Austen fever

In the end there was nothing else I could do. I just had to give up my struggle – my attempt to let the brain rule, or give in to my urge – my desire to follow my heart.
This may sound like a romantic fairy tale, but in all earnest and honesty it is rather a different, but essential case. The decision was to put a boring book aside after several attempts to get through another chapter. And to go with the flow of the first two chapters of another book that was both impressive and lighthearted from the start. I was seduced by Pride and Prejudice.

A few years back, when I picked up knitting again – after learning it from my Gran a quarter of a century before – I was having a period of watching the one costume drama after the other. I just loved the outstanding dresses and feel good love stories such as Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and of course Pride and Prejudice.
Since the beginning of 2013 there has been a buzz about Jane Austen, because it is 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published. And as you can easily imagine, the Austen fever infected me again. This time I immediately fell for the ever intriguing Rupert Penry-Jones who played Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion. Seriously, most of these men (Colin Firth in the TV-miniseries Pride and Prejudice and Matthew MacFadyen in the same movie) are so well groomed.
The day I saw this movie I started reading Pride and Prejudice and I lost myself completely in it.
First of all, the first sentence hit me like a brick wall: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Was this written two centuries ago? And not only a few years back when TV-shows with competing women to marry a millionaire (who was unknown to the last episode!) were invented?
Secondly, I had to laugh about Mrs. Bennet with only one thing on her mind, that is to make sure her five daughters are to be married. Thanks to a radio-show on this subject I learned that women in those days lacked the right of inheritance. Therefore it was important that they got married, otherwise they would have no home let alone money after the death of both parents. Can we even imagine that during the 21st century in Western society?
The third and last point that got my attention was the way married people addressed each other. Mrs. Bennet calls her husband Mr. Bennet. She calls him Mr. Bennet all the time. There are no first names used between husband and wife. I wonder how my Mr. Darcy would respond if he would return from a day’s work and I would ask him ‘good evening, Mr. Darcy. How was your day?’ He might even reply ‘I had a jolly good day, thank you for asking, Mrs. Darcy.’ Perhaps I try this tonight, just to see what happens!
Even though I am not educated on the role of women in society or literature, reading Pride and Prejudice made me realize that women have come a long way since then. Although we are not quite there yet. There are still plenty of things that need to change before women and men are equal in terms of social standards, jobs and finance.

Reading this brilliant book, I am having another problem: it keeps me from knitting. When I finish Pride and Prejudice, I will be desperate to read Persuasion. Does this mean there will still be no knitting?
No worries, a friend lend me a DVD-box full of TV-miniseries of Jane Austen stories. So I am taking it one romance at a time, after reading Pride and Prejudice comes a TV-serial and after that the book Persuasion.
You might think it was the combination of knitting while watching TV, that got me to take turns on books and TV-serials? Sure it was, because as a feminist I cannot admit it also had something to do with the gentlemen sideburns.

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