Lost in Austen News Roundup: The Regency Stinks Edition


No news yet about ratings, or at least it hasn’t arrived at AustenBlog World Headquarters. If anyone else sees anything, feel free to link it.

Tanya Gold at the Guardian thinks we Janeites are all much too frivolous in our enjoyment of Jane Austen.

But this is all lost in Lost in Austen. When TV eats and regurgitates Austen it comes up with a dating theme park. All it can see is Colin Firth’s arse (Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, 1995). Or Ciaran Hinds’ legs (Captain Wentworth in Persuasion, also 1995). Or Peter Firth’s hair (Mr Tilney in Northanger Abbey, 1986). Tilney rides up to his poor, palpitating bride-to-be Catherine Morland on a white horse – why does it always have to be white? – and says, “Do not be afraid, I will not overwhelm you with too much grief or with too much passion but since you left us the white rose bush has died of grief.” This really freaks me out. Because I don’t want the white rose bush to die of grief and I don’t want to watch a man swimming in a pond. I want a job, sexual equality and equal pay.

She really needs to just go watch Tess of the d’Urbervilles and get over it. Jane Austen movies SHOULD be fun. Her books are fun. She wrote them that way. You want history, read a history book; we wouldn’t want those poor writers of history to be working for nothing, now, would we? (And for the record, we collapse in helpless giggles when the white rose bush dies of grief, imagining what The Real Henry Tilney would have to say about it.)

The Bucks Free Press has mixed feelings about Lost in Austen.

With Austen books regularly adapted into TV or film, there are slim pickings for new projects, so this sort of post-modern spin, which turns the whole story upside down, makes sense.

But you wonder what could be coming up next. ‘Damned in Dickens’, perhaps, where the layabout 21st century videogame addict tumbles back in time to a Victorian era workhouse to see what hard graft is really like. Or ‘The Full Bronte’ where modern-day Yorkshire steel-working strippers wander into some bad 18th century weather looking tortured, haunted and angry.

And then…loosen their cravats! The Victorian Full Monty! Okay, maybe not. (Well, it worked for John Thornton.)

Rachel Cook indulges in a good cleansing righteous rant at the New Statesman.

While I don’t entirely despise how this “drama” assumes that all women like Pride and Prejudice, what I do seriously take objection to is the idea that the things we love about it are: “The love story . . . the manners . . . the courtesy.” Right. So let’s forget the flawless writing, the genius plotting and the savage wit, shall we? And let’s not read any other novels either, be they by Jane Austen or anyone else. Far too difficult, that. No, let’s just read Pride and Prejudice over and over again until – to paraphrase Amanda Price, the 21st-century heroine of this icky dross – it becomes “part of who we are and what we want”.

Sing it, sisterfriend! While we are finding LiA mildly amusing, it really could have been a lot better, and most of the “humor” is on the lame side. Real Jane Austen is soooo much better.