picture credit for www.janeaustenfestival.org
So, I have enjoyed so much reading Thomas Hardy’s masterpieces and currently have praised George Eliot’s ‘The Mill on the Floss’. Even, I put Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend’ in my to-be read novel. But there seems one big name is missing in my reading list: Jane Austen.
During my last several visits to Kinokuniya bookstore, I tried reading the first few pages of Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ and “Persuasion” but then I was left unimpressed. How would I complete reading the novels if their initial pages have failed to move my feeling?
Don’t say I have never given you a try, Miss Austen. The fact is, long before I came to the bookstore I had read ‘Mansfield Park’ when I was in the university and the first experience turned out to be tiresome.
I still remember very well the afternoon when I went to the American Corner library of the Gadjah Mada University. Skipping a lot of titles, suddenly my eyes were set to “Mansfield Park” (because ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ were too widely discussed at that time ). I borrowed the book and read it afterwards. After a few days I returned the novel to the library. The novel is so boring. So many characters in a too circular plot within just a few pages. I was so confused.
Then, I stopped reading any of her works. Some years later, I was kind of rebuilding my relationship with the writer but this time around was through movies. It was the ‘Becoming Jane’ movie starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy that encouraged me to learn more about her. Indeed, I borrowed ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ DVDs from my pal not long after that. But the idea of reading both commonly-regarded masterpieces remained far away and it is still.
Surprisingly, ‘Becoming Jane’ is the one that I love the most compared to the other two. Aside from the fact that I like the coupling of Hathaway-McAvoy, I did not see anything special about the plots in the other two movies. I should really have read the books instead of enjoying the films to get ‘the feel’ of the stories. My bet!
Also, probably because ‘Becoming Jane’ tells the real tragic love story of the author that I remember it so well than the other two. Given those fair watching experiences about Austen’s novels, I decided to give it a second and third try. Even every time I visit the bookstore, I look at Austen’s titles and open some of them. ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’ are the two titles that once attracted my eyes. Until now, I have no intention reading ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as I have known the plots coupled with the fact that I did not really like the film versions of the novels.
And as I have said earlier in the post, I got bored reading the first pages of ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’. Unlike the joyful experiences that I have with Thomas Hardy and George Eliot, Jane Austen remains the blur name that will be untouched in the near or even distant future.