As I ready myself for travel to the UK, I am also priming myself to become a full fledged Janeite. You might have thought that I was already a Janeite, but you would have been mistaken. I was only a Janeite in the making before this summer. Although I attended a five-week NEH seminar on Austen and her contemporaries in 2012, I have been thinking intently and writing about Austen’s works for only five years–I’m practically a baby in the Austen world. This summer changes everything for me. I will spend six weeks immersing myself in everything Austen in the environs in which Jane became Jane Austen.
A couple of weeks ago I began this pre-immersion process. I started listening to audio versions of Austen’s novels. I began with Pride and Prejudice (narrated by Rosamund Pike) and then moved to The Watsons and Sanditon (both narrated by Anna Bentinck). I carried on with Emma (narrated by Juliet Stevenson). Tomorrow I will begin Persuasion (also narrated by Stevenson).
On top of this, I decided to binge watch the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice (swoon!) this past week, and to begin the BBC Emma. (NB: The latter production sacrifices fidelity at times for the sake of continuity, which bugs me a bit. However, the casting is divine, especially Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller.)
I have been rereading Austen’s juvenilia, especially pieces of it that I have not taught before, such as “A Letter from a Young Lady,” and one of her in-betweens, “Sir Charles Grandison.” I have also been reading David Nokes’ Jane Austen and Brian Southam’s Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts.
I have to admit: all of this listening, viewing, and reading has pumped me up! 🙂 I am so excited to go to England–which I want to call Austenland, but shouldn’t–this week!