Devoney Looser on Feminism in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility film in The Atlantic


Sense and Sensibility and Jane Austen’s Accidental Feminists

This is a great article and you should read it. We disagree, of course, with the quoted assertion by Louis Menand that Colonel Brandon is dull in the book. Dude: he comes thisclose to running away with his teenaged love; he finds her in a spunging-house, rescues her and her illegitimate daughter, is with her “in her last moments,” and he adopts and raises the daughter; he fights a duel for pete’s sake. How is that dull? Is it the flannel waistcoat? Marianne Dashwood is supposed to be scornful of the flannel waistcoat because she is 17 and silly. What’s your excuse?

Incidentally, we saw the People’s Light stage production of Sense and Sensibility yesterday and enjoyed it very much! If you are in the Philadelphia area, we encourage you to check it out.


Except Jane Austen didn’t write that line… and honestly, as romantic declarations go, it’s very, er, Edward Ferrarsish.

Also laughing at No. 10. “In vain I have 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.”

Yes, Jane wrote that, but it’s not really that romantic. If it were, Mr. Darcy wouldn’t have had a struggle, or needed to repress his feelings. Just saying. (We much prefer “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.”)

NEWS FLASH: Emma Thompson did NOT write the screenplay for S&S95!


Alert Janeite Mari Carmen sent us the following, as revealed on the Spanish television program La Hora de José Mota.

Last month, Emma Thompson was promoting Nanny McPhee in my country, Spain, and also, she talked about women’s rights. About promoting her film, she participated in a comedy show which is broadcast on Friday nights (one of most watched shows): La Hora de José Mota. José Mota is a comedian who makes fun and surreal sketches…it’s fun to watch sometimes.

Well, he used his character ‘Blasa’, an old woman from the center of Spain, who is supposed to be the typical old country lady, but ‘she’ makes special things…she sues stars for stealing her music (Spears, Madonna…) or she says she is the real inventor of great theories, like relativism, or weird homages, like Morpheus in Matrix several years ago (when Mota had a colleague, and the comedy group was called Cruz y Raya). This time, Mota had the opportunity to use Thompson to tell that Blasa had written S&S. Yes, I know that Austen doesn’t appear, and maybe, Spanish sense of humour is different than yours…but I translated the clip. It’s fun and worth watching!

We thought it was pretty good. 🙂

Special Edition of S&S95 for Spain


Alert Janeite Carmen let us know that a two-disc Special Edition of Sense and Sensibility 1995 (Region 2) will be available in Spain on March 17. According to Carmen, the bonus features include:

Disc 1: film, comments by E. Thompson & L. Duncan. Comments by Ang Lee and producer J. Schamus.
Disc 2: Eliminated scenes: Elinor & Edward’s kiss, Mrs Dashwood consoles Elinor. New contents for this edition: adapting Austen (adaptations of her novels), Sense of a character (choosing the cast), A very Quiet Man (Ang Lee interview), Locating the world of Sense and Sensibility (locations), Elegance and simplicity (costumes).

Carmen asks if there is something similar for the UK/US–we don’t think so; anyone?

"The bells rang, and everybody smi–" …oh, wait


Sense and Sensibility WeddingAlert Janeite Laurel Ann let us know that fans of S&S95 who hoped to be married at the same 15th-century church in which Col. Brandon and Marianne took their fictional vows might have some disappointment to contend with.

Since the 1995 film, the church has been busy performing weddings for those who loved the movie; but as of 18 months ago, structural issues with the bell tower have not allowed happy couples to have the bells rung for their wedding, and they went elsewhere. The church is now engaged in rebuilding the tower so that it will be once again safe to ring the bells.

Austen film events in Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, and Denver


With the Complete Jane Austen gearing up on PBS, everyone seems to have Jane Austen films on their minds, and there are several events coming up dedicated to Austen film adaptations old and new.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is having a special event, “Jane Austen Goes to the Movies,” on Wednesday, January 30th at 7 p.m.

Jane Austen has become one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, with both feature films and television mini-series to her credit. Independent scholar and lecturer, Virginia Newmyer, examines the dramatization of the novels, and whether 20th-century scenarios have improved on the renowned author. The discussion, illustrated with images, interprets the ways in which Jane Austen wove the enduring questions of power, money, and social class into her romantic comedies, and how the themes have been transferred to the screen. Several films and videos are considered, including: Sense and Sensibility (1995 feature film), Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC mini-series, 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series), Mansfield Park (1993 feature film), Emma (1996 feature film), Clueless (1995 feature film), and Persuasion (1995 feature film). In addition, both Becoming Jane, the 2007 feature film as fictional as the novels, and The Jane Austen Book Club, very different from the book, are included.

Tickets for this event are $20, but if you call and mention that you are an AustenBlog reader, you can get them for the member price of $15! La!

Alert Janeite Jen K. sent us some information about upcoming events sponsored by JASNA’s Greater New York region, kicking off this week. First is a pre-broadcast screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion, this Tuesday, January 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Wollman Auditorium at the Cooper Union. The event is co-sponsored by Penguin Books.

JASNA New York also is co-sponsoring (with Borders) post-broadcast discussions for each of the six novel adaptations on the Mondays after broadcast at several locations in New York and Connecticut.

Another very exciting New York area event (though it’s not listed on JASNA New York’s website, but Jen posted details at The Republic of Pemberley) is a screening of the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion with a discussion featuring Ciarán Hinds, who of course played Captain Wentworth in the film, and possibly Corin Redgrave, who played Sir Walter Elliot, discussing the film with Foster Hirsch of the Brooklyn College Film Department and Rachel Brownstein of the CUNY English Department. The event will be at Brooklyn College on Monday, February 4, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gershwin Theater, Brooklyn College Campus.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

We previously mentioned “Jane-uary” at the Kansas City Public Library, and as part of that endeavor the library will have a film series called “The Reel Jane Austen” featuring some of the big-screen adaptations, nicely balancing the small-screen versions on PBS. The series will include P&P 1940 and 2005, S&S 1995, and Emma 1996. (No Persuasion 95? Quel dommage!)

In conjunction with Rocky Mountain Public Radio, Audrey Sprenger of the Denver Central Library will present a film and lecture series, Jane Austen, Literature’s Posthumous It Girl.

Created to supplement Masterpiece Theatre’s winter telecast of The Complete Jane Austen, this short cinematic and academic course will chronicle Austen’s slow but steady rise in popularity since the late 1800s, compare her to other It Girls like aviator Amelia Earhart and actresses Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot, critique Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, a Hollywood Teen Re-Make of Austen’s Emma and finally, explore Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austen Book Club, a fictional take on why Austen’s work and persona still endures.

The Denver Central Library will have a free screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2 p.m. to kick off the series.