Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do the Purists Have a Point?

I love Jane Austen novels. Not just the ones written by Jane, but also the sequels, the modern day versions, the novels from another character’s point of view. All of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are bad ones that probably should not have been written. But without the bad, we would never have the good.

Lately, I’ve been into the modern day tellings of her books. When you look for this kind of story, the ones I usually come up with are about Pride & Prejudice. I enjoy P&P immensely, but sometimes you’ve got to switch it up a bit. The most recent book I finished was Persuading Annie, a modern day version of Persuasion. I’m eagerly looking forward to the publication of Northanger Alibi by Jenni James. In it, James retells Northanger Abbey, but instead of the lead character being obsessed with gothic novels, she’s obsessed with the Twilight Saga. Priceless.

In my journey to read all the good Austen I can get my hands on, I have come across a few purists. One in particular, let's call her Liza, only reads Jane Austen's books. She doesn't touch the knock-offs and won't go near the movies. Every image of Sense & Sensibility Liza has in her head came purely from Jane Austen's words and her imagination. She's a bit extreme for my taste.

Do the rest of Jane Austen's fans lose something when they are exposed to new material? Will Colin Firth forever be Mr. Darcy to anyone who's seen the P&P movie? Is that a bad thing?

I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. I read Jane for entertainment. I love her stories and can't get enough of them. Hence, my desire to consume all the good stuff out there. Others read Austen for literary reasons. They can do whatever they like to keep the purest version of the story in their heads. Their discussions will be more accurate for it. As for me, I will continue reading whatever I like.


  1. Whatever your flavor, you can find someone more pure than you. If they like only Jane Austen's original writings, someone else only likes particular books. Someone else will only consider one book the most pure form of her writing. I say, read what you like. If you find happiness in it, that's what counts.

  2. Colin Firth -can never be a bad thing. He's hot!