Archive for the ‘Amanda Grange’ Category

Over the last week or so, I’ve had several encounters with various interpretations of Jane Austen’s EmmaEmma is my favourite Jane Austen novel but it doesn’t seem to have captured the popular imagination as thoroughly as Pride and Prejudice.  There are however many dozen sequels and modern interpretations of P&P, with more coming out every year, but very few for Emma.  As such, I read what is available and not what I would necessarily be naturally drawn to.

I read Amanda by Debra White Smith to satisfy my curiosity about it.  What does a modern-day Emma look like (forgetting, for a moment, the sublime Clueless)?  Even more intriguingly, what does a Christian-interpretation of Emma look like?  It was not as bad as I had feared (though it did introduce to me to the phrase “prayerful consideration” which threw me for a few moments).  The story is quite ably presented, though the Box Hill picnic scene (or its equivalent) is surprisingly omitted.  Honestly, I was most concerned with the fashions presented.  There are a shocking number of suits worn, by both male and female characters.  Apparently, in the Tasmanian Christian circle, fuchsia suits are just the thing for social gatherings (perhaps in 1993…) and ankle-length brown velvet skirts (with matching jackets) are thought alluring.  There are no words.  All of this pales in comparison to dressing our hero in a jogging suit for his romantic, declaration of love.  I had to laugh at that point though I fear I was not supposed to.

Now, onto quite another Amanda.  Amanda Grange has made a nice career out of writing the diaries of Jane Austen’s heroes: to date, Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Edmund Bertram, Colonel Brandon and, of course, Mr. Knightley.  Mr. Knightley’s Diary is very silly but rather fun all the same.  There is no subtlety whatsoever, which provides some humour in and of itself with Knightley making entries along the lines of “Emma is so beautiful and perfect and wonderful.  I love being with her…I shall never find anyone whose company I enjoy as much as Emma’s, so I shall never marry.”  All said, Mr. Knightley is presented pretty much in character, though there might be a little too much time spent wishing he had children of his own.  Certainly, some men feel very strongly about this, but it did rather feel like a bit of female wish fulfillment, ensuring his role as the perfect man.  Not all of Austen’s speeches are incorporated but, where they are, it is relatively well done. 

Finally, I experienced my first audio book, Emma read by Fiona Shaw.  It was delightful.  I don’t usually like being read to, much preferring to set the pace myself, but there is something about hearing these words aloud that makes you appreciate how truly comedic Emma is.  I would come home from work and put on a disc while making dinner – each of the six discs runs just over one hour, matching perfectly the amount of time it usually takes me to prep and cook dinner.  A lovely way to wind down after a long day and to appreciate an old favourite in a new way.

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