Jane Fairfax and Emma Woodhouse Can’t Be Friends

    Emma Woodhouse is quite atypical for an Austen heroine in that her prettiness and charm are bolstered by both financial security and status, albeit within the intimacy of Highbury. This is an advantage not experienced by Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, the Bennets, or the Dashwoods, who for all their attributes, either have no fortune or only a tenuous proximity to one at the start of their stories. Emma is also arguably the most unlikeable Austen heroine, which is no accident on the part of the author who was famously quoted by her nephew James Edward as having stated that she had written “a heroine whom no one but [her]self will…

  • PBS Masterpiece Sanditon

    Episodes Three and Four

    Although PBS’ Sanditon (2019) has made many departures from the original, incomplete text, the series itself reflects an interest in patriarchal structures inherent to the original text and all of Austen’s published work. As Madeline’s review argues, the older women in Sanditon, while being either idealized or vilified, model potential paths for young women who depend upon their success in the marriage market and their resulting position of operation in a patriarchal society. However, another interesting and related facet of female agency within a patriarchal framework is explored in the relationships of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) with Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke) and Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) with Esther Denham (Charlotte…

  • Bridget Jones sitting cross-legged wearing Christmas pajamas and reading a magazine
    Holiday Austen

    Bridget Jones’s Diary

    Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) is a staple of many Christmas movie diets. Its popularity and appeal are no wonder as the film constitutes a melding of the well-loved genres of Christmas films, rom-coms, and Austen adaptations. Although its heroine Bridget (Renée Zellweger) bears very little similarity to Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice (1813), there is one significant continuity at the heart of each work: each protagonist experiences challenges making a good romantic match in a society which systematically devalues them- albeit for disparate reasons. While Elizabeth experiences pressure to marry due to her lack of dowry and is critiqued as a result of her family’s dysfunction, Bridget’s primary issue-…

  • JAFF

    An Arranged Marriage: Mary Bennet’s Alternate Path

    Jan Hahn’s novel An Arranged Marriage: A Pride and Prejudice Alternate Path (2011) imagines an alternate ending to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (1813): Elizabeth accepts Mr. Darcy’s second proposal not as a result of the revelation of the actuality of his genuine care for her and general benevolence, but because it is necessitated by her family’s financial crisis following the death of Mr. Bennet. Hahn’s central intent  is intimated by Elizabeth’s own pointed reflection on the elucidating letter she received from Darcy following her initial refusal to marry him, that “much was gained by reading between the lines” (60). Where Elizabeth looks to this letter to “[e]nlighten [her] to…