will manage. I fear I’d strangle him. *g*
    I don’t remember the Mansfield Park adaptation. There are so many adaptations of Austen — I really wish people would look further afield. Maybe even to George Heyer!

    Reply
  51. Mary, you wouldn’t be alone in your preference for Mr Knightly, and I’ll always stick up for a beta hero — I’ve written a few in my time, and I’m very fond of them.
    And yes, Colin Firth’s version of Darcy is, I think, partly responsible for the whole Austen remake thing that’s going on. I thought the water scene was silly — who would ruin their good boots like that? — but it’s fun.

    Reply
  52. Mary, you wouldn’t be alone in your preference for Mr Knightly, and I’ll always stick up for a beta hero — I’ve written a few in my time, and I’m very fond of them.
    And yes, Colin Firth’s version of Darcy is, I think, partly responsible for the whole Austen remake thing that’s going on. I thought the water scene was silly — who would ruin their good boots like that? — but it’s fun.

    Reply
  53. Mary, you wouldn’t be alone in your preference for Mr Knightly, and I’ll always stick up for a beta hero — I’ve written a few in my time, and I’m very fond of them.
    And yes, Colin Firth’s version of Darcy is, I think, partly responsible for the whole Austen remake thing that’s going on. I thought the water scene was silly — who would ruin their good boots like that? — but it’s fun.

    Reply
  54. Mary, you wouldn’t be alone in your preference for Mr Knightly, and I’ll always stick up for a beta hero — I’ve written a few in my time, and I’m very fond of them.
    And yes, Colin Firth’s version of Darcy is, I think, partly responsible for the whole Austen remake thing that’s going on. I thought the water scene was silly — who would ruin their good boots like that? — but it’s fun.

    Reply
  55. Mary, you wouldn’t be alone in your preference for Mr Knightly, and I’ll always stick up for a beta hero — I’ve written a few in my time, and I’m very fond of them.
    And yes, Colin Firth’s version of Darcy is, I think, partly responsible for the whole Austen remake thing that’s going on. I thought the water scene was silly — who would ruin their good boots like that? — but it’s fun.

    Reply
  56. Thanks A. Marina — Captain Wentworth was indeed a romantic hero. That letter . . .
    I have Strong Opinions about the way some literature is taught in schools, force-feeding children “Great Literature”at a far too young age —and often in the most unimaginative way— is most likely to put them off reading for life. And usually does. Congratulations for surviving it.
    And I agree that modern psychology makes us view some dramas differently. I did laugh at your wanting to slap some characters silly and send them to therapy — no doubt shouting “Stella, Stellaaaaa.”

    Reply
  57. Thanks A. Marina — Captain Wentworth was indeed a romantic hero. That letter . . .
    I have Strong Opinions about the way some literature is taught in schools, force-feeding children “Great Literature”at a far too young age —and often in the most unimaginative way— is most likely to put them off reading for life. And usually does. Congratulations for surviving it.
    And I agree that modern psychology makes us view some dramas differently. I did laugh at your wanting to slap some characters silly and send them to therapy — no doubt shouting “Stella, Stellaaaaa.”

    Reply
  58. Thanks A. Marina — Captain Wentworth was indeed a romantic hero. That letter . . .
    I have Strong Opinions about the way some literature is taught in schools, force-feeding children “Great Literature”at a far too young age —and often in the most unimaginative way— is most likely to put them off reading for life. And usually does. Congratulations for surviving it.
    And I agree that modern psychology makes us view some dramas differently. I did laugh at your wanting to slap some characters silly and send them to therapy — no doubt shouting “Stella, Stellaaaaa.”

    Reply
  59. Thanks A. Marina — Captain Wentworth was indeed a romantic hero. That letter . . .
    I have Strong Opinions about the way some literature is taught in schools, force-feeding children “Great Literature”at a far too young age —and often in the most unimaginative way— is most likely to put them off reading for life. And usually does. Congratulations for surviving it.
    And I agree that modern psychology makes us view some dramas differently. I did laugh at your wanting to slap some characters silly and send them to therapy — no doubt shouting “Stella, Stellaaaaa.”

    Reply
  60. Thanks A. Marina — Captain Wentworth was indeed a romantic hero. That letter . . .
    I have Strong Opinions about the way some literature is taught in schools, force-feeding children “Great Literature”at a far too young age —and often in the most unimaginative way— is most likely to put them off reading for life. And usually does. Congratulations for surviving it.
    And I agree that modern psychology makes us view some dramas differently. I did laugh at your wanting to slap some characters silly and send them to therapy — no doubt shouting “Stella, Stellaaaaa.”

    Reply
  61. I have always enjoyed Austen’s leading men. They do vary in how they show their inner strength but none appear less than heroic to me. I have greatly enjoyed the adaptions of the books to screen but I’m a bit of a purist. The deviations from the books irritate me. I know the reasons why Andrew Davies found it necessary to do so, but I have never been able to imagine that Mr Darcy would take a swim in the lake or that Mr Collins would find the Bennet sisters in the hall in their petticoats. As much as I admire and love Mr Darcy, (pun intended) Captain Wentworth is my man. No adaption lives up to reading Persuasion.

    Reply
  62. I have always enjoyed Austen’s leading men. They do vary in how they show their inner strength but none appear less than heroic to me. I have greatly enjoyed the adaptions of the books to screen but I’m a bit of a purist. The deviations from the books irritate me. I know the reasons why Andrew Davies found it necessary to do so, but I have never been able to imagine that Mr Darcy would take a swim in the lake or that Mr Collins would find the Bennet sisters in the hall in their petticoats. As much as I admire and love Mr Darcy, (pun intended) Captain Wentworth is my man. No adaption lives up to reading Persuasion.

    Reply
  63. I have always enjoyed Austen’s leading men. They do vary in how they show their inner strength but none appear less than heroic to me. I have greatly enjoyed the adaptions of the books to screen but I’m a bit of a purist. The deviations from the books irritate me. I know the reasons why Andrew Davies found it necessary to do so, but I have never been able to imagine that Mr Darcy would take a swim in the lake or that Mr Collins would find the Bennet sisters in the hall in their petticoats. As much as I admire and love Mr Darcy, (pun intended) Captain Wentworth is my man. No adaption lives up to reading Persuasion.

    Reply
  64. I have always enjoyed Austen’s leading men. They do vary in how they show their inner strength but none appear less than heroic to me. I have greatly enjoyed the adaptions of the books to screen but I’m a bit of a purist. The deviations from the books irritate me. I know the reasons why Andrew Davies found it necessary to do so, but I have never been able to imagine that Mr Darcy would take a swim in the lake or that Mr Collins would find the Bennet sisters in the hall in their petticoats. As much as I admire and love Mr Darcy, (pun intended) Captain Wentworth is my man. No adaption lives up to reading Persuasion.

    Reply
  65. I have always enjoyed Austen’s leading men. They do vary in how they show their inner strength but none appear less than heroic to me. I have greatly enjoyed the adaptions of the books to screen but I’m a bit of a purist. The deviations from the books irritate me. I know the reasons why Andrew Davies found it necessary to do so, but I have never been able to imagine that Mr Darcy would take a swim in the lake or that Mr Collins would find the Bennet sisters in the hall in their petticoats. As much as I admire and love Mr Darcy, (pun intended) Captain Wentworth is my man. No adaption lives up to reading Persuasion.

    Reply
  66. I am about to rock the boat a little (or a lot) and suggest that “Romance” could be applied to the old swashbuckling novels such as the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Prisoner of Zelda. Those come after Austen and they are romances in a different sense of the word. I think of Austen as focusing on heroes at the intimate, everyday scale while the later romances focus on heroes who step onto the big stage of world events.

    Reply
  67. I am about to rock the boat a little (or a lot) and suggest that “Romance” could be applied to the old swashbuckling novels such as the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Prisoner of Zelda. Those come after Austen and they are romances in a different sense of the word. I think of Austen as focusing on heroes at the intimate, everyday scale while the later romances focus on heroes who step onto the big stage of world events.

    Reply
  68. I am about to rock the boat a little (or a lot) and suggest that “Romance” could be applied to the old swashbuckling novels such as the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Prisoner of Zelda. Those come after Austen and they are romances in a different sense of the word. I think of Austen as focusing on heroes at the intimate, everyday scale while the later romances focus on heroes who step onto the big stage of world events.

    Reply
  69. I am about to rock the boat a little (or a lot) and suggest that “Romance” could be applied to the old swashbuckling novels such as the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Prisoner of Zelda. Those come after Austen and they are romances in a different sense of the word. I think of Austen as focusing on heroes at the intimate, everyday scale while the later romances focus on heroes who step onto the big stage of world events.

    Reply
  70. I am about to rock the boat a little (or a lot) and suggest that “Romance” could be applied to the old swashbuckling novels such as the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Prisoner of Zelda. Those come after Austen and they are romances in a different sense of the word. I think of Austen as focusing on heroes at the intimate, everyday scale while the later romances focus on heroes who step onto the big stage of world events.

    Reply
  71. Dora, I agree with you about some of the things that were inserted into the movie/TV versions — I can see why the Darcy dive into the pond scene was hugely popular, and made for a dramatic and sexy scene — but really no gentleman would disrespect his fine boots so! As for walking in to find the girls in petticoats, that’s ridiculous. But the one that really annoyed me was that pig wandering through the Bennet’s house — completely insane.
    And I think the panel would agree with you about Persuasion.

    Reply
  72. Dora, I agree with you about some of the things that were inserted into the movie/TV versions — I can see why the Darcy dive into the pond scene was hugely popular, and made for a dramatic and sexy scene — but really no gentleman would disrespect his fine boots so! As for walking in to find the girls in petticoats, that’s ridiculous. But the one that really annoyed me was that pig wandering through the Bennet’s house — completely insane.
    And I think the panel would agree with you about Persuasion.

    Reply
  73. Dora, I agree with you about some of the things that were inserted into the movie/TV versions — I can see why the Darcy dive into the pond scene was hugely popular, and made for a dramatic and sexy scene — but really no gentleman would disrespect his fine boots so! As for walking in to find the girls in petticoats, that’s ridiculous. But the one that really annoyed me was that pig wandering through the Bennet’s house — completely insane.
    And I think the panel would agree with you about Persuasion.

    Reply
  74. Dora, I agree with you about some of the things that were inserted into the movie/TV versions — I can see why the Darcy dive into the pond scene was hugely popular, and made for a dramatic and sexy scene — but really no gentleman would disrespect his fine boots so! As for walking in to find the girls in petticoats, that’s ridiculous. But the one that really annoyed me was that pig wandering through the Bennet’s house — completely insane.
    And I think the panel would agree with you about Persuasion.

    Reply
  75. Dora, I agree with you about some of the things that were inserted into the movie/TV versions — I can see why the Darcy dive into the pond scene was hugely popular, and made for a dramatic and sexy scene — but really no gentleman would disrespect his fine boots so! As for walking in to find the girls in petticoats, that’s ridiculous. But the one that really annoyed me was that pig wandering through the Bennet’s house — completely insane.
    And I think the panel would agree with you about Persuasion.

    Reply
  76. Yes, Amanda — I should have said that we defined what we meant by “a romance” early in the discussion. My view on the difference between a love story and a romance, is that a romance (and genre romance especially) has at its centre, a couple falling in love, and a romance always ends well. A “love story” on the other hand need not end well — and in fact often doesn’t, especially for the female protagonist.
    Romance in general literary terms does indeed cover stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel etc but that definition is less often use these days. I like your distinction. The focus on the domestic and the personal and intimate everyday life was one of the things we talked about on the panel — feeling that those areas were often written about by women and tended to me of more interest to women than men.

    Reply
  77. Yes, Amanda — I should have said that we defined what we meant by “a romance” early in the discussion. My view on the difference between a love story and a romance, is that a romance (and genre romance especially) has at its centre, a couple falling in love, and a romance always ends well. A “love story” on the other hand need not end well — and in fact often doesn’t, especially for the female protagonist.
    Romance in general literary terms does indeed cover stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel etc but that definition is less often use these days. I like your distinction. The focus on the domestic and the personal and intimate everyday life was one of the things we talked about on the panel — feeling that those areas were often written about by women and tended to me of more interest to women than men.

    Reply
  78. Yes, Amanda — I should have said that we defined what we meant by “a romance” early in the discussion. My view on the difference between a love story and a romance, is that a romance (and genre romance especially) has at its centre, a couple falling in love, and a romance always ends well. A “love story” on the other hand need not end well — and in fact often doesn’t, especially for the female protagonist.
    Romance in general literary terms does indeed cover stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel etc but that definition is less often use these days. I like your distinction. The focus on the domestic and the personal and intimate everyday life was one of the things we talked about on the panel — feeling that those areas were often written about by women and tended to me of more interest to women than men.

    Reply
  79. Yes, Amanda — I should have said that we defined what we meant by “a romance” early in the discussion. My view on the difference between a love story and a romance, is that a romance (and genre romance especially) has at its centre, a couple falling in love, and a romance always ends well. A “love story” on the other hand need not end well — and in fact often doesn’t, especially for the female protagonist.
    Romance in general literary terms does indeed cover stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel etc but that definition is less often use these days. I like your distinction. The focus on the domestic and the personal and intimate everyday life was one of the things we talked about on the panel — feeling that those areas were often written about by women and tended to me of more interest to women than men.

    Reply
  80. Yes, Amanda — I should have said that we defined what we meant by “a romance” early in the discussion. My view on the difference between a love story and a romance, is that a romance (and genre romance especially) has at its centre, a couple falling in love, and a romance always ends well. A “love story” on the other hand need not end well — and in fact often doesn’t, especially for the female protagonist.
    Romance in general literary terms does indeed cover stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel etc but that definition is less often use these days. I like your distinction. The focus on the domestic and the personal and intimate everyday life was one of the things we talked about on the panel — feeling that those areas were often written about by women and tended to me of more interest to women than men.

    Reply
  81. I think I’m in agreement with Mike. I think P&P is absolutely a romance, because the relationship is at the heart of the book. If Lady Catherine doesn’t come to Longbourn, and Darcy therefore doesn’t return, it stops being a complete story, and is just a series of events.
    However, for my money, Emma could still feel complete even if Mr Knightley doesn’t propose – I think in modern terms it’s more chick-lit – the story is about Emma’s growth as a person, and arguably the more important relationship is the one she has with Harriet.

    Reply
  82. I think I’m in agreement with Mike. I think P&P is absolutely a romance, because the relationship is at the heart of the book. If Lady Catherine doesn’t come to Longbourn, and Darcy therefore doesn’t return, it stops being a complete story, and is just a series of events.
    However, for my money, Emma could still feel complete even if Mr Knightley doesn’t propose – I think in modern terms it’s more chick-lit – the story is about Emma’s growth as a person, and arguably the more important relationship is the one she has with Harriet.

    Reply
  83. I think I’m in agreement with Mike. I think P&P is absolutely a romance, because the relationship is at the heart of the book. If Lady Catherine doesn’t come to Longbourn, and Darcy therefore doesn’t return, it stops being a complete story, and is just a series of events.
    However, for my money, Emma could still feel complete even if Mr Knightley doesn’t propose – I think in modern terms it’s more chick-lit – the story is about Emma’s growth as a person, and arguably the more important relationship is the one she has with Harriet.

    Reply
  84. I think I’m in agreement with Mike. I think P&P is absolutely a romance, because the relationship is at the heart of the book. If Lady Catherine doesn’t come to Longbourn, and Darcy therefore doesn’t return, it stops being a complete story, and is just a series of events.
    However, for my money, Emma could still feel complete even if Mr Knightley doesn’t propose – I think in modern terms it’s more chick-lit – the story is about Emma’s growth as a person, and arguably the more important relationship is the one she has with Harriet.

    Reply
  85. I think I’m in agreement with Mike. I think P&P is absolutely a romance, because the relationship is at the heart of the book. If Lady Catherine doesn’t come to Longbourn, and Darcy therefore doesn’t return, it stops being a complete story, and is just a series of events.
    However, for my money, Emma could still feel complete even if Mr Knightley doesn’t propose – I think in modern terms it’s more chick-lit – the story is about Emma’s growth as a person, and arguably the more important relationship is the one she has with Harriet.

    Reply
  86. It sounds like a very lively discussion. I absolutely agree that P&P and Persuasion are romances. The relationship between the two main characters is central to the plot, and the HEA is the climax of both books. I was also about to agree that Captain Wentworth made a better hero, but then I remembered Darcy’s heroic actions to help Lizzie’s sister, with no expectation of reward or even recognition. Plus, Captain Wentworth nearly got trapped into a marriage he didn’t want. I can’t imagine Darcy allowing himself to be put in that predicament! His sheer force of personality makes him my type of hero.
    I’m not a big Austen movie watcher, and I’ve never seen the Colin Firth version. But I have seen the old Greer Garson/ Laurence Oliver b&w movie several times on TV, and I thought their portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy were wonderful, and who could top Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

    Reply
  87. It sounds like a very lively discussion. I absolutely agree that P&P and Persuasion are romances. The relationship between the two main characters is central to the plot, and the HEA is the climax of both books. I was also about to agree that Captain Wentworth made a better hero, but then I remembered Darcy’s heroic actions to help Lizzie’s sister, with no expectation of reward or even recognition. Plus, Captain Wentworth nearly got trapped into a marriage he didn’t want. I can’t imagine Darcy allowing himself to be put in that predicament! His sheer force of personality makes him my type of hero.
    I’m not a big Austen movie watcher, and I’ve never seen the Colin Firth version. But I have seen the old Greer Garson/ Laurence Oliver b&w movie several times on TV, and I thought their portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy were wonderful, and who could top Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

    Reply
  88. It sounds like a very lively discussion. I absolutely agree that P&P and Persuasion are romances. The relationship between the two main characters is central to the plot, and the HEA is the climax of both books. I was also about to agree that Captain Wentworth made a better hero, but then I remembered Darcy’s heroic actions to help Lizzie’s sister, with no expectation of reward or even recognition. Plus, Captain Wentworth nearly got trapped into a marriage he didn’t want. I can’t imagine Darcy allowing himself to be put in that predicament! His sheer force of personality makes him my type of hero.
    I’m not a big Austen movie watcher, and I’ve never seen the Colin Firth version. But I have seen the old Greer Garson/ Laurence Oliver b&w movie several times on TV, and I thought their portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy were wonderful, and who could top Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

    Reply
  89. It sounds like a very lively discussion. I absolutely agree that P&P and Persuasion are romances. The relationship between the two main characters is central to the plot, and the HEA is the climax of both books. I was also about to agree that Captain Wentworth made a better hero, but then I remembered Darcy’s heroic actions to help Lizzie’s sister, with no expectation of reward or even recognition. Plus, Captain Wentworth nearly got trapped into a marriage he didn’t want. I can’t imagine Darcy allowing himself to be put in that predicament! His sheer force of personality makes him my type of hero.
    I’m not a big Austen movie watcher, and I’ve never seen the Colin Firth version. But I have seen the old Greer Garson/ Laurence Oliver b&w movie several times on TV, and I thought their portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy were wonderful, and who could top Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

    Reply
  90. It sounds like a very lively discussion. I absolutely agree that P&P and Persuasion are romances. The relationship between the two main characters is central to the plot, and the HEA is the climax of both books. I was also about to agree that Captain Wentworth made a better hero, but then I remembered Darcy’s heroic actions to help Lizzie’s sister, with no expectation of reward or even recognition. Plus, Captain Wentworth nearly got trapped into a marriage he didn’t want. I can’t imagine Darcy allowing himself to be put in that predicament! His sheer force of personality makes him my type of hero.
    I’m not a big Austen movie watcher, and I’ve never seen the Colin Firth version. But I have seen the old Greer Garson/ Laurence Oliver b&w movie several times on TV, and I thought their portrayals of Elizabeth and Darcy were wonderful, and who could top Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

    Reply
  91. I read MUCH more often than I watch TV and movies, so I have never been influenced by the screen versions. My favorite Austen heroines are Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price, and Anne Elliot. And, agreewing with almost everyohe else, my heroes are Darcy and Capatain Wentworth. I believe that Fanny Prices’s ove is loveable, but I am not sure he is a hero. Perhaps the “hero” of Mansfielld Park is Fanny’s borhter?
    Those three book rank as romances in my book (even though Mansfield Park lacks a hero, it does have a believable HEA). You notice that I don’t include Sense and Sensibility on my list; Northanger seems silly to me. And, while Emma is the most finely styled of the Austen works, I activielly dislike Emma. Knightly is a hero, but he doesn’t get enough “lines” for me to enjoy him.

    Reply
  92. I read MUCH more often than I watch TV and movies, so I have never been influenced by the screen versions. My favorite Austen heroines are Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price, and Anne Elliot. And, agreewing with almost everyohe else, my heroes are Darcy and Capatain Wentworth. I believe that Fanny Prices’s ove is loveable, but I am not sure he is a hero. Perhaps the “hero” of Mansfielld Park is Fanny’s borhter?
    Those three book rank as romances in my book (even though Mansfield Park lacks a hero, it does have a believable HEA). You notice that I don’t include Sense and Sensibility on my list; Northanger seems silly to me. And, while Emma is the most finely styled of the Austen works, I activielly dislike Emma. Knightly is a hero, but he doesn’t get enough “lines” for me to enjoy him.

    Reply
  93. I read MUCH more often than I watch TV and movies, so I have never been influenced by the screen versions. My favorite Austen heroines are Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price, and Anne Elliot. And, agreewing with almost everyohe else, my heroes are Darcy and Capatain Wentworth. I believe that Fanny Prices’s ove is loveable, but I am not sure he is a hero. Perhaps the “hero” of Mansfielld Park is Fanny’s borhter?
    Those three book rank as romances in my book (even though Mansfield Park lacks a hero, it does have a believable HEA). You notice that I don’t include Sense and Sensibility on my list; Northanger seems silly to me. And, while Emma is the most finely styled of the Austen works, I activielly dislike Emma. Knightly is a hero, but he doesn’t get enough “lines” for me to enjoy him.

    Reply
  94. I read MUCH more often than I watch TV and movies, so I have never been influenced by the screen versions. My favorite Austen heroines are Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price, and Anne Elliot. And, agreewing with almost everyohe else, my heroes are Darcy and Capatain Wentworth. I believe that Fanny Prices’s ove is loveable, but I am not sure he is a hero. Perhaps the “hero” of Mansfielld Park is Fanny’s borhter?
    Those three book rank as romances in my book (even though Mansfield Park lacks a hero, it does have a believable HEA). You notice that I don’t include Sense and Sensibility on my list; Northanger seems silly to me. And, while Emma is the most finely styled of the Austen works, I activielly dislike Emma. Knightly is a hero, but he doesn’t get enough “lines” for me to enjoy him.

    Reply
  95. I read MUCH more often than I watch TV and movies, so I have never been influenced by the screen versions. My favorite Austen heroines are Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price, and Anne Elliot. And, agreewing with almost everyohe else, my heroes are Darcy and Capatain Wentworth. I believe that Fanny Prices’s ove is loveable, but I am not sure he is a hero. Perhaps the “hero” of Mansfielld Park is Fanny’s borhter?
    Those three book rank as romances in my book (even though Mansfield Park lacks a hero, it does have a believable HEA). You notice that I don’t include Sense and Sensibility on my list; Northanger seems silly to me. And, while Emma is the most finely styled of the Austen works, I activielly dislike Emma. Knightly is a hero, but he doesn’t get enough “lines” for me to enjoy him.

    Reply
  96. I haven’t commented in quite a while here, I normally let my Word Wenches blog posts pile up (shame on me) and then it’s way too late to comment. But this caught my eye right away since I’m a devoted Austen and Austen Fan Fiction fan. As I am a devoted romance mostly Regency, with some healthy doses of history that come shortly before or after. I do hope Anne, that you will come back after your reread of Austen and give us your opinions anew. And after P&P you can give us your idea that Collins is hero material. I could write a column on him!
    I love Persuasion,love Wentworth, love Anne of course. But the blatant flirtation he did with Anne’s sister-in-laws by marriage really disgusted me. He did some admirable things, but he never had to change himself. And he had the knowledge that Anne at one time really loved him. Yes, he needed to go away, grow up, become successful and gain confidence that would overcome the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Anne’s family and her mother-figure Lady Russell.
    Darcy had to change himself, if not his principles, then his attitude and actions and his pride. And he does this without the hope of every having Elizabeth knowing about those changes. He’s my hero.
    Given those parameters, Emma is hero material. She gets a huge smack down, painful but so well deserved and from Knightly who is the only one brave enough to correct her. Then she does change indeed. For me, reading or watching Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park, even Emma and Northanger Abbey is like watching a slow motion train heading for the broken bridge ahead and an inevitable disastrous train wreck. Everything after those wrecks is so anticlimactic.
    I only got serious about reading Austen after watching the movies and being ashamed of myself that in my late 40’s I hadn’t read the books, being a lover of literature in high school and college. I made it a New Year’s resolution. That was 15 years ago. I got really involved after being in an accident and being ‘out of service’ for a couple years. My husband purchased her letters, a history and an annotated version of P&P for me plus a lot of dvds. That David Shaphard annotated P&P got a lot of repeated use. And I still didn’t have enough leading me to discover fan fiction. I started with Carrie Bebris and Abigail Reynolds.

    Reply
  97. I haven’t commented in quite a while here, I normally let my Word Wenches blog posts pile up (shame on me) and then it’s way too late to comment. But this caught my eye right away since I’m a devoted Austen and Austen Fan Fiction fan. As I am a devoted romance mostly Regency, with some healthy doses of history that come shortly before or after. I do hope Anne, that you will come back after your reread of Austen and give us your opinions anew. And after P&P you can give us your idea that Collins is hero material. I could write a column on him!
    I love Persuasion,love Wentworth, love Anne of course. But the blatant flirtation he did with Anne’s sister-in-laws by marriage really disgusted me. He did some admirable things, but he never had to change himself. And he had the knowledge that Anne at one time really loved him. Yes, he needed to go away, grow up, become successful and gain confidence that would overcome the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Anne’s family and her mother-figure Lady Russell.
    Darcy had to change himself, if not his principles, then his attitude and actions and his pride. And he does this without the hope of every having Elizabeth knowing about those changes. He’s my hero.
    Given those parameters, Emma is hero material. She gets a huge smack down, painful but so well deserved and from Knightly who is the only one brave enough to correct her. Then she does change indeed. For me, reading or watching Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park, even Emma and Northanger Abbey is like watching a slow motion train heading for the broken bridge ahead and an inevitable disastrous train wreck. Everything after those wrecks is so anticlimactic.
    I only got serious about reading Austen after watching the movies and being ashamed of myself that in my late 40’s I hadn’t read the books, being a lover of literature in high school and college. I made it a New Year’s resolution. That was 15 years ago. I got really involved after being in an accident and being ‘out of service’ for a couple years. My husband purchased her letters, a history and an annotated version of P&P for me plus a lot of dvds. That David Shaphard annotated P&P got a lot of repeated use. And I still didn’t have enough leading me to discover fan fiction. I started with Carrie Bebris and Abigail Reynolds.

    Reply
  98. I haven’t commented in quite a while here, I normally let my Word Wenches blog posts pile up (shame on me) and then it’s way too late to comment. But this caught my eye right away since I’m a devoted Austen and Austen Fan Fiction fan. As I am a devoted romance mostly Regency, with some healthy doses of history that come shortly before or after. I do hope Anne, that you will come back after your reread of Austen and give us your opinions anew. And after P&P you can give us your idea that Collins is hero material. I could write a column on him!
    I love Persuasion,love Wentworth, love Anne of course. But the blatant flirtation he did with Anne’s sister-in-laws by marriage really disgusted me. He did some admirable things, but he never had to change himself. And he had the knowledge that Anne at one time really loved him. Yes, he needed to go away, grow up, become successful and gain confidence that would overcome the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Anne’s family and her mother-figure Lady Russell.
    Darcy had to change himself, if not his principles, then his attitude and actions and his pride. And he does this without the hope of every having Elizabeth knowing about those changes. He’s my hero.
    Given those parameters, Emma is hero material. She gets a huge smack down, painful but so well deserved and from Knightly who is the only one brave enough to correct her. Then she does change indeed. For me, reading or watching Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park, even Emma and Northanger Abbey is like watching a slow motion train heading for the broken bridge ahead and an inevitable disastrous train wreck. Everything after those wrecks is so anticlimactic.
    I only got serious about reading Austen after watching the movies and being ashamed of myself that in my late 40’s I hadn’t read the books, being a lover of literature in high school and college. I made it a New Year’s resolution. That was 15 years ago. I got really involved after being in an accident and being ‘out of service’ for a couple years. My husband purchased her letters, a history and an annotated version of P&P for me plus a lot of dvds. That David Shaphard annotated P&P got a lot of repeated use. And I still didn’t have enough leading me to discover fan fiction. I started with Carrie Bebris and Abigail Reynolds.

    Reply
  99. I haven’t commented in quite a while here, I normally let my Word Wenches blog posts pile up (shame on me) and then it’s way too late to comment. But this caught my eye right away since I’m a devoted Austen and Austen Fan Fiction fan. As I am a devoted romance mostly Regency, with some healthy doses of history that come shortly before or after. I do hope Anne, that you will come back after your reread of Austen and give us your opinions anew. And after P&P you can give us your idea that Collins is hero material. I could write a column on him!
    I love Persuasion,love Wentworth, love Anne of course. But the blatant flirtation he did with Anne’s sister-in-laws by marriage really disgusted me. He did some admirable things, but he never had to change himself. And he had the knowledge that Anne at one time really loved him. Yes, he needed to go away, grow up, become successful and gain confidence that would overcome the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Anne’s family and her mother-figure Lady Russell.
    Darcy had to change himself, if not his principles, then his attitude and actions and his pride. And he does this without the hope of every having Elizabeth knowing about those changes. He’s my hero.
    Given those parameters, Emma is hero material. She gets a huge smack down, painful but so well deserved and from Knightly who is the only one brave enough to correct her. Then she does change indeed. For me, reading or watching Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park, even Emma and Northanger Abbey is like watching a slow motion train heading for the broken bridge ahead and an inevitable disastrous train wreck. Everything after those wrecks is so anticlimactic.
    I only got serious about reading Austen after watching the movies and being ashamed of myself that in my late 40’s I hadn’t read the books, being a lover of literature in high school and college. I made it a New Year’s resolution. That was 15 years ago. I got really involved after being in an accident and being ‘out of service’ for a couple years. My husband purchased her letters, a history and an annotated version of P&P for me plus a lot of dvds. That David Shaphard annotated P&P got a lot of repeated use. And I still didn’t have enough leading me to discover fan fiction. I started with Carrie Bebris and Abigail Reynolds.

    Reply
  100. I haven’t commented in quite a while here, I normally let my Word Wenches blog posts pile up (shame on me) and then it’s way too late to comment. But this caught my eye right away since I’m a devoted Austen and Austen Fan Fiction fan. As I am a devoted romance mostly Regency, with some healthy doses of history that come shortly before or after. I do hope Anne, that you will come back after your reread of Austen and give us your opinions anew. And after P&P you can give us your idea that Collins is hero material. I could write a column on him!
    I love Persuasion,love Wentworth, love Anne of course. But the blatant flirtation he did with Anne’s sister-in-laws by marriage really disgusted me. He did some admirable things, but he never had to change himself. And he had the knowledge that Anne at one time really loved him. Yes, he needed to go away, grow up, become successful and gain confidence that would overcome the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Anne’s family and her mother-figure Lady Russell.
    Darcy had to change himself, if not his principles, then his attitude and actions and his pride. And he does this without the hope of every having Elizabeth knowing about those changes. He’s my hero.
    Given those parameters, Emma is hero material. She gets a huge smack down, painful but so well deserved and from Knightly who is the only one brave enough to correct her. Then she does change indeed. For me, reading or watching Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park, even Emma and Northanger Abbey is like watching a slow motion train heading for the broken bridge ahead and an inevitable disastrous train wreck. Everything after those wrecks is so anticlimactic.
    I only got serious about reading Austen after watching the movies and being ashamed of myself that in my late 40’s I hadn’t read the books, being a lover of literature in high school and college. I made it a New Year’s resolution. That was 15 years ago. I got really involved after being in an accident and being ‘out of service’ for a couple years. My husband purchased her letters, a history and an annotated version of P&P for me plus a lot of dvds. That David Shaphard annotated P&P got a lot of repeated use. And I still didn’t have enough leading me to discover fan fiction. I started with Carrie Bebris and Abigail Reynolds.

    Reply
  101. Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. He did annoy me with his pettiness in trying to make Anne jealous but that wonderful letter would redeem him in anyone’s eyes.
    Wonderful post Anne. Really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  102. Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. He did annoy me with his pettiness in trying to make Anne jealous but that wonderful letter would redeem him in anyone’s eyes.
    Wonderful post Anne. Really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  103. Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. He did annoy me with his pettiness in trying to make Anne jealous but that wonderful letter would redeem him in anyone’s eyes.
    Wonderful post Anne. Really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  104. Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. He did annoy me with his pettiness in trying to make Anne jealous but that wonderful letter would redeem him in anyone’s eyes.
    Wonderful post Anne. Really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  105. Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. He did annoy me with his pettiness in trying to make Anne jealous but that wonderful letter would redeem him in anyone’s eyes.
    Wonderful post Anne. Really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  106. Karin, I agree with you about Capt Wentworth — that was a very romantic letter, but Darcy *did* things on Lizzie’s behalf, with no expectation or reward even after she’d rejected him, which makes him truly heroic in my view, too.
    You really should try to get hold of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Erhle version of P&P. In my view it’s the best, not just because of the acting, but because it was a TV series, and so wasn’t trying to fit the whole book into a less-than-two-hour movie. Almost every scene in the book is, therefore, on the screen — and, as we’ve said a few extras, like the Darcy swimming scene. But it’s a wonderful TV series.

    Reply
  107. Karin, I agree with you about Capt Wentworth — that was a very romantic letter, but Darcy *did* things on Lizzie’s behalf, with no expectation or reward even after she’d rejected him, which makes him truly heroic in my view, too.
    You really should try to get hold of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Erhle version of P&P. In my view it’s the best, not just because of the acting, but because it was a TV series, and so wasn’t trying to fit the whole book into a less-than-two-hour movie. Almost every scene in the book is, therefore, on the screen — and, as we’ve said a few extras, like the Darcy swimming scene. But it’s a wonderful TV series.

    Reply
  108. Karin, I agree with you about Capt Wentworth — that was a very romantic letter, but Darcy *did* things on Lizzie’s behalf, with no expectation or reward even after she’d rejected him, which makes him truly heroic in my view, too.
    You really should try to get hold of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Erhle version of P&P. In my view it’s the best, not just because of the acting, but because it was a TV series, and so wasn’t trying to fit the whole book into a less-than-two-hour movie. Almost every scene in the book is, therefore, on the screen — and, as we’ve said a few extras, like the Darcy swimming scene. But it’s a wonderful TV series.

    Reply
  109. Karin, I agree with you about Capt Wentworth — that was a very romantic letter, but Darcy *did* things on Lizzie’s behalf, with no expectation or reward even after she’d rejected him, which makes him truly heroic in my view, too.
    You really should try to get hold of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Erhle version of P&P. In my view it’s the best, not just because of the acting, but because it was a TV series, and so wasn’t trying to fit the whole book into a less-than-two-hour movie. Almost every scene in the book is, therefore, on the screen — and, as we’ve said a few extras, like the Darcy swimming scene. But it’s a wonderful TV series.

    Reply
  110. Karin, I agree with you about Capt Wentworth — that was a very romantic letter, but Darcy *did* things on Lizzie’s behalf, with no expectation or reward even after she’d rejected him, which makes him truly heroic in my view, too.
    You really should try to get hold of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Erhle version of P&P. In my view it’s the best, not just because of the acting, but because it was a TV series, and so wasn’t trying to fit the whole book into a less-than-two-hour movie. Almost every scene in the book is, therefore, on the screen — and, as we’ve said a few extras, like the Darcy swimming scene. But it’s a wonderful TV series.

    Reply
  111. Sue, yes, Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite and I’ve always found those romances unsatisfying. Edward was not nearly good enough for Eleanor.
    Northanger Park is supposed to be a send up of the gothic novels that were so popular at the time — it’s been a while sine I’ve read it. And yes, Emma was pretty arrogant and interfering, wasn’t she? And Knightly only comes in at the end with any presence, so he don’t get to know him as well as we should a hero.

    Reply
  112. Sue, yes, Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite and I’ve always found those romances unsatisfying. Edward was not nearly good enough for Eleanor.
    Northanger Park is supposed to be a send up of the gothic novels that were so popular at the time — it’s been a while sine I’ve read it. And yes, Emma was pretty arrogant and interfering, wasn’t she? And Knightly only comes in at the end with any presence, so he don’t get to know him as well as we should a hero.

    Reply
  113. Sue, yes, Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite and I’ve always found those romances unsatisfying. Edward was not nearly good enough for Eleanor.
    Northanger Park is supposed to be a send up of the gothic novels that were so popular at the time — it’s been a while sine I’ve read it. And yes, Emma was pretty arrogant and interfering, wasn’t she? And Knightly only comes in at the end with any presence, so he don’t get to know him as well as we should a hero.

    Reply
  114. Sue, yes, Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite and I’ve always found those romances unsatisfying. Edward was not nearly good enough for Eleanor.
    Northanger Park is supposed to be a send up of the gothic novels that were so popular at the time — it’s been a while sine I’ve read it. And yes, Emma was pretty arrogant and interfering, wasn’t she? And Knightly only comes in at the end with any presence, so he don’t get to know him as well as we should a hero.

    Reply
  115. Sue, yes, Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite and I’ve always found those romances unsatisfying. Edward was not nearly good enough for Eleanor.
    Northanger Park is supposed to be a send up of the gothic novels that were so popular at the time — it’s been a while sine I’ve read it. And yes, Emma was pretty arrogant and interfering, wasn’t she? And Knightly only comes in at the end with any presence, so he don’t get to know him as well as we should a hero.

    Reply
  116. Welcome back, Michelle. I will reread my Austens, but I probably won’t come back and share my views here again. I almost forgive Capt Wentworth that flirting — almost — because he was still hurt and angry. And that showed, to me, that he still had strong feelings for Anne. And he did do the right thing in the end —and very romantically.
    But what is clear to me that there should have been some of you wonderful wenchly readers on that panel — not me, who hadn’t read some of the books in umpteen years. What a lovely discussion this has been.

    Reply
  117. Welcome back, Michelle. I will reread my Austens, but I probably won’t come back and share my views here again. I almost forgive Capt Wentworth that flirting — almost — because he was still hurt and angry. And that showed, to me, that he still had strong feelings for Anne. And he did do the right thing in the end —and very romantically.
    But what is clear to me that there should have been some of you wonderful wenchly readers on that panel — not me, who hadn’t read some of the books in umpteen years. What a lovely discussion this has been.

    Reply
  118. Welcome back, Michelle. I will reread my Austens, but I probably won’t come back and share my views here again. I almost forgive Capt Wentworth that flirting — almost — because he was still hurt and angry. And that showed, to me, that he still had strong feelings for Anne. And he did do the right thing in the end —and very romantically.
    But what is clear to me that there should have been some of you wonderful wenchly readers on that panel — not me, who hadn’t read some of the books in umpteen years. What a lovely discussion this has been.

    Reply
  119. Welcome back, Michelle. I will reread my Austens, but I probably won’t come back and share my views here again. I almost forgive Capt Wentworth that flirting — almost — because he was still hurt and angry. And that showed, to me, that he still had strong feelings for Anne. And he did do the right thing in the end —and very romantically.
    But what is clear to me that there should have been some of you wonderful wenchly readers on that panel — not me, who hadn’t read some of the books in umpteen years. What a lovely discussion this has been.

    Reply
  120. Welcome back, Michelle. I will reread my Austens, but I probably won’t come back and share my views here again. I almost forgive Capt Wentworth that flirting — almost — because he was still hurt and angry. And that showed, to me, that he still had strong feelings for Anne. And he did do the right thing in the end —and very romantically.
    But what is clear to me that there should have been some of you wonderful wenchly readers on that panel — not me, who hadn’t read some of the books in umpteen years. What a lovely discussion this has been.

    Reply
  121. Wow–flashbacks to defending my Master’s dissertation on the history of the romance novel, back in ’88. I defined a popular romance novel as a story that a) focused on the love story above all else, b) focused on the heroine at least as much or more than the hero, and c) had a happy ending, and I showed evidence from pre-literate cultures through the early 1700s. One PhD asked why I didn’t carry the research through to modern times, and I said because others had already shown a direct line from, say, Jane Austen to modern popular romance. The PhD said, “Austen didn’t write romances!” Blessedly, my thesis adviser stepped in and said, “Well, most of her books do focus on the love story…” etc. And I passed.
    For anyone to argue that much of Austen is not romance requires them to set up criteria that seem overly specific. Love is declared and celebrated at the *end* f romance novels; things fall apart for much of the time before that. And a lot of romance novels do not end in a fancy wedding, so that seems an odd requirement.

    Reply
  122. Wow–flashbacks to defending my Master’s dissertation on the history of the romance novel, back in ’88. I defined a popular romance novel as a story that a) focused on the love story above all else, b) focused on the heroine at least as much or more than the hero, and c) had a happy ending, and I showed evidence from pre-literate cultures through the early 1700s. One PhD asked why I didn’t carry the research through to modern times, and I said because others had already shown a direct line from, say, Jane Austen to modern popular romance. The PhD said, “Austen didn’t write romances!” Blessedly, my thesis adviser stepped in and said, “Well, most of her books do focus on the love story…” etc. And I passed.
    For anyone to argue that much of Austen is not romance requires them to set up criteria that seem overly specific. Love is declared and celebrated at the *end* f romance novels; things fall apart for much of the time before that. And a lot of romance novels do not end in a fancy wedding, so that seems an odd requirement.

    Reply
  123. Wow–flashbacks to defending my Master’s dissertation on the history of the romance novel, back in ’88. I defined a popular romance novel as a story that a) focused on the love story above all else, b) focused on the heroine at least as much or more than the hero, and c) had a happy ending, and I showed evidence from pre-literate cultures through the early 1700s. One PhD asked why I didn’t carry the research through to modern times, and I said because others had already shown a direct line from, say, Jane Austen to modern popular romance. The PhD said, “Austen didn’t write romances!” Blessedly, my thesis adviser stepped in and said, “Well, most of her books do focus on the love story…” etc. And I passed.
    For anyone to argue that much of Austen is not romance requires them to set up criteria that seem overly specific. Love is declared and celebrated at the *end* f romance novels; things fall apart for much of the time before that. And a lot of romance novels do not end in a fancy wedding, so that seems an odd requirement.

    Reply
  124. Wow–flashbacks to defending my Master’s dissertation on the history of the romance novel, back in ’88. I defined a popular romance novel as a story that a) focused on the love story above all else, b) focused on the heroine at least as much or more than the hero, and c) had a happy ending, and I showed evidence from pre-literate cultures through the early 1700s. One PhD asked why I didn’t carry the research through to modern times, and I said because others had already shown a direct line from, say, Jane Austen to modern popular romance. The PhD said, “Austen didn’t write romances!” Blessedly, my thesis adviser stepped in and said, “Well, most of her books do focus on the love story…” etc. And I passed.
    For anyone to argue that much of Austen is not romance requires them to set up criteria that seem overly specific. Love is declared and celebrated at the *end* f romance novels; things fall apart for much of the time before that. And a lot of romance novels do not end in a fancy wedding, so that seems an odd requirement.

    Reply
  125. Wow–flashbacks to defending my Master’s dissertation on the history of the romance novel, back in ’88. I defined a popular romance novel as a story that a) focused on the love story above all else, b) focused on the heroine at least as much or more than the hero, and c) had a happy ending, and I showed evidence from pre-literate cultures through the early 1700s. One PhD asked why I didn’t carry the research through to modern times, and I said because others had already shown a direct line from, say, Jane Austen to modern popular romance. The PhD said, “Austen didn’t write romances!” Blessedly, my thesis adviser stepped in and said, “Well, most of her books do focus on the love story…” etc. And I passed.
    For anyone to argue that much of Austen is not romance requires them to set up criteria that seem overly specific. Love is declared and celebrated at the *end* f romance novels; things fall apart for much of the time before that. And a lot of romance novels do not end in a fancy wedding, so that seems an odd requirement.

    Reply
  126. I am for Henry Tilney all the way! He’s the only one of Austen’s heroes who is permitted to have a sense of humour and play – usually, this is found only in her unreliable rakes. Swooning romanticism is an excellent thing to have, but for the long haul, I’d argue that a sense of humour is even more important for coping with the vagaries of life and relationships.
    Also, there is a wonderful film version of Northanger Abbey starring Frlicity Jones and JJ Feilds which I thoroughly recommend – I especially love the dramatisation of Catherine’s daydreams and reading, which feature the people from her life in scenes from the horrid novels she loves.
    As for villains that have hero potential – while I firmly believe that Edmund Bertram was the right man for Fanny, I do wish that Henry and Mary Crawford could have had a second chance – they are such fantastic, interesting, lovely, flawed characters. Though I am very glad Austen did not choose to use the ‘wicked man redeemed/changed by the love of a good woman’ trope.

    Reply
  127. I am for Henry Tilney all the way! He’s the only one of Austen’s heroes who is permitted to have a sense of humour and play – usually, this is found only in her unreliable rakes. Swooning romanticism is an excellent thing to have, but for the long haul, I’d argue that a sense of humour is even more important for coping with the vagaries of life and relationships.
    Also, there is a wonderful film version of Northanger Abbey starring Frlicity Jones and JJ Feilds which I thoroughly recommend – I especially love the dramatisation of Catherine’s daydreams and reading, which feature the people from her life in scenes from the horrid novels she loves.
    As for villains that have hero potential – while I firmly believe that Edmund Bertram was the right man for Fanny, I do wish that Henry and Mary Crawford could have had a second chance – they are such fantastic, interesting, lovely, flawed characters. Though I am very glad Austen did not choose to use the ‘wicked man redeemed/changed by the love of a good woman’ trope.

    Reply
  128. I am for Henry Tilney all the way! He’s the only one of Austen’s heroes who is permitted to have a sense of humour and play – usually, this is found only in her unreliable rakes. Swooning romanticism is an excellent thing to have, but for the long haul, I’d argue that a sense of humour is even more important for coping with the vagaries of life and relationships.
    Also, there is a wonderful film version of Northanger Abbey starring Frlicity Jones and JJ Feilds which I thoroughly recommend – I especially love the dramatisation of Catherine’s daydreams and reading, which feature the people from her life in scenes from the horrid novels she loves.
    As for villains that have hero potential – while I firmly believe that Edmund Bertram was the right man for Fanny, I do wish that Henry and Mary Crawford could have had a second chance – they are such fantastic, interesting, lovely, flawed characters. Though I am very glad Austen did not choose to use the ‘wicked man redeemed/changed by the love of a good woman’ trope.

    Reply
  129. I am for Henry Tilney all the way! He’s the only one of Austen’s heroes who is permitted to have a sense of humour and play – usually, this is found only in her unreliable rakes. Swooning romanticism is an excellent thing to have, but for the long haul, I’d argue that a sense of humour is even more important for coping with the vagaries of life and relationships.
    Also, there is a wonderful film version of Northanger Abbey starring Frlicity Jones and JJ Feilds which I thoroughly recommend – I especially love the dramatisation of Catherine’s daydreams and reading, which feature the people from her life in scenes from the horrid novels she loves.
    As for villains that have hero potential – while I firmly believe that Edmund Bertram was the right man for Fanny, I do wish that Henry and Mary Crawford could have had a second chance – they are such fantastic, interesting, lovely, flawed characters. Though I am very glad Austen did not choose to use the ‘wicked man redeemed/changed by the love of a good woman’ trope.

    Reply
  130. I am for Henry Tilney all the way! He’s the only one of Austen’s heroes who is permitted to have a sense of humour and play – usually, this is found only in her unreliable rakes. Swooning romanticism is an excellent thing to have, but for the long haul, I’d argue that a sense of humour is even more important for coping with the vagaries of life and relationships.
    Also, there is a wonderful film version of Northanger Abbey starring Frlicity Jones and JJ Feilds which I thoroughly recommend – I especially love the dramatisation of Catherine’s daydreams and reading, which feature the people from her life in scenes from the horrid novels she loves.
    As for villains that have hero potential – while I firmly believe that Edmund Bertram was the right man for Fanny, I do wish that Henry and Mary Crawford could have had a second chance – they are such fantastic, interesting, lovely, flawed characters. Though I am very glad Austen did not choose to use the ‘wicked man redeemed/changed by the love of a good woman’ trope.

    Reply
  131. Lovely post, Catherine — thank you. I wish you’d been on that panel with us. I have only the vaguest memories of Henry Tilney — I suspect you and Toni would have had a field day.
    I didn’t even know there was a movie of Northanger Abbey– thanks, I’ll follow it up.

    Reply
  132. Lovely post, Catherine — thank you. I wish you’d been on that panel with us. I have only the vaguest memories of Henry Tilney — I suspect you and Toni would have had a field day.
    I didn’t even know there was a movie of Northanger Abbey– thanks, I’ll follow it up.

    Reply
  133. Lovely post, Catherine — thank you. I wish you’d been on that panel with us. I have only the vaguest memories of Henry Tilney — I suspect you and Toni would have had a field day.
    I didn’t even know there was a movie of Northanger Abbey– thanks, I’ll follow it up.

    Reply
  134. Lovely post, Catherine — thank you. I wish you’d been on that panel with us. I have only the vaguest memories of Henry Tilney — I suspect you and Toni would have had a field day.
    I didn’t even know there was a movie of Northanger Abbey– thanks, I’ll follow it up.

    Reply
  135. Lovely post, Catherine — thank you. I wish you’d been on that panel with us. I have only the vaguest memories of Henry Tilney — I suspect you and Toni would have had a field day.
    I didn’t even know there was a movie of Northanger Abbey– thanks, I’ll follow it up.

    Reply
  136. I wish I’d been smart enough to realise that the panel was on in the first place! I’m kicking myself for not paying enough attention to the writers’ festival to realise it!
    (Of course, I’ve been biased towards Northanger Abbey ever since I read it as a teenager – a heroine named Catherine who has an excess of imagination and reads far too many novels? How could I resist?)
    And yes, Michelle, JJ Feild is the perfect Henry Tilney! You can really see the affection for Catherine beneath the amusement.

    Reply
  137. I wish I’d been smart enough to realise that the panel was on in the first place! I’m kicking myself for not paying enough attention to the writers’ festival to realise it!
    (Of course, I’ve been biased towards Northanger Abbey ever since I read it as a teenager – a heroine named Catherine who has an excess of imagination and reads far too many novels? How could I resist?)
    And yes, Michelle, JJ Feild is the perfect Henry Tilney! You can really see the affection for Catherine beneath the amusement.

    Reply
  138. I wish I’d been smart enough to realise that the panel was on in the first place! I’m kicking myself for not paying enough attention to the writers’ festival to realise it!
    (Of course, I’ve been biased towards Northanger Abbey ever since I read it as a teenager – a heroine named Catherine who has an excess of imagination and reads far too many novels? How could I resist?)
    And yes, Michelle, JJ Feild is the perfect Henry Tilney! You can really see the affection for Catherine beneath the amusement.

    Reply
  139. I wish I’d been smart enough to realise that the panel was on in the first place! I’m kicking myself for not paying enough attention to the writers’ festival to realise it!
    (Of course, I’ve been biased towards Northanger Abbey ever since I read it as a teenager – a heroine named Catherine who has an excess of imagination and reads far too many novels? How could I resist?)
    And yes, Michelle, JJ Feild is the perfect Henry Tilney! You can really see the affection for Catherine beneath the amusement.

    Reply
  140. I wish I’d been smart enough to realise that the panel was on in the first place! I’m kicking myself for not paying enough attention to the writers’ festival to realise it!
    (Of course, I’ve been biased towards Northanger Abbey ever since I read it as a teenager – a heroine named Catherine who has an excess of imagination and reads far too many novels? How could I resist?)
    And yes, Michelle, JJ Feild is the perfect Henry Tilney! You can really see the affection for Catherine beneath the amusement.

    Reply
  141. I too loved this old version (except the costumes though!).Laurence Olivier was a very good Darcy as he owned the certain something to perfectly represent a man of the upper classes full of his own importance and entitlement.

    Reply
  142. I too loved this old version (except the costumes though!).Laurence Olivier was a very good Darcy as he owned the certain something to perfectly represent a man of the upper classes full of his own importance and entitlement.

    Reply
  143. I too loved this old version (except the costumes though!).Laurence Olivier was a very good Darcy as he owned the certain something to perfectly represent a man of the upper classes full of his own importance and entitlement.

    Reply
  144. I too loved this old version (except the costumes though!).Laurence Olivier was a very good Darcy as he owned the certain something to perfectly represent a man of the upper classes full of his own importance and entitlement.

    Reply
  145. I too loved this old version (except the costumes though!).Laurence Olivier was a very good Darcy as he owned the certain something to perfectly represent a man of the upper classes full of his own importance and entitlement.

    Reply

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