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Thread: Lost in Austen - an analysis

  1. #1

    Lost in Austen

    Lost in Austen, 2008 film.

    A fantasy on Pride and Prejudice, directed by Dan Zeff, screenwriter Guy Andrews, staring, Jemima Rooper as Amanda Price who takes the place of Elizabeth and Elliot Cowan as Darcy. Unfortunately Gemma Arterton’s Elizabeth Bennet is a minor character in Lost in Austen. While she initiates the shift back in time through a bathroom portal a la C.S. Lewis’s magical cupboard, Elizabeth's into the 21 century London and Amanda's into the 19th. Bennet's household, the film does not offer us a clue why Elizabeth would do this or more important why at the end of the story she would wish to remain in the mad hubbub of present day London. However that's a quibble, since I enjoyed the take-off on Pride and Prejudice and highly recommend the fantasy.

    Guy Andrews, not to be confused with Andrew Davis of the 1995 P&P adaptation, 'spares no expense with sets and costuming and the cinematography is lovely as in most Austen novels that have come to film'. Pemberly is visually stunning, more opulent than in any other adaptation and more historically accurate, especially in the formal gardens, than in any other adaptation and emphasizes the social distinction between the aristocracy and the landed gentry of the Bennet's family. An acute and ironic visual comment is the architecture of Collin's parsonage. Cold, vertical and dreary as is the character played by Guy Henry. Darcy's observation to Amanda “You make the most elliptical comments” applies to the whole of Lost in Austen as an original interpretation of Pride and Prejudice. I think that Austen would be pleased.

    This should give you a flavor of the multiplicity of interpretations, adaptations to the P&P storyline. Amanda Price portrayal is contemporary, uncouth, as when in the Netherfield ball she kicks Collins in the groin, sarcastic of the proprieties and sensibilities, and at the same time nostalgic of Elizabeth's certainties. By shifts of perspective, Lost in Austen gives a new, deeper perspective and appreciation of the original.
    A most unexpected and delicious is the reference to the 'Firth/Ehle' P&P, the infamous wet shirt scene where Amanda asks Darcy to jump, perhaps wade is more accurate, into the pool. I think the view is more lingeringly erotic for the juvenile Janites, than what Andrew Davis concocted and emphasizes the vulgarity of Davis vision.
    The film is almost 3 hours long but too short as one hopes for more, especially of Elizabeth's adventures in the 21 century.
    Last edited by Niamh; 03-17-2010 at 04:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Lost in Austen - an analysis

    THIS ESSAY MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT REVEAL AS MUCH OF THE PLOT AS IT LOOKS INTO IT


    A lot has been said in the press about the series Lost in Austen: about the casting, costumes, story (Life on Mars) and all that is appropriate about a series. But I have not seen a lot so far about the series on a more analytical level. I will attempt to do that.

    Brilliant as the series was in terms of scenery and everything else, brilliant it was too in terms of structure and approach. Not only the idea was great: having a girl of now get stuck in the world of then (although not totally original); but also the total concept was worked out very well by the author of the series Guy Andrews. As adapting proves already difficult, because one cannot get carried away with his characters, asking oneself how characters would respond in case something strange happens, is a real challenge. Guy Andrews managed that very well. I am not here to blow Andrews’s trumpet, but I will throw a glance at what the man wanted to say with his series. A lot, as it seems…

    The first episode starts thus:

    ‘It is a truth, generally acknowledged, that we are all longing to escape.’ The main character, Amanda Price, goes on about the fact that she likes to escape to Pride and Prejudice, her favourite book; that she knows the words by heart; that that book is like a window opening into that world; that she can almost touch that world and almost see Darcy… Here she gets a little too much carried away for her own liking and goes back to the book with ‘where was I?’ It is only then that the opening credits start.

    This introduction, apart from being a fun variation on the start of Pride and Prejudice, will mean a lot and sets the tone for a first facet of the series: the insecurity of women in this day and age, where they are modern women (self-confident, speaking their mind), but at the same time all dream about Darcy (as Elizabeth in the last episode will also show on the Google search page ‘The Darcy-obsession’). And why is this? That is what Amanda will come to understand as she goes on through the door which ‘her need only opens’ (in the words of Elizabeth Bennet) and gets on through the story of Pride and Prejudice.

    If we read the start of Pride and Prejudice, which the start of Lost in Austen was inspired by and based on, we can easily see what Andrews meant. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.’ (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 1) We can begin to understand how Amanda feels: she looks at her own life and feels that she is supposed to do certain things (work, earn money, go out with her boyfriend and all kinds of things), and why? Because ‘it is so well fixed in the minds of the’ people that surround her. She ‘must be In want’ of all this. Yet, no-one asks her if her life is the one she wants.

    Episode one starts with a portrait of Amanda’s life, a life we all know: having a job, a boyfriend, stress. ‘[She] patch[es] [her]self up with Austen.’ She is not the only one who likes to sometimes ‘stay in with Elizabeth Bennet’ (the success of good costume drama shows that) and yet, she asks herself the question if she is a loser… Is it so strange that she likes stories of 200 years old? is it strange that that story still speaks to her, despite its age? It is obviously a question a lot of women ask themselves… Women have everything to be at ease: they are no longer ‘the wife of Mr X’, they can earn their own money, they can divorce if they are tired of their husbands, they can have sex with whomever they want, as often as they like (even with different men every week) and what-not. They have everything to be happy, if we look back at the days of Elizabeth Bennet. In fact they are expected to be happy with this kind of life, because ‘we have already come so far’ as feminists would say… So, this girl feels as the men in Pride and Prejudice: such an awful lot is expected of her… She does not know whether that is what she wants, and yet everyone tells her she has no problems, so no reason to be unhappy or uneasy. Why does Amanda then need to ‘patch [her]self up with Austen’? What is it with Darcy and Elizabeth that hypnotises her and so many other women? Is it ‘Colin Firth in clingy pants’ alone, or is it more than that?

    Just at the moment she reads Elizabeth’s sentence: ‘Had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner…’ (refusing Darcy’s first proposal), the bell rings and Amanda’s boyfriend comes in, totally drunk, and proposes to her with a bottle-opener… Indeed, ‘you are mistaken if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’ (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 34) One of the most important moments in the novel and a turning point for both characters, will also become a turning point here. Of course, Michael is not as proud as Darcy in this case, but Amanda cannot possibly find it In her heart to marry him. She does not find him prince charming. She is not sure, and the ‘mode of his declaration’ was not at all convincing… It is the morning after that (or even the same night?) that she finds Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom. Amanda next starts to reminisce about whether she was hallucinating, whether there is too much Austen in her life, or as her mother would profess: not enough boyfriend…

    When she goes to her mother, a mother who is notably divorced and going through a midlife crisis decorating her house instead of having sex because ‘one can stop and have a cup of tea’, the two talk about the proposal. The mother is in favour of it: he does no drugs, does not beat her up, and she urges Amanda not to waste her life pretending what she is not. What can Amanda want more in a man? what is there more to find in a man? Amanda professes that she is not in love with Darcy, or ‘Colin Firth in clingy pants’, but that she has standards. She loves ‘the love story, Elizabeth, the manners, the language and the courtesy,’ ‘it is part of what [she] is and what [she] want[s].’ But will she be happy at the end of her life, though, waiting for prince charming? Or will she end up forever waiting because there are no Darcys in the world and frustrated at the thought?

    It is after this that she reads chapter 59 of Pride and Prejudice: the conversation between Jane and Elizabeth after accepting Darcy’s proposal, and it is also then that Elizabeth reappears in Amanda’s bathroom. By this time, the novel’s characters have gone through a process of change: Darcy has come off his high horse and Elizabeth has come away from presuming she knows everything so very well… As Lizzy of Lost in Austen intimated the first time, it is Amanda who has opened the door for her, not she herself who decided to pass through it. And it will be indeed Amanda who passes into Regency England through the door in the bathroom because she needs to. After the door slams shut, Amanda is stuck and will have to start her learning process, with her copy of Pride and Prejudice almost as a guide tucked in her jacket…

    It is then that she meets Mr Bennet, Claude as his first name turns out to be (very appropriately the name of a useless emperor of Rome, featured in another ITV-series I, Claudius), and that she declares that Lizzy and she have swapped places, because Lizzy is writing a book and the house was too noisy for that. Whether she is really writing one, remains to be seen. What is sure, is that Amanda is stuck in the story. That they indeed have swapped. She still tries to convince Elizabeth to open the door again, but Amanda’s need compels her to stay. A first light will be shed on that need, and the need of us all, at the ball of Netherfield where she kisses Bingley in a drunken fit of passion.

    There she says what it is about:

    ‘In my world, Mr Bingley, all I ever do is dream about the loveliness of your world. The stately, elegant rituals and pace of courtship, of love-making as you call it, under the gaze of chaperones, of happiness against all odds and marriage… Here I am, I talk to you for two minutes, I kiss you and you… So I’m a little disappointed in myself, Mr Bingley. I feel like those guys that discovered that stone-age tribe and gave them the common cold, wiped them out. (Bingley sneezes)

    This in itself is not merely a declaration of frustration at her loose morals, compared to his (naturally because we are freer now than people were then. Free to snog outside the door of a nightclub), but it is also a declaration of her view on our freedom: the common cold wiped the tribe out. It is something the discoverers did obviously not think about because they have no trouble with it, but when it wipes the tribe out they see how potentially dangerous it is. It is because we are used to it, that we can fight it and conquer it. This, in Amanda’s mind, is also the case with us. We can kiss and make love (have sex as opposed to the use of the word in Austen’s times) with anyone without people questioning our honour, but have we not lost the importance of it all? As Michael, who asks for ‘Amanda’s hand in marriage’ with a bottle-opener, have we not lost the importance of love, family and marriage/fixed relationships in our society of total freedom? That is at least what Amanda seems to feel will happen to Bingley and the other characters if she carries on like she does; it is the same as what Mrs Bennet fears; and it is the same as what Lady Catherine fears and why the latter comes to take an attempt at throwing her out of Regency Society because ‘land, blood and property’ are the only things that matter. Amanda finds herself in danger of ‘spoiling’ the ideal world (of the noble savages) she discovered.

    After this, Amanda tries to get Elizabeth back again (also partly because she herself is seducing Bingley instead of Jane), but again her need compels her to stay and the door does not open. This, time, a letter is shoved under the door:

    ‘My dear father,
    I pray you, sir, not to trouble your mind about your most headstrong daughter. I quite flourish in Hammersmith. I’m minded to sojourn her alone a while. If I might be so presumptuous as to offer advice to my own father, then I would admonish him to pay particular attention to Miss Price. She is intimately acquainted with the doings of our family and I cordially believe her its most formidable ally. Trust her.


    Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth

    Although this is a letter to her father, Amanda has to read it and pronounces ‘Trust her’ rather to herself than to Lizzy’s father. This provokes a thinking and it highlights Elizabeth’s role in Lost in Austen as an indication for Amanda’s learning process. Elizabeth was also born out of time, but in the end both Amanda and Elizabeth belong to the world of women, like Mrs Bennet and Jane who rebel respectively against Lady Catherine and Mr Collins in the end. Also the men will have to face up to their own needs, like originally Darcy did in Pride and Prejudice. Mr Bennet will take responsibility for his daughter, Bingley will rebel against Darcy and reproach him for losing him Jane, and Mr Bennet will also respect his wife better for speaking her mind. Like this he does lose ‘authority’ as a husband, but he will no longer see her as a sad burden who is overdue because the children have been born (though no heir). All this because of the influence of Miss Price (Bingley who ends up sneezing)… As Elizabeth and Amanda are both women, as ‘noble savages’ they should be able to cope in another society and change as a result, but only on the outside. Deep inside, both are good people and essentially the same although shaped by their own societal rules. Elizabeth will discover the modern world, while Amanda will discover more of a traditional role as a woman. Although Elizabeth stays true to her role as traditional woman, caring for the children of the Rosenbergs. As it turns out, all appliances are on, but are they necessary?

    If we go back to the beginning, does this not indicate that people have and had a certain image of women? Women are not even allowed to choose anymore what they want, be it a more traditional role or a more modern one. In the days of Austen they were the property almost of their husbands and the only thing they needed to do was find a husband and have children. Now, they have jobs, they have relationships that start and even end, unlike in Austen’s days, they can even postpone having children, but are they still allowed to care only for their children and husband? can society cope with that view? or are they put inside a box, as the men in the second paragraph of Pride and Prejudice, so that they ‘must be in want’ of all this? What if they are in want of a Mr Darcy? That is probably what Amanda wants to escape to unconsciously when she reads Pride and Prejudice, only, it ‘frightens [her] to death’ as Lady Catherine puts it later in the series. It frightens Amanda to death because it is not what she learned she is as a woman. As in the second paragraph of Pride and Prejudice, people are supposed to be in want of something: women are now not naturally ‘in want of’ a husband, but now, they are ‘in want of’ everything else plus a partner, while there is no father in Western Europe who will consent to maintain his daughter(s) until she/they get married… As such, Amanda needs to discover her traditional side as a woman in that world of Regency England. And Elizabeth will have to discover her modern side, although with a traditional twist.

    The first episode concludes after Jane has left for Netherfield, in an attempt of Amanda to save the day for Jane and Bingley.

    Bibliography:

    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Behind the Name

    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  3. #3

    Good job Petrarch!

    It's refreshing to read something intelligent and more so that attempts to get at the emotional truth of a work of art. Well done.

    When you complain “But I have not seen a lot so far about the series on a more analytical level.”, I might point to the shortcomings of the Forum where analysis of literature get short shift to gushing. True that there has not been a psychological analysis but after-all Lost in Austen is a commercial, ie. entertainment venture, and if it succeeds beyond the banal, it is a reflection on the screenwriter and the director.
    You might look at the review in http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.co...-of-the-movie/, Jane Austen's World, as it is more thorough than the rest.

    I differ only in your assumption that Lost in Austen can be watched as episodes on Blinkx, Youtube or Ovation. The work demands a continuity that is not possible with the interruption of commercials.
    Would you read Il Canzoniere in fragments to get at the unreachable Laura?

  4. #4
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    My avatar is not Petrarca, but Savinien Cyrano, better known as th base for the literary character Cyrano de Bergerac.

    There are very good discussions on this forum, but it is calm right now. I don't know where the book club went, but they had some pretty interesting ones. It is pretty calm right now, everywhere. I don't think one should blame others for not wanting a deep, drawn out discussion.

    At any rate, whoever wants to make something thorough as Andrews has done (because there is more to come), needs to do it in a drawn out way, even if that means in several episodes. Otherwise we have to go back to the days of Spartacus or Gone with the Wind with a sitting of 3 hours at least. We don't want that. Or otherwise we can opt for the Hollywood trash of nowadays which is not really worth watching.

    The series is very thorough as it turns out and offers more to look at on even a forth time basis, but it needs its time.It only requires some concentration to be bal to watch it...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  5. #5
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    The book club is reading Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf. Come join us if you can.

    This is a very good essay Kiki. You certainly enticed me to watch the series, if it ever comes round. Was the essay for school or were you just wanting to write this and share?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    Smile Lost in Austen

    deals with with a lot of problems of nowadays society .I will try to talk about some of them.

    First women have always wanted more freedom: freedom to choose their own husband , their own house, to have a job etc. During the era when Austen lived women were supposed to get married. To have a lover without being married meant for a woman to be marginalised by society ;this didn't happen to a man; the parents, the family played a very important role; they didn't let their daughter to have lovers .In modern times the family's role is constantly diminishing and thus the consequences.

    If a man liked a girl ( such is the case in Pride and Prejudice) he courted her, danced with her etc..Only if the girl was too let's say stupid ( the case of Lydia) she would runaway with him ,by this provoking scandal .
    But today it's very easy for a man to obtain from a woman what he wants, because most women think that if a guy likes them he will marry them .Big mistake ! This is the case of Amanda : she thought that life is like a novel, in the sense that a man would marry her if she moved in with him and they will live happily ever after (but in doing so she acted more like Lydia than Lizzie ).

    It is a very unhappy case in my opinion : she finds her escape in a novel where courtship and true love are praised.Only when her boyfriend proposes to her in a very disgusting manner she realizes that she had done wrong and this is not the sort of life that she wanted!

    Amanda makes her second mistake when she travels into the past: she assumes that all you have to do is to read the novel and to know it by heart.She forgets that she is not Lizzie but only an outsider and that she cannot erase all that she has learned as a girl living in present days in a flash .

  7. #7
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    In Lost in Austen, when Darcy finds the novel of P and P, why is he not surprised that it's a paperback?

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Haha, now that's a great pertinent question! It hadn't occurred to me yet, but actually you are right.

    @Virgil:

    Not an essay for school (I am 27!). I put it on here to share because I was so enchanted by i!

    There are three more parts, though. Every one deals with one episode.

    About the book club: I meant the Jane Austen one. Persuasion was a hit, then Sense and Sensibility was much less, and since then I haven't really seen anything.

    I am now reading The Hunchback by Hugo in French, so I'm still scheduled to be busy for a while with that . So no Steppenwoolf for me yet...
    Last edited by kiki1982; 03-12-2010 at 02:32 PM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  9. #9
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadrianne View Post
    deals with with a lot of problems of nowadays society .I will try to talk about some of them.

    First women have always wanted more freedom: freedom to choose their own husband , their own house, to have a job etc. During the era when Austen lived women were supposed to get married. To have a lover without being married meant for a woman to be marginalised by society ;this didn't happen to a man; the parents, the family played a very important role; they didn't let their daughter to have lovers .In modern times the family's role is constantly diminishing and thus the consequences.

    If a man liked a girl ( such is the case in Pride and Prejudice) he courted her, danced with her etc..Only if the girl was too let's say stupid ( the case of Lydia) she would runaway with him ,by this provoking scandal .
    But today it's very easy for a man to obtain from a woman what he wants, because most women think that if a guy likes them he will marry them .Big mistake ! This is the case of Amanda : she thought that life is like a novel, in the sense that a man would marry her if she moved in with him and they will live happily ever after (but in doing so she acted more like Lydia than Lizzie ).

    It is a very unhappy case in my opinion : she finds her escape in a novel where courtship and true love are praised.Only when her boyfriend proposes to her in a very disgusting manner she realizes that she had done wrong and this is not the sort of life that she wanted!

    Amanda makes her second mistake when she travels into the past: she assumes that all you have to do is to read the novel and to know it by heart.She forgets that she is not Lizzie but only an outsider and that she cannot erase all that she has learned as a girl living in present days in a flash .
    Ah, but wait for it! She will learn. In the beginning, she doesn't understand why she is there, but she gradually realises, and the episodes become much much more interesting. The first is just an outsider in a strange world she knows, but not really. Amanda will grow as Lizzie grows too on the other side.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Question So what you are saying

    is this : that we are given a unique chance to glance at a transformation ( with all that implies physically ( hairstyle,clothes etc) and spiritually ) of two women that are separated by time :

    Lizzie the Austen era woman tries to become a modern woman and viceversa for Amanda?

  11. #11
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    A transformation takes place, yes, but not as one would presume: Lizzy does not change more than her nature permits, Amanda neither.

    I don't know how to say it... I think maybe the two merge into one kind of person, although with their own special tweeks.

    Have you seen it? Otherwise you should really look for it. It is so so so good. I would say, one of the most original and best in the last few years. Romantic clap-trap, but with some background.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  12. #12
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    part two

    Episode 2 starts with Amanda arriving at Netherfield in the rain, having run after Jane to try to get her back as she is at risk of dying from croup. Mr Darcy, like in the original story and the adaptation of 1995, can be called intrigued by this soaking wet woman. While at Netherfield, Amanda is compelled to eat oysters and larks while sitting opposite Darcy, but there is more than that: she is challenged to play. Amanda, who cannot play the piano and is not really very exercised singer, a truly modern woman, in the end sings Petula Clark’s Downtown.

    When you're alone and life is making you lonely
    You can always go downtown
    When you’ got worries, all the noise and the hurry
    Seems to help, I know, downtown

    Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
    [Lalalalalalala.. and] the neon signs are pretty
    How can you lose?
    The lights are much brighter there
    You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

    And go downtown
    (Things'll be great when you're downtown
    No finer place for sure, downtown)
    Everything's waiting for you.


    That is indeed where Bingley and Lydia will go (just what he professed to do after Amanda had sung the song), or at least will attempt to go: Downtown to Hammersmith. However, the song also highlights the ability to escape to another environment when one feels alone. It is what Amanda tries to do in Pride and Prejudice. When she feels down, gets upset by people being unfriendly, is stressed because of her job… she reads Pride and Prejudice. Escape is, too, what Charlotte will do ‘when life bec[omes] irreparably’ boring and lonely for her; it is what she and Elizabeth agreed to do when they were children: to escape to Africa.

    When Amanda is finally returned from Netherfield, after having saved Jane from an attack of croup with paracetamol and having told Bingley that she is a lesbian (in an attempt to make him fall in love with Jane instead), she returns to the door in the Bennets’ attic to tell Elizabeth about Collins who has just arrived, but as before, the door nor Elizabeth budge. Things now go totally wrong, as he proposes to Jane. Just in time, Amanda turns up with Charlotte Lucas, but Collins presumes it is Amanda who’d like to get married to him. In favour of her, he abandons Jane, but Amanda has not a mind to get married, although she is now engaged to him… In the meantime Bingley is ‘bewitched’ by Jane and Darcy starts his role as buttress, we will later see what significance the word has...

    It is altogether strange when Wickham comes on the scene: when Mrs Bennet, cured Jane, Kitty, Mary and Amanda return from Netherfield: the wheel of their carriage breaks and Wickham arrives as the hero to lend them his carriage. As it will turn out, he will gain a greater role that is less villainous than in Austen’s original. He gives a first indication towards the theme for Amanda when he says to her: ‘You fascinate me. I confess it, you have endured great hardships in your life, as have I.’ This, Amanda, nor other readers of Pride and Prejudice, believe, but it will turn out to be true when the real circumstances of Georgiana’s so-called elopement are revealed. Darcy still does not want to know him, but so he does not want to know Amanda and there is a strangely common theme in that…

    In an attempt to have Jane and Bingley still bond, now she has unwillingly high-jacked Collins, Amanda sends the two off into the garden to look for voles and tells them to sing ‘when they find anything’. The fact that they are going to look for voles is not surprising as it is an animal which is monogamous, knows ‘dating sites’ in nature, and as it is a species where males help to care for the little ones. The animal seems to be a coming together of Regency England and modern England: place where people meet in certain designated places (like the Assembly Rooms in Bath, and not in some or other bar), but where father also cares for the children. It is at this point in the series, that Darcy for the first time really speaks to Amanda, unlike the time they danced at the ball in Meryton, because he wanted to save the honour of his friend Bingley: ‘What advise you to sing, Miss Price? Because I have found something of interest.’ Amanda is stupid enough to ask what that is, and he answers: ‘You. You are not what you seem.’ And the two continue:

    Amanda:
    I can’t disagree with that. Look, I know you have a very poor opinion of me. That’s the way you are at the moment, and that’s ok. But one day, Mr Darcy, you will thank me.
    Darcy:
    In the meantime, Miss Price, you must content yourself with a warning. If you wound Bingley, you will find my displeasure painful and entirely unrelenting, for my…
    Amanda:
    …opinion once lost, is lost forever. Yes, I know.
    Darcy: (looks surprised at the expression)

    What the two say here, especially Darcy, is striking. It is a first glimpse at his struggle. Wickham will turn out to be totally innocent and Darcy will end up fighting for his buttresses and he himself as a buttress, not knowing what he should think of himself (as in the original and the 1995 adaptation). It is ironic that he here warns Amanda not to wound Bingley as he is doing it himself (in the original and in the adaptation of 1995) by not taking seriously Bingley’s feelings and preferring society above human wishes. But he himself now starts to see something in Amanda that is not what is on the surface. Indeed, she at that point is not polished as normal people in his acquaintance and in a certain way she could stand for ‘the noble savage’ erroneously identified with Rousseau (who is also referenced in episode 1 implicitly when Mr Bennet has lent Bingley a book on Rousseau, but also more explicitly in episode 4 by Bingley himself when making a spear). The theory of the noble savage professed that all people were good at heart and that society made them bad. Rousseau did not believe this so radically, but he did profess that foremost a good society was needed to make good men. Essentially, Darcy sees something good in Amanda that he is not supposed to see and cannot believe that he can see, as he himself relies on society to tell him what is good. Amanda is clearly not of that society and is clearly an example therefore, of ill-breeding. Why does she fascinate him?

    When the ball at Netherfield comes along, Wickham spreads rumours about the origins of Miss Price’s income of a staggering £27000 a year (compare Darcy’s income of £10000 a year! The 27000 was of course the wages of Amanda in modern day Hammersmith, which is a normal wage in modern day London ): her father is a fish monger. A fortune in trade was not the best you could get, and naturally, Collins does not want to marry Amanda anymore as he cannot have an income from trade if he is to become a bishop… He does not only withdraw his offer of marriage on that basis, but also advises her that wanting the society of Mr Darcy would now be a total impertinence. She, who does not care for this as a modern woman, can just not contain herself and kicks him in the balls. Although Darcy shows her the door politely, he is intrigued by this unpolished kind of person. And probably even more intrigued at his interest in that unpolished wretch…

    The second episode then concludes with Jane marrying Collins, as he is now free from Amanda, and Charlotte’s decision to go to Africa. Although there is also another dialogue of Amanda and Darcy:

    Amanda:
    You are better than this. I know you are, Fitzwilliam Darcy, because I’ve had you in my head since I was 12 years old. So, why are you behaving like such a total… git? Jane has no money, so what? Bingley’s got stacks. What right do you have to thrash their love because of an accident of birth?
    Darcy: (he stares out of the window)
    There is no accident in birth.
    A:
    Do you know why I am so angry?
    D:
    You were born thus.
    A:
    I’ve been in love with your life for 14 years. Cut my heart out, Darcy, its-‘s your name written on it with Elizabeth’s. God almighty! Here, you are… one half… the greatest love story ever told. You. And you know what? You don’t deserve her.
    D:
    Is this interview concluded? It is so difficult to tell.
    A:
    You are such a disappointment, I can hardly bear to look at you.
    D:
    A deprivation I shall endure as stoically as I can.
    A:
    You’re so relentlessly unpleasant! I just can’t get at the real you!
    D: (until now he has been staring out of the window, now he turns to Amanda: )
    Madam! Behold, Fitzwilliam Darcy! I am what I am! If you find yourself unable to get at an alternative version I must turn to being glad. I despise the intrusions of a woman so singularly dedicated to mendacity, disorder and lewdness. They repel me. You repel me. You are an abomination, Madam! Good afternoon to you.
    (Leaves the room).

    From intrigue and fascination, in one go Darcy has gone to total disgust. As in 1995, he addresses nature for help through the window, his own human nature that is strangely attracted to Amanda/Elizabeth, but a nature which his society so much has polished that he cannot find it, like Amanda. As such, he is troubled when he finds himself strangely liking this ‘savage’. Their two views on societal structures also differ: Darcy, having been born before the times of Darwin believes that society’s structure is given by God, so indeed ‘there is no accident in birth’ and as he says in his very first scene: ‘God loves a gentleman, it is the gentleman’s duty to return the compliment.’ God loves a gentleman, because He has given him great wealth and power (to a certain extent) unlike to the poor, so he must do his duty and do what God expects from him (i.e. go to church, marry the one God would approve (as Caroline Bingley puts it the end)). Amanda, on the other hand, is born in a time where birth and status is not God-given and so indeed calls his status an ‘accident of birth’, which it is to her. Hardship and poverty are no longer at courtesy of God, but are one’s own responsibility. And so, he can change his views/behaviour, in opposition her who ‘was born thus’. He believes her to be born thus, so he himself is also born thus. There are not two Darcys within the one, or are there?

    Bibliography:

    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy



    Moderators, please, if Petula Clark's song or any other transcription of dialogues is against copyright rules, then please notify me.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  13. #13
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    Question well

    a big problem arises :

    What if both them become bored and want go back again?

    Let's say that Amanda has nothing to lose : nothing good awaits her in modern times .What does she have : a boring job, a small apartament, a sellfish and ignorant mother, an ill-manered boyfriend?

    But Eliza, well that's another question : she has a good father , a good sister Jane ( well although her sisters and her mother are annoying still you can't say that she doesn't hate them that much ) , a good friend ;it's true that she doesn't have a job but she is educated and she has attracted men that would like to marry her ( even if let's say that Wickham and Mr. Collins are not good suitors that doesn't mean that she can't meet someone interesting in the future-referring to the beginning of the novel where Mr Darcy hasn't made his proposal ) .Won't she miss the persons she loves in the future?

    What if that door closes forever and she remains in the future?

    Another problem: Lizzie is in the future but she is flesh and blood (she hasn't reincarnated herself in Amanda's body and neither did Amanda).So can she make a future of her own with no papers , no credit card on her name and not a small evidence that she has been born in the modern world?

  14. #14
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Yes, that seems a little strange, but I don't think one should think so far. We cannot actually go into another world, and Lizzie is not even real, so she can't actually step into Amanda's bathroom for real.

    However, it would be possible to see Lizzie as a nonexistent side of Amanda.

    But after all, does it mater whether it is really possible? More fantastic things have been without being possible...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  15. #15
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    @Virgil:

    Not an essay for school (I am 27!). I put it on here to share because I was so enchanted by i!
    So you are 27, what does that mean? I finally got my masters degree when I was 38, or around there. One can go to school at all ages.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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