Monday, October 3, 2011
It's the Bicentenary of 'Sense and Sensibility' b/w Jane Austen, the Ultimate Undead Writer?
Jane Austen the Ultimate Undead Writer? (The National, 10/2/2011)
Excerpt: It is a truth universally acknowledged that, despite their advancing years, Jane Austen's novels continue to dominate our literary consciousness. Sense and Sensibility may be celebrating its bicentennial this year, with Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma enjoying similar anniversaries in the coming decade, but they remain some of the best-loved, most influential and timeless books of English literature.
And not just with readers or lovers of period drama on television: authors continue to be in thrall to Austen. Take the country-house settings of Alan Hollinghurst's new book The Stranger's Child or Ian McEwan's Atonement, so reminiscent of the Bertrams' pile in Mansfield Park or Mr Darcy's Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice.
In recent decades there have also been countless rewrites, sequels, prequels and thinly veiled copies. Sometimes, these books are chokingly reverential - as in the case of Janet Aylmer's Darcy's Story. Others show rather less respect for the original, such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, in which a particularly hungry hammerhead shark does for the wealthy landowner Henry Dashwood.