Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Henry Tilney would wrap up his parcels :D

I found this quote in the introduction to the World's Classics edition of Northanger Abbey.  Isn't it funny how people's characteristics can be shown just in how they wrap parcels?

Sylvia Townsend Warner to George Plank, 1961
"You have the nicest hand with a parcel.  I can't think of anyone to match you in parcelling except perhaps Henry Tilney, to whom I attribute all the graces.  Mr. Knightley's parcel's would never come undone, true; but think of all the paper and string involved.  Elinor had to do up all Edward's: Edward required a great deal of buttoning and unbuttoning; though she enjoyed his dependence on her: the butler did all Marianne's & Colonel Brandon's.  Mr. Darcy did exactly three parcels a year, for Lizzy's birthday, for New Year's day, & for their wedding anniversary.  The product was excellent, but he took hours to achieve it.  And locked the library door.
(The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner, London, 1982)

It's a pity she didn't say anything about Captain Wentworth and Edmund Bertram, but I think I can fill in those holes: the dear Captain was too busy at sea, and never sent any parcels, and Edmund never had any practice, because Aunt Norris always made Fanny do it before he had a chance.

And yes, Henry Tilney would have the nicest hand with a parcel, but I'd be careful if I got one from him, because I'd always expect the memoirs of the wretched Matilda to fall out as soon as I opened it!


Note: All  I know of Sylvia Townsend Warner is this quote.  I do not in any way endorse her or her books.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Emma: So, what's best?

Now that you've heard what I think of the three most recent Emma movies, it's your turn to put in your thoughts.

What is your favorite version of 'Emma'?
Just to refresh your thoughts, in case you've watched some of them but forgotten, here are my three reviews.

Emma 1996 starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong
Emma 1997 starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam
Emma 2009 starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller
And, just for the sake of doing everything, the poll also includes Emma 1972, starring Doran Godwin and John Carson.  The link goes to Melody's comparion post about all the Emmas, since I don't know of any individual review.

And, in case you didn't like a certain version overall, but really enjoyed the leads, there are two more polls.

Who's your favorite Emma?
Doran Godwin
Kate Beckinsale
Gywneth Paltrow
Romola Garai

Who's your favorite Mr. Knightley?
John Carson
Mark Stron
Jeremy Northam
Jonny Lee Miller

I look forward to your answers!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Emma (2009) Starring Romola Garai

Summary: Emma Woodhouse, 'handsome, clever, and rich' is a young woman living in the village of Highbury. Her matchmaking efforts with the silly Harriet Smith cause heartache for Harriet and disagreement with the family friend George Knightley. Further complications arise when her former governess's stepson, handsome Frank Churchill, comes to Highbury. But when, I think I'll stop now to avoid spoilers, in case you haven't read or watched this before.

Pros/Cons (This means that I'm not really sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing ;D)

- Miss Bates has a more sympathetic portrayal, but she doesn't come across like a person 'predisposed to be happy,' but more like a woman facing poverty trying to be cheerful.
- Mr. Elton, although very annoying, looks like he has emotions and we can totally understand why Emma think's he's nice at the start.  Still, when I see him dragging that donkey with his silly wife on it, I can almost feel sorry for him.  Almost.
- Mrs. Elton is young and silly.  The annoyingness, vulgarity, and upstartism is just because she doesn't know any better.  When she's admiring that horrid toothpaste-coloured dress, I can almost think that she's just a little girl playing dress-up.  An interesting, and valid, portrayal, but not one I think is accurate.

Cons: (believe me, I had a hard time finding any!)
- Although this is my favorite Emma adaptation, the script seems to have a few weak parts; it just doesn't 'go through' as flawlessly as Emma 1996 and 1997.  A few of my favorite quotes were also omited.
- The one thing I really didn't like was Frank Churchill.  He's very charming, but instead of the at worst 'impudent dog' we have a rather Wickhamish character. 
- I love Jane Fairfax, and Laura Pyper portrayed her character all right, but the looks were totally wrong.  Give me Olivia Williams any day. 

Pros: (This is my favorite part :D)
- Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley!!!  It couldn't have been it better if I had ordered it from a get-exactly-what-you-want catalogue.  The only thing that wasn't amazing, was that his "hmm"s, although most of the time very appropriate and characteristic, were a bit off in a few places, particularly the 'badly done, Emma' scene.  I really liked seeing him in Donwell, in his own library.  We really got to see what he was giving up when he went to Hartfield and it was so priceless when Emma rushed in and burst out that she loved him and she always would, but she couldn't marry him.  And when he sometimes raises his eyebrows; that was perfect for Mr. Knightley!  I think I should stop now, because I could continue raving for a long time. 
- Romola Garai's Emma was amazing.  She didn't look pretty like Harriet, but she was very nice as a handsomeish girl with 'good health and bloom.'  I wouldn't say she is the absolute perfect Emma, because a few times I had the impression that she was acting instead of being Emma.  But her facial expressions..... I know some people don't like these, but I'd know exactly what she was thinking even if she didn't say a word.
- I also liked Harriet.  She was naive, pretty and very sweet.  Apart from her silliness, there was a certain womanliness about her. 
- In this version we got a good insight into the real character of Mr. Woodhouse.  Not just a fussy old man, but a caring father, and a large reason for his not liking marriage is, as he tells Emma, "mothers die."  And, I guess, from his experience that's right.
- The costumes were very nice.  Many did not have the 'designed to look perfect' look of some of the other adaptation's costumes, but they looked like real clothes that a real Emma, Jane or Harriet might actually wear.  And orange looks so good on Romola Garai..........
- The soundtrack and scenery was beautiful.  I can't describe it, but it was amazing.

Overall Impression:
I LOVE this movie.  The casting of all the characters except for Frank and Jane was perfect, it was very accurate to the book, and the length made us able to see some often ignored characters such as John and Isabella Knightley and we could see Emma and Mr. Knightley when they were younger.  I would give it five stars.

And now I shall leave you with some quotes.

Mr. Woodhouse: Cake!
Emma: Oh yes, Father, you would not wish to appear ungenerous."
Mr. Woodhouse: Ungenerous!  I'm the soul of generosity!"
Emma: Of course you are, so we must have cake!

Emma: A mile's walk and a daily scolding of Emma is just what Dr. Perry prescribes.

Mr. Elton about Emma's painting: What artistry!  (Whenever I read this I think, "What flattery!)

Harriet: This was sent to me this morning.  It is a proposal from Robert Martin - or at least I thought it was when I read it.

Mr. Knightley to Emma: It is better to be without wit than misapply it as you do.

Isabella: You know, I believe my father would worry.  I believe George is not well - he is listless and snappish.
Mr. Knightley: What?
Isabella: You are behaving strangely - not yourself.  You did not want to go to dinner with the Cavendishes, you did not wish to take the boys to find frogs in the park.
John Knightley: Some might say hesitation was a perfectly normal responce to both those invitations. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Characters who are Caricatures: John Thorpe

So!  After quite a while, here's another character who is a caricature.  A caricature of dorkiness, perhaps?

“You do not really think, Mr. Thorpe,” said Catherine..., “that James’s gig will break down?”
“Break down! Oh! Lord! Did you ever see such a little tittuppy thing in your life? There is not a sound piece of iron about it. The wheels have been fairly worn out these ten years at least — and as for the body! Upon my soul, you might shake it to pieces yourself with a touch.... I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty thousand pounds.”
“Good heavens!” cried Catherine, quite frightened. “Then pray let us turn back; they will certainly meet with an accident if we go on.... Mr. Thorpe; stop and speak to my brother, and tell him how very unsafe it is.”
“Unsafe! Oh, lord! What is there in that?... The carriage is safe enough, if a man knows how to drive it; a thing of that sort in good hands will last above twenty years after it is fairly worn out. Lord bless you! I would undertake for five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail.”
- Northanger Abbey, chapter 9

John Thorpe is one of Jane Austen stupidest characters.  Not stupid like Mr. Collins or Mr. Rushworth, because he's that by nature, but just totally full of himself, and contradicting himself regularly if it suits him. 

A very laughable passage is where he tries to propose to Catherine, but she doesn't even know that he's doing it.  Than he brags about Catherine's fortune to General Tilney, adding 'twice as much for the grandeur of the moment, ...trebling his private fortune, bestowing a rich aunt,' and saying that she was the heiress of Mr. Allen's estate.  This results in an invitation for Catherine to Northanger Abbey, and the rude expulsion is a result of his contradicting himself again.  

He is so totally crazy, and mixes up things so much, but for some reason he's not one of the characters I love to hate.  He's too dorky to be hated, and gives plenty of laughs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of  foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
from the first chapter of A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens has recently been jumping in hops and starts onto my favorite authors list, and A Tale of Two Cities is now very, very high in my favorite books.  It is a work of genius, I think.  As the back of the book says:

"With dramatic eloquence, he [Dickens] brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime.  With insight and compassion, he casts his novel of unforgetable scenes with memorable characters: the sinister Madame Defarge, knitting her patterns of death; the gentle Lucie Manette, unswerving in her devotion to her broken father; and the heroic Sydney Carton, who gives his life for the love of a woman who will never be his."

Dear Sydney Carton.  If he lived and could read what this back cover says.........
Poor Sydney Carton, believing all his life that he was useless, and it was no use trying.  He thought he was a failure compared to Mr. Stryver.  But even before the end, as you can see from their treatment of their respective admiration for Lucie, it is Sydney who is shown to be the real honorable, noble gentleman.  And then his kindness to the poor seamstress at the very end.....

"You comfort me so much! I am so ignorant. Am I to kiss you now? Is the moment come?"
She kisses his lips; he kisses hers; they solemnly bless each other. The spare hand does not tremble as he releases it; nothing worse than a sweet, bright constancy is in the patient face. She goes next before him—is gone; the knitting-women count Twenty-Two.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

The murmuring of many voices, the upturning of many faces, the pressing on of many footsteps in the outskirts of the crowd, so that it swells forward in a mass, like one great heave of water, all flashes away. Twenty-Three.
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic.
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Tod

When I first saw this movie's case, I thought it might be sort of cute for my younger sisters to watch, but when it actually turned on, it was much more beautiful than I had expected. There are two features; The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Tod

The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny started with Beatrix Potter drawing in a field, and then going into her cosy house to write a story-letter to a sick little friend.  The movie progresses with the classic tale of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor's garden, occaisonally using Beatrix Potter's narration, but mostly the rabbits themselves talking.

The Tale of Mr. Tod is later, when a scheming badger, Tommy Brock, kidnaps Benjamin and Flopsy's babies.  Benjamin and Peter are outraged and go to rescue the little bunnies.  A fox named Mr. Tod is also outraged at Tommy Brock, who basically stole his house.  

I thought that the rabbits would either look like real-life rabbits or be animated, but I was delighted to find them exactly like Beatrix Potter drew them, down to Peter's cute little jacket.  Another thing that made me really love this movie was the scenery.  It looked real, but at the same time it looked like Beatrix Potter's drawings; watercolor, perhaps. 

There wasn't much in the way of costume in this movie, although I did enjoy Benjamin's father's outfit, and Peter's aforementioned cute little jacket.  The soundtrack, very pretty, sounded like a mixture of instruments like piano and violin, something that you'd expect to find in a period drama.   

The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Tod is a lovely little movie, recommended for all ages and especially for artists and Beatrix Potter fans. It runs for 51 minutes and is available from Amazon.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Introducting My New Background..........

When I saw this I just couldn't resist.  It was part of a Jane Austen inspired group of backgrounds and when I saw them I went through thinking, "wow, yippee!"  And then when I saw this one was that was actually named after Georgiana Darcy it was just about perfect.

So, what do you think of it?  Is it perfect?  Too fancy?
'Just too, uh... pink?'
Excuse my quote ;D

This background, along with many other amazing ones came from I Love It Blog Designs


Oh, and the end of the writing contest I mentioned last week has been postponed, so you can still enter.

Hello and Blog Awards!

Before I continue, I will just mention that no, I haven't forgotten you, and yes, it isn't my fault that you didn't get any posts in the last week.  We were changing internet providers and somehow that involves being without internet for quite a while.  I have never figured out why.

Anyways, Mel, Charity U., and Melody awarded me the Liebster Award!  Thank you a lot!  This award is for people with less than 200 follows, and I think the idea is, that they deserve more.  Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for my first awards!  (That wasn't very hard.)  Mel blogs at But when a young lady is to be a heroine, (I love that sentence :) Charity blogs at Austenitis (The name says it all!) and Melody blogs at Regency Delight ~ Jane Austen &c (I love those '&c's; they sound so Austenish, don't you think?)
2. Give the Liebster Blog Award to five bloggers and comment on their blogs, letting them know they got it. 
Well, when I first saw this award making the rounds of the blog world, I thought, "If I ever get this I'll award Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and I'll award Melody and I'll award...............
But now that I've gotten it, and seen that these many of those who I hoped to give it to awarded and re-awarded, so now I'll try to give this award to blogs who have never gotten it before.

Tarissa from In the Bookcase
Michaela from like pearls slipping off a string
Jessica from Safirewriter
Abigail from Old-Fashioned Beauty
Rachel and Sarah from Our Family View From Us Two

Here I thought I was going to have such a hard time finding five of my favourite blogs with less than 200 followers and not previously awarded.  Instead I found  out that I can't give this award to a lot of the bloggers I would have liked to!
3. Copy and paste the award to your blog. You can see it if you scroll up.
4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers Oh yes
5. Have blogging fun! I had that, certainly.  Thanks so much for awarding me!

And Charity U. awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award.

Thank you so much!  This award has only two rules: tell seven random facts about yourself and award 15 other people.

Random Fact One: Although I don't think my blog is that random, I am a very random person in real life.
2: Right now I forgot to put my retainers back on after lunch (see, I said I was random)
3: Although I don't look at all like my idea of Georgiana Darcy, I know one person who looks exactly right.
4: I am obsessed with chocolate.
5: Colors like blue and pink together drive me crazy, but I love pink and green together.
6: I am obsessed with card-making, particularly when I have a good audiobook to listen to while I do it.
7: My birthday is in November too.

It's so nice to be able to award 15 people!  Now I'll be able to award almost all of my favorite blogs, except for those who I know don't 'do' awards.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine
Elegance of Drama
Elegance of Fashion
Feminine Farmgirl
Genuine Glee
Grace's Garden Walk
Living on Literary Lane
Old-Fashioned Charm
One Girl in a Big Family
Regency Delight ~ Jane Austen &c
Seven Sisters
The Inkpen Authoress
The secret life of daydreams
Umbrella Girl