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"Lost in Austen": a voyage into the fictional past

 
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 666
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: "Lost in Austen": a voyage into the fictional past Reply with quote

One of the British TV networks is currently showing a new 4 part series “Lost in Austen”. The premise is that a young woman who is a rabid Janeite walks through a door in her flat and into Longbourn House. The series website summarises it as follows:

Jemima Rooper stars as Amanda Price - the frustrated romantic who lives for reading and adores the characters in her Jane Austen books. Then one day she discovers a gateway in her flat and ends up being transported to her favourite world, the world of Pride and Prejudice. But is the “true” story in danger of being thrown off track by her presence?

There have been two episodes shown thus far and in the second episode Mr Collins has just married Jane Bennett! Oh dear – how will this unravel? I’ve got my Sky Box programmed for episodes 3 and 4 as I am about to go away on holiday for 3 weeks so I won’t know until October!

The series got me to wondering about our view of the past through the proverbial “rose tinted spectacles” and I have considered if I actually would walk through such an imaginary portal should it rise up and open in front of me.

I (and others here) have talked about how irritated we get with “20-20” hindsight and imposing current values and mores on the characters we read about set firmly the past. However, this series is a portrayal of the fantasy of actually living in the past. Amanda Price is a 21st century girl suddenly thrust into the early 19th century and she can’t help but be herself in how she speaks, acts, reacts, judges and feels. And, she is busy trying desperately to force everyone to follow the story line we all know so well – so far without great success!

An interesting premise – to go back in time in a novel rather than the known and genuine historical past.

My question is – If you could go back in time, in your favourite novel (and here I don’t just mean “serious” literature) which one would it be and why? Or would you never be tempted to indulge yourself. (I am assuming that you can return to reality!)


Last edited by Elaine S on Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 659

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spoilers for Lost in Austen.

Quote:
There have been two episodes shown thus far and in the second episode Mr Collins has just married Jane Bennett


I was watching it with my daughters, and we all just started gibbering at the TV. ("It's okay, she's only dreaming. She must be dreaming. Noooooo!")
Somehow, I'd assumed that the game would be that it all ended up the same: that after Amanda derailed things, her efforts to put them back on track would work.
Poor Jane! Poor Charlotte!
He was a truly repellent Mr Collins as well.
Very clever though, because it means everything really is up for grabs, which makes for a more interesting story.

As for books I'd go into: I think I'd probably - given the chance - have attended the Chalet School as a child, then migrated to Pern for my teenage years. (Always been scared of horses: I've no idea why I wanted a dragon so much.)

I'm now wondering whether it'd be different visiting say Gaskell, Austen and Quinn. If you visit historic London in a book - does it always smell like London did at the time - or does it smell however the author (want to say 'visualized', but that's clearly wrong) does it smell only if the author thought it did, or does it smell only if that's mentioned in the book?
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Anne Hume



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 152
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: "Lost in Austen": a voyage into the fictional Reply with quote

Elaine S wrote:
An interesting premise – to go back in time in a novel rather than the known and genuine historical past.

My question is – If you could go back in time, in your favourite novel (and here I don’t just mean “serious” literature) which one would it be and why? Or would you never be tempted to indulge yourself. (I am assuming that you can return to reality!)


I would like to go back to Lymond’s time in Scotland especially after Checkmate. I would like to see how and what would have happened to his relationship with the young Mary Queen of Scots when she finally went back to Scotland to rule. We know that her rule finally ended in tragedy. What would Lymond have done, what sides and other choices did he take? But for a genuine historical viewpoint, I would like to know the truth about Mary, Queen of Scots. She’s such a doomed and tragic woman. I felt so sorry for her. I would really like to know the truth about her - did she really write those letters (the Caskett Letters) or were they forgeries, the death of Darnley and her relationship with Bothwell, was she forced or did she really fall in love with him, etc...
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