For the past several months I have been reading through my copy of Jane Austen: The Complete Novels. I love Jane Austen, and there were a few of her novels that I had never read. The collection I have includes all her complete novels, in the order of their publication: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan. Of those, I had never read Northanger Abbey or Lady Susan before.
- Pride and Prejudice – this has long been a favorite of mine. There are just so many really great characters, and the story is so well told. Of all the heroines, I find myself most like Elizabeth, although I am also partial to Emma. Of course, I also think that the A&E mini-series helps cement it in the #1 place being the best done video version of one of Jane’s books.
- Emma – I love Emma, as she is so unclear in the nature of her own heart, and in the end has created nothing but messes. I really like the journey to real repentance and reform in her attitudes.
- Persuasion – Although this is, I have to say, the most depressing of the books, since the entire book is spent in a state of sorrow about past mistakes, it is just so heartfelt and honest that it is one of the only ones that made me really sorrow for the heroine, and really rejoice in the happy conclusion.
- Sense and Sensibility – I like this one a lot too, it’s just hard for me to have a lot of respect for Edmond, which lowers the book some in my opinion. I must admit that I am currently still reading this one, it’s the last one I’m reading, and he may win me over by the end. I think that my personality is a lot more similar to Maryanne’s than Elinor’s, but I have sympathy for both.
The others are still good, but don’t rank with my top favorites. I have also been watching all the movies that I could, and have decided which I like the best as well.
- Pride and Prejudice – The Special Edition (A&E, 1996)
- Emma (Miramax 1996)
- Sense & Sensibility (BBC TV 2008)
- Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition, Columbia Pictures 1995)
- Masterpiece Theatre: Northanger Abbey
I dislike all the versions that I have seen of Persuasion and Mansfield Park. I have also found that, other than A&E’s Pride and Prejudice miniseries, none of the movies put in all of the characters and events. Sometimes by watching several of the movies you get a better picture of the whole story than in pieces. For example, if you mixed the two Sense and Sensibility movies that I like, you will have a more complete story than if you watched either of them, as they both highlight a couple of different parts of the story.