Tag Archives: classics

SBD: Persuasion (again)

In case you missed my earlier posts in which I proclaim my adoration of Austen’s Persuasion, let me just repeat:  it’s my favorite of her books.  It is one of my Top Ten Reads of All Time.  I have a copy of the 1996 adaptation with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds.  Wentworth’s letter to Anne is….*sighs*… The Letter.  I own three four paper copies of the book, all from different points in my life:  high school, college, copy acquired when away from home and in need of a comfort read, and now  an annotated edition.  There’s an e-version on my Kindle, too, downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

I’ve been reading the annotated version lately, reading it slowly, allowing myself only one chapter every couple of days.  Reading it out loud, because the sound of the words in the air somehow has a different import than words left silent on the page.  As much as I’m enjoying it, though, I’m not really certain what the point of the annotations is.  Or more precisely, who the intended audience is.  Some of the notes are interesting, with bits about how naval ranking works/worked (three types of admirals with three ratings in each tier), clothing and carriages of the time, social hierarcy, the difference between a knight and a baronet, etc.  Other notes are fairly elementary, though, explaining word selection or usage that seems obvious based on context.  So is this annotated edition intended for the reader who is unfamiliar with the vocabulary quirks and style of 19th century British writers?  Is it supposed to be a text book for an English lit class?  I’d be interested in hearing from anyone else who has read Shapard’s annotated edition of either Persuasion or Pride & Prejudice, just to know what others think — I haven’t found many reviews by non-academics (and relatively few by academics or Austen-philes).

When culling my archives for Persuasion-related posts, I realized two things:  1) my tags are really not consistent; and 2) I’ve never written a review of Persuasion.  Perhaps that will change.  Or perhaps not.  

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Jane Austen

I wrote up a brief post for Readers Gab yesterday…but it turns out I was early, so it’s getting pushed back until Monday.  It was prompted by a display table full of Austen spin-offs.  This review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies asks the same question:  what is it about Jane Austen?

So I guess I should come up with another post?

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SBD: Persuasion (again)

‘Tis Monday, and Beth has charged any and all with the SBD.

If you’ve read my archives, you’ll know that I [heart] Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  And I’ve SBD’d about it a couple of times.  But, y’know, it’s a classic, so there’s always more to say about it.

And here’s my first bit of bitchery:

Dear PBS/Masterpiece Theatre:

What were you thinking? Why did you mangle Jane Austen’s Persuasion so?  

I saw at your website that Andrew Davies wrote the screen play for four of the productions; I could tell that this one was not on the list even without being told.  Why?  Because the text of the book was hacked apart, with bits of dialogue being rearranged and inserted helter skelter, without regard for where they actually belong in the story.

I haven’t checked out the direction or cinematography; will I recognize the names, or will I learn that Persuasion was their debut?  I can only hope the later.  The blocking was awkward; the acting was wooden; the shots and lighting were odd.  At one point, the frame seemed to vibrate as if the filming was being done by a handheld camera — that modern technique did not fit the story well at all.

And the casting.  Where to start?  The fellow who played Giles in Buffy played Sir Walter Elliot; not bad but not as foppishly foolish as Colin Redgrave.  The sister?  Eh.  Mrs. Clay?  Okay.  Admiral and Mrs. Croft?  Didn’t really suit the crusty admiral established in the book and she just seemed silly.  And Anne.  That actress was woefully miscast in my opinion.  She seemed unable to convey anything other than a sort of pathetic mooniness.  Captain Wentworth?  Well, Rupert Penry-Jones was not at all hard on the eyes.  Not who I would’ve cast, but his prettiness distracted me from the horror of the screen play.

Anne goes running around Bath, chasing after Wentworth?  I cannot imagine any Austen heroine doing that.

I’ve saved the biggest offense for last:  you butcher The Letter.  *splutters incoherently*  The Letter?  Is sacrosanct.  Do. Not. Edit.  Ever.

I’m going to watch the 1995 version of Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root, erasing this version from my memory.

Utterly disappointed,

Edited for verb tenses, etc.


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Walk like an Egyptian

Anybody seen the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia? Any advice?


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Nora Roberts & Jane Austen & daffodils

Go check out today’s post at Dear Author — it is the tale of best selling author (295 million books in print!) Nora Roberts’ first sale.

Jane Austen: I’m rereading Emma, and the afterword by David Pinching has me thinking about why I admire this book but don’t love it the same way I love Persuasion. It is a marvelous piece of fiction written by a master storyteller. The lack of plot doesn’t bother me, but I just don’t *care* about any of the characters, who all seem to be a bit like caricatures to me. Apparently Austen’s intent was to write a heroine whom no one would love but her; Pinching says that we the readers really do like Emma. He also says that Emma is heroine who is “not always right but she is always sympathetic.” Hmm, I disagree there — I find her well-drawn, but unsympathetic through a great deal of the book. Which is why I seldom reread the book, I suppose.

Daffs are everywhere. There are huge banks of them in the median of the parkway on my way to and from work. Yesterday I was tempted to feign car trouble so I could pull over and snip a few. (They might die because of the frost tonight or this weekend, y’know; I’d be doing them a favor!) But that’d be bad karma (with my luck my car wouldn’t start again) and probably a ticketable offense. It’d cheaper and safer just to pick some up at the flower stall in Cross Street Market.


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Belated birthday wishes

¡Feliz cumpleaños a Gabriel García Márquez!

Well, belated birthday wishes, since his 80th birthday was yesterday.

And (woo hoo!) he’s working on the follow up to Vivir Para Contarla. Courtesy of the LA Times via Galley Cat. Happy news, especially since I didn’t know that he had given up writing and was looking forward to the next volume of his memoirs! 

And Mike Newell & Javier Bardem just finished filming Love in the Time of Cholera. Bardem is playing Florentino Ariza, with Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Fermina Daza.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing this over the Thx holiday.


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I was over at IMDB checking out some other stuff, and I noticed that there is a new TV version of Persuasion in the works. Check out the summary. I’m a curmudgeonly creature of habit. I like the old version: Ciaran Hinds (mmmm) as Captain Wentworth; Amanda Root as Anne. Now, Rupert Penry-Jones is hawt — I’ve caught him in a couple of episodes of MI-5/Spooks — but in my mind he’s not Wentworth. I can’t imagine him reading or saying “I can listen no longer in silence…I am half agony, half hope…” And who is Sally Hawkins? Is she Anne Elliot? I can’t tell. I wonder if this will air or be available in the US?


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