Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goodnight, Mr. Darcy: A Book Review


"And there were three officers sitting on chairs
And Lydia and Kitty
Who were sure they looked pretty
And Mr. Darcy surprised by a pair of fine eyes..."
~Goodnight Mr. Darcy

Well, would you look at this-- the P&P95Forever Club is giving their first official review and endorsement!  (Okay, I don't know if this really counts as an endorsement... but we can call it that if we want to, right?  It makes us sound more professional and important.)

Today we'd like to bring you a review of the delightful new children's book Goodnight Mr. Darcy.  You've probably heard of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, which is winsome and adorable and snuggly in its own right, but-- dare I say it?-- Goodnight Mr. Darcy is better.

Because Pride and Prejudice, that's why.

Goodnight Mr. Darcy is one of the BabyLit parodies from Gibbs Smith, and basically it takes a children's classic (Goodnight Moon), mashes it with an adult classic (P&P) and produces a sweet piece of fiction that every Janeite parent should get for their child.  Gibbs Smith contacted us a while ago asking if we'd be willing to review the book, and since they're super nice, they sent us a free copy.  We say "us," but the book went to Miss Dashwood, who will be keeping it until one of us gets married and has a baby (hopefully in the far distant future, haha), at which time the book will go to the child, whom we hope will duly appreciate it and be trained up in the way in which he or she should go.

Introducing small children to classics is a great and wonderful thing, and what better way to do it than through a sweet, colorful picture book that will soothe them to sleep AND help them get to know some of the greatest characters who have ever graced the pages of English literature?

The story, wittily written by Kate Coombs and accompanied by charming illustratons from Alli Arnold, chronicles an evening at the Netherfield ball, hinting at the romance between Jane and Mr. Bingley (and the forthcoming mush between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy), complete with slightly snarky references to Mrs. Bennet and her three very silly younger daughters.  We highly recommend it to Janeites both young and old (and most especially for infants, who can never begin learning too young).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Announcing... the WINNERS!

Go ahead and scroll down.

Keep scrolling.

Keeeeeep scrolling.

Keeeeeeeeeeeeep scrolllllllllllllling.



Well, you seem to be still scrolling, so maybe there's some hope.

Nope, not there yet.

Little bit more.


Lizzy and Darcy congratulate you!  Sedately, of course.

(We had to do all that to make sure that people wouldn't be able to just read the winners' names in the little blurb that will appear on their dashboards.)

Anyway.  Our heartiest congratulations are extended to...

Lydia, who won the Jane Bennet Quote Mug from Etsy seller Brookish!
Natalie, who won the Miniature Classic Novels Pride and Prejudice Necklace from JaneDaJewelry!
Livia Rachelle, who won the Jane Austen Novel Quotations Bookmarks from Dorothy Jane!
Kerry, who won the Elizabeth Bennet Quote Keychain from NovelArtsIdeas!
...and Ainsley, who won the P&P Opening Line bookmark from Beyond the Pages!

Winners, please contact us at shelvesinthecloset95 {at} gmail {dot} com by Saturday, November 15th with your mailing address so we can get your prizes to you!  If we do not hear from you by Saturday, we will select alternate winners.

Everyone else, thanks so much for entering, and don't forget to check out the lovely donors' Etsy shops!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Grand 100-Followers Celebration Giveaway

And here we are, everyone, with the promised giveaway!  We have items for FIVE lucky winners!  "Fancy that, Lizzy!"

First, let's show you the goodies.

From Etsy seller Brookish (a fellow admirer of P&P95 and well-versed in bashing the fake one), we have this nice mug, featuring a quote from Jane Bennet in the miniseries.  I don't know about you, but I think it would be a fun thing to see in the morning when you go to make yourself tea (or coffee, if you're a coffee person ;) ).

From Etsy seller JaneDaJewelry comes this lovely little pendant shaped like a copy of Pride and Prejudice!  This tiny wee book could reside on your favorite necklace chain, a ribbon or even on a charm bracelet.

From Etsy seller Dorothy Jane, these beautiful bookmarks will look splendid gracing the pages of your favorite Jane Austen novels!  Don't forget to check out Dorothy Jane's Facebook page as well as her Etsy shop.  As something of a bookmark connoisseur, I think these are just adorable.  :D

This classy little keychain charm from Etsy seller NovelArtsIdeas features one of our favorite Elizabeth Bennet quotes! Who doesn't love a good laugh... or a cute trinket with a literary reference?

And lastly, there is good news for our Australian followers!  This item is especially for you.  You can have it.  Yes, you can enter the giveaway and might actually win a real thing that will be sent to you in the real mail.  You're welcome. ;)  Thanks to Angela from Beyond the Pages for donating this item!

Unfortunately, at this time only U.S. residents can enter for prizes 1-4, and only Australian residents for 5.  Everyone else... sorry. :(  Give us a peep as to where you live, though, and if there are enough of you from other locations, maybe we'll have something local for you next time.

To enter:

As is customary, there are lots of ways to enter!  To make things simple, everything's worth one entry each.

1. Follow this blog publicly.
2. Join/become a member of The P&P95Forever Club (see how here).
3. If you are a member, post an "I am a member..." button on your blog or website. (These are emailed to you when you join. If you didn't get one, let us know!) Send us a link so we can see it!
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog. (If you do not have a blog, let us know what you DO have and we will try to accommodate you.)
5. Follow our Facebook page.
6-10. Visit the following Etsy shops, then come back and tell us something that particularly caught your eye:

~Dorothy Jane/ Lace Girl AND her Facebook page
~Novel Arts & Ideas
~Beyond the Pages

So whichever of the above you do (or if it's already been done, like following), tell us in comments.  Yeah, we're just doing this the old-fashioned way. (Although I think we'll be using Mr. Random.org for "drawing"-- last time we literally put papers in a hat and... that was a lot of cutting paper and writing, haha.)

Also!  As promised, the last 15 people who followed the blog get an extra entry.  If my (Miss Marianne at the moment) calculations are correct, these are the people-- if you know you were one of them (between 86 and 100), and I missed you, please let me know.

mama jakeline 
Ainsley Pontmercy
Jessy Jones
Ruth Janes
Hannu Heino 
Anita GM

In order to claim that extra entry, you need to comment (using the account you followed with) and tell us you're here and you're entering.

The giveaway will last for ten days; it will be all over and the winners announced on November 13th, so make sure to get all your entries done by the end of the 12th! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In Which We Officially Bash Fake P&P

So here we are, at last, presenting something we promised long ago, something you may well have forgotten about, something that will effectively scare away any lingering P&P05 fans who may be lurking tentatively around the corners of this blog.  (We apologize in advance.  We really have nothing against you personally.  It's just the movie we hate.  Honestly.)

See, the two of us got together in real life (in case you didn't already know, we-- sadly-- live many miles apart from one another) this past March, and in celebration we decided to watch P&P05 together.  Or as we prefer to call it, FakeP&P.  Because we like inflicting torture on ourselves together.  It's a hobby.

...Well, really it was because we enjoy making fun of things together.  Because we are best friends, you see, and best friends don't judge each other, they judge other people (and movies) together.

Anyways.  We watched the movie (at three in the morning... ahem...) and as we went into it, we both thought that perhaps, just perhaps, we'd each been too hard on it when we'd seen it before.  Maybe it wasn't so bad after all.  Maybe there were some hidden good qualities that our embittered cynicism had been unable to see the first time around.  Maybe we'd end up kinda sorta liking it.  Who knew?  Let's give it a chance.

...Yeah, nope.  It was awful.  Which is why we're here to write this review.  Er, bashing.  Whatever.  Let us proceed.

We'll start off with Elizabeth Bennet herself-- no, let's call her Lizzie, because that's the way the filmmakers spell it.  That way we can differentiate between this character and the real Elizabeth Bennet.  ONE Bad Point so far, with many more to come... the name is Lizzy, folks, because that's the way Jane Austen wrote it.  Not Lizzie and certainly not Lizzi.  (Yes, the FakeP&P-ers didn't spell it Lizzi, but trust us, if they someday come out with a Sort-of Modern Interpretation that takes place in a 1970's hippie commune, the name will become Lizzi.  But we won't let this happen.  We shall overcome! Lizzy-with-a-y forevah!  Stay strong, fellow Janeites!)

One of the biggest things that bugged us about Keira Knightley's portrayal of Lizzie was her appearance.  Whether Keira Knightley looks like Elizabeth Bennet or not is a matter of opinion (it can't be denied that she does have fine eyes) but her slovenly way of dressing when she wasn't actually in a ballroom and the way she wore her hair... ay yi yi.  Flapping in the wind like the mane of a pony.  She's not thirteen years old, people.  Back then it was considered indecent for a woman to run around in public with her hair down.  Wearing your hair loose was equated with being in a state of undress (i.e. in your nightclothes or negligee... OH WAIT, she does that too!) and was only for the privacy of one's bedroom.  Certainly not for parading the streets of Not-Meryton.

And aside from all that, she just isn't Elizabeth.  Her manners are completely wrong.  Lizzy can be fun and carefree, but she always does retain her dignity and is a lady at all times (scampering about the countryside, with no one else around, does not count).  With Lizzie, it is not that way.  She bounds around just like one of her younger sisters... and don't get us started on her giggle, which is excessively annoying.  Elizabeth Bennet, on the other hand, would have had a delightful laugh.

She also would not go about shouting things like "YOU CANNOT MAKE ME!" and "FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, LEAVE ME ALONE!"  That is both unladylike and disrespectful.

There's more to say, of course, but we don't exactly want this to turn into a whole novel, so you get the idea.  And we believe we now have four Bad Points-- for Lizzie's name, her hair, her manners and speech.

Let us move on to the rest of the Bennet family-- but first let us take a look at their house.  Not too long of a look, though, because it's ugly.  UGLY.  And way, way too poor.  The people making this movie obviously did not understand what Lizzy and Jane meant when they spoke of having no fortunes... they kept servants, for crying out loud.  Plus, what is up with having a random pig running through the dilapidated old hovel.  Um, what.  (Miss Marianne's hypothesis is that perhaps since Lydia doesn't know how to snort properly in this version, the pig is there to be her tutor in that direction.  Miss Dashwood applauds this notion and giggles at it randomly when she happens to think about it, even when she is out in public... a rather Lydia-esque course of action, in point of fact.) 

As for Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, perhaps better known as the Not-Bennets, they are, to be blunt, duds.  (Do we get an award for all those commas?  No?  Okay then.) Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet is not half as fun as Alison Steadman-- what's up with her being a whiny half-sympathetic wimp?  Where's the neurotic, squawking marriage-obsessed mom we all know and love?  You almost feel sorry for her once or twice, and that's not what Mrs. Bennet is supposed to be.  She's a caricature, not a creature of pity.  Modern filmmakers, will you STOP whitewashing negative characters????  As for Donald Sutherland... come on.  The man does nothing but sit around in his long hair and unshaven face and look soulfully at his plants.  "Oh, orchid.  You understand me." The sharp wit, the actual close relationship between him and Elizabeth-- nope, not there.  Actually, basically nothing is there.  It'd make more sense if the dude didn't even exist.  He's totes in boresville.  NEXT.

Let's talk about some of the other Bennets.  Kitty and Lydia.  The only thing interesting about Kitty was that she was played by Ada Clare--um, we mean Carey Mulligan.  Other than that, she was so boring and really, pretty much equivalent to a prop.  She was of even less consequence than Kitty generally is.  Lydia... blehhh.  She wasn't the worst Lydia we've seen, but... pretty boring as well.  And they did dumb stuff with the script for her-- whyyy on EARTH did they have her know that Mr. Darcy paid Wickham and all that?  As if it's completely normal?  Nooo.  She knew he was at the wedding (I mean duh, she has eyes) but she didn't know any of that.  Didn't seem to seek the knowledge, either.

The two of them also have problems with their hair, but that's mostly owing to the general bad-hair-ness of the movie and the wrong time period thing. Ohhh, but we didn't talk about THAT yet, did we?  *rubs hands together in anticipation*

Some people say that setting this move in the 1790s (which is a general and admitted fact) makes sense, as Jane Austen wrote the book in 1796.

*climbs onto soapbox*
Jane Austen began writing First Impressions in 1796.  This was an early version of Pride and Prejudice, but she actually rewrote the whole thing a year or two before it was published, in 1813.  We know from things she said that a lot of things were changed, and obviously she's going to be updating the story for Present Audiences if she's rewriting it all.  So, the story is set in 1813, or 1812, if you prefer.  End of story, peoples.

Therefore, we should not be having natural-waist dresses, poofy pompadours, and perfectly Georgian styles.

Some people also argue that the especially 18th-century-looking ensembles of Lady Catherine are because she's an older lady and clings to her old ideas of what fashion should be.

Heh, nice try.  Let's review this quote from Mr. Collins.
"Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and her daughter. I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest--there is no occasion for anything more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved."

If Lady Catherine was so fashion-conscious, I seriously doubt she'd be wearing clothes about thirty years old.   Even in 1796, she would have been quite outdated, so that's actually another Dumb Thing that the movie-makers did. 

*climbs back down*

Speaking of Lady Catherine, might this be a good time to ask why on earth they had her show up at the Bennets' house in the middle of the night??  What EVEN?  That's just ridiculous.  She's too snobbishly high-class to do that.  And the Bennets all in their nightclothes... good grief.  (This movie really has a thing with nightgowns and nightshirts.  Which is... weird.)  The whole scene was nuts, anyways.  Lizzie ending up losing her temper and storming out of the room with everyone listening outside the door? 


It was supposed to a private conference, in the afternoon, in a prettyish sort of garden, and Elizabeth was very dignified the whole time even if she did become a bit... Indignant.  Not like a sassy teenager, though. Come on, peoples.

Overall the movie is just. too. modern.  It has this overarching modern FEEL-- inexplicable, but we'll give it a shot anyway.  The whole point of watching period dramas (for us at least) is to temporarily enjoy another time period and pretend one is actually IN a world where balls were a normal form of entertainment and people wore long skirts and bonnets and gentlemen were, y'know, gentlemen.  P&P95 does a beautiful, beautiful job of making the Regency era feel real and accessible and desirable, while FakeP&P slaps you down in the middle of a half-heartedly "old-fashioned" set and says, "Here, watch the heroine spin on a swing while a pig prances in the background.  Yay for the olden days.  Would they have had that kind of sofa back then...?  LOL whatevs."

The movie is full of historical inaccuracies.  Y'know that scene where the footman dude comes in and announces that "a Mrs. Bennet, a Miss Bennet, a Miss Bennet, and a Miss Bennet" were there?  Nooope.  Wrong.  You lose.

Sure, it's funny, in a sense, but... it's not right.  Back then there was a formula to avoid just that nonsense.  When in a group, only the oldest unmarried girl would be "Miss {Last name}".  All the younger girls were "Miss {First name} {Last name}."  So the correct way to say that, my dear footman, would have been "Mrs. Bennet, Miss Mary Bennet, Miss Catherine Bennet, and Miss Lydia Bennet."

Let's talk about some more of the characters.  Kind of went on a rabbit trail up there, but there's more to say.

We haven't talked about Mr. Darcy yet, haaave we?

Basically, in this movie, he's nice, but he's not Mr. Darcy.  Perhaps most importantly, his air is just wrong.  They played the 'shy' side of Mr. Darcy up wayyy too much.  Mr. Darcy is an introvert, but he's not bashful, and he is supposed to give that idea that he's being somewhat arrogant if people don't know how to interpret it correctly.  Matthew MacFadyen's portrayal completely missed a big chunk of Darcy's character, making him seem withdrawn, awkward, and kind of... sad all the time.  Weird.

Anyways.  There's more that could be said about him, but let's not bother with a case study.  This is quite long as it is.

Then there's Georgiana Darcy.  With her, it's like they forgot to actually read the part of the book where it describes her character.  First, they chose an actress, though around 17, they made to look about 14, with her hair down in three curl things.  Then she's just way too bouncy and not the sophisticated, seeming-older-than-her-age girl of the book.  Good grief, people, this is supposed to be a young woman who was going to get married when she was 15.  She's not supposed to be a little girl.  And she's supposed to be much more, well, shy... not perky and bubbly.  While she may have made a cute scene with her brother, they weren't the Darcys of the book.

The whole Pemberley bit was wrong, actually... which is quite sad, because it's a great part of the story.  Let's not even get started with the statues, and then the Bust of Darcy.  And Lizzie running out of the room as soon as she sees Mr. Darcy, again acting out of character.  The real Lizzy is dreadfully embarrassed but has the dignity to not make a spectacle of herself.

*begin short rant* Pride and Prejudice does not need more dramatizing, especially when you make such a MESS of it. *end short rant*

(Oh wait... this whole thing is a rant.  Heh.)

Let's talk about Mr. Collins for a moment, shall we?  Or maybe we should call him Osbourne Hamley... because that's all we think of when we see him.  (Tom Hollander is a good actor and all, but he belongs in Wives and Daughters, not P&P.)  He lacks humor, height, and hateability, in that order, except he doesn't really lack the hateability but I needed alliteration.  And he's hateable for all the wrong reasons.  The "what excellent boiled potatoes" line was mildly funny, but it doesn't make up for his general meh-ness in all his other scenes (of which there are shockingly few). In short, a dud.  NEXT.

Mr. Bingley is a complete idiot.  Sorry, Bingley fans-- we don't mean Mr. Bingley in the book, of course.  (Though it's a truth universally acknowledged that he doesn't have quite as much going on upstairs as certain other characters.)  Simon Woods is great in Cranford and all that, but as Mr. Bingley... nopety nope to the nope.  He acts like a lily-livered yes-man to all his sister's and friend's demands, he talks like an idiot in front of Jane (and she somehow thinks it's cute? um wut?) and his hair looks like a rooster's comb.  His one redeeming quality is that adorable little proposal-rehearsal scene near the end with Darcy.  That was cute.  :D

While we're on the topic of the Bingleys, permit us to gripe for a moment about this stupid character-erasing thing.  Why on earth was Mrs. Hurst left out???? In the book it's quite obvious that Mrs. Hurst is there to serve as a sidekick for Caroline Bingley-- otherwise Caroline's snide remarks about Elizabeth would fall on a deaf ear, because even she wouldn't make such comments about another lady if she were only in the presence of gentlemen.  I mean, come on, anyone who's read the book-- oh wait.

*ba dum tshhhh*

As for other characters who are completely missing, there is no apparent Sir William Lucas or Maria for Elizabeth to go with to Hunsford to visit Charlotte, so... she just goes by herself.  Um.

(Charlotte herself, by the way, is nothing wonderful, in fact sometimes downright annoying and not like Book Charlotte, even though that actress is quite good in other things.  Colonel Fitzwilliam is also blehhh. And then discussing Darcy-and-Bingley thing during a church service like a pair of six-year-olds?  Except six-year-olds would have been reprimanded by their mothers before they could progress in the conversation that much.)

Oh, and Mr. Wickham is a SLIMY CREEP.  Okay, okay, he's supposed to be that, we grant you, but he's also supposed to have an appearance of goodness, and Rupert Friend and his greasy, stringy hair did not.  (We have nothing against Rupert Friend; he was splendid in The Young Victoria.  Just for the record.) 

Time to move on again.  How about the scenes that were made complete messes of?

The first proposal.
Stalking Lizzie in the rain and randomly popping her up and scaring her half to death?
Yelling at each other?
Getting right into the Jane-and-Bingley matter when really he saved most of that that for the letter afterwards?
The worst offence was when they ALMOST KISSED.

Um.  What.
No.  JUST NO.  Why are they doing this weird thing, like Elizabeth is supposed to be secretly attracted to him the whole time?  She's nooot.  Because, happily, P&P is not a modern historical fiction novel. *Real-Lydia-snort*

But apparently the filmmakers thought they had to stick in at least one more scene that mimicked a third-rate historical fiction novel (probably one with a cover featuring a swoony heroine in a historically inaccurate dress), because they decided to have Arthur-- sorry, DARCY-- show up in Lizzie's room bearing a letter.  Yes.  IN HER BEDROOM.  BEHIND HER SHOULDER.  CREEPILY.  IN THE MIRROR.

Please tell us we weren't the only ones who thought it was supposed to be a nightmare at first.

But that scene's not the worst, really it's not, because you keep going on and on through miles of rubbish just like it (not even redeemed by Bingley's moderately cute proposal to Jane), and then...

And THEN.  Then we have It.

You know what we're talking about (more's the pity.) The infamous sunrise blathering.  The "your hands are cold" nonsense.  The traipsing about the London countryside in what would have at the time been a scandalous state of undress.  The fog.  (Okay, we don't actually have anything against the fog.  England is foggy, whatever.  But we needed another thing to complain about and we've already bashed Lizzie's hair quite enough.) 

We know that Jane Austen didn't dramatize the proposal scene very much in the book.  We know there's not a whole lot to work from.  (And if the filmmakers had read the book, they'd know that too... ahem... okay, we're doing that joke to death...) But that's no excuse for making the scene illogical (why were they both just randomly OUT at that hour?), inappropriate (yes, in the early 1800's it would have been extremely inappropriate to go cavorting about unchaperoned in what was basically your underwear), insipid ("your hands are cold"? really?") and insufferable.  Ugh, ugh, ugh and ugh.  Now, the far superior 1995 version romanticized that scene just a tad, but at least it was all perfectly plausible and fit right in with the events of the book and SOUNDED LIKE SOMETHING JANE AUSTEN MIGHT HAVE WRITTEN.

We ask you, would the woman who wrote "you pierce my soul; I am half agony, half hope" and "I cannot make speeches, Emma; if I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more" seriously pen something as dish-watery as "now then, your hands are cold?"  NO.  SHE WOULD NOT.

And even "you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I, uh, love, uh, you," quoted though it may be on Pinterest (and often misspelt, cough cough ahem), is basically the dumbest pseudo-romantic claptrap that ever graced a television screen.

Well, that and the unbelievably idiotic final scene, the one that made us physically ill, the one where they're languishing about in their pajamas again (at least they're married this time) and saying Mrs. Darcy over and over and over again. Yes.  Because chattering ceaselessly, according to Jane Austen, is THE BEST way to convince someone that you're in love with them.  If I loved you less, I'd talk about it less, and all that... oh WAIT.

Sorry, are we being a bit harsh?  Probably, yeah.  But it's our blog. ;P

So what are our final thoughts?

Um, is there a grade lower than an F?

All right, all right, we'll be nice.  On the whole, it's just... kind of boring, really.  If someone who knew nothing of P&P watched this movie and proclaimed the story to be boring, we can't say we'd really blame them, due to the representation.  If someone who knew nothing of period dramas watched this movie and proclaimed the genre to be dumb, we really couldn't blame them either.  As a film, it's nice to look at.  Sometimes.  Some of the cinematography is lovely.  But the script is trite (and a lot of the lines are said so fast and so dully that you don't really catch what's being said), the music is lovely but gets repetitive really fast, and... yeah, you get the idea.  (This isn't even an exhaustive list of the things that annoy us.  We just didn't want to make y'all sit here till kingdom come.)

In the end... just watch P&P95, folks, and don't waste your time with the two-hour version.

Though, of course, the reason you're reading this blog in the first place is probably because you already prefer The Good One, so we needn't advise you-- we shall just applaud your taste and let you proceed on your way.  Thanks for listening to our complaints. ;)

Oh, and here's a nice purty picture of Real P&P to reward you for slogging through all that nonsense.  ;)

(See, it's us gossiping about Fake P&P.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

P&P95 Location Tour: Guest Post

Miss Dashwood and Miss Marianne are very pleased to present to you today Mr. Hannu Heino, a "middle-aged gent from Northern Europe" and new member of the P&P95 Forever Club.  Mr. Heino was kind enough to share with us some of his experiences in traveling England and seeing the locations at which P&P was filmed, and we asked if he'd be willing to write up a guest post for the Club, as we thought our other readers might enjoy his writing as well.  Without further ado...

I was simply thrilled when Miss Dashwood suggested that I wrote a guest post about my recent adventures into the world of Jane Austen. Thank you for this opportunity.

If you are reading this you must be fond of the book and the excellent 1995 adaptation. You are probably also deeper into Austen than I am. As a Janeite I'm really a noob, but a passionate one, and that is something I wish to share.

You might be surprised to hear that the books of Jane Austen were not read at school at the time I was there. I don't think they do even now. We had to read some American literature like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger, but not any English and definitely not Austen. I've read quite a lot of science fiction and fantasy in my youth, but been more into memoirs than fiction later on. Up to this spring I never had any interest in Austen's books as I considered them "ladies only". I did have quite a prejudice, didn't I?

I know better now.

Learning about Jane Austen's masterpieces as a mature adult has given me an opportunity to really enjoy them; to understand the multiple layers of the stories and to find out how delightful they are. As a teenage boy I surely wouldn't have appreciated them.

I'm actually pleased that I hadn't read Pride and Prejudice as a youngster. This newly-founded enthusiasm of mine prompted me to visit the filming locations in England. It was a pilgrimage for 20th anniversary of the filming and 200th anniversary of the book (yes, yes, that anniversary was in 2013 already).

We (my dear wife and me) managed to visit quite a few of the important locations in June.

The Hunsford Parsonage (Teigh Old Rectory) was our starting point. We stayed three nights where the staircase is "neither too steep nor too shallow" and where there are "shelves in the closet". Lizzy's bedroom is located upstairs on the second floor exactly where you see it in the film; still the same colour of paint, but no shelves in that closet (too inconvenient for the guests). The first floor parlour has still got the same wallpaper and it felt like Mr. Darcy had just proposed to Lizzy Bennet there. The proprietor, Mrs Owen was kind enough to light up the fireplace in the parlour for us. Her two cats prefer sitting there, just like Charlotte did; we had some wine and cheese.

Rosings Park (Belton House) is further away from Hunsford than mere a lane, about 20 min drive. While admiring the grandeur of the park you can "mark the windows, there are sixty-four in all. Sixty-four!". The green dining room of Lady Catherine is actually quite unique, there is nothing like that in the rest of the house. You recall Mr. Darcy running up the stairs to the second floor to write that important letter, but his room really is on the first floor (which you can also observe in the film). Darcy's bedroom is truly decorated like that; there is the writing desk and that magnificent canopy bed.

On the way to the Peak District we revisited Chatsworth (we had been there before), because "there was no awkwardness there."  Make sure you won't miss it if you ever go to Derbyshire. While exploring the narrow pathways of the Peaks (thanks to gps sat nav) we reached the Roaches and climbed onto the Ramshaw Rocks, famous for the "victory sign" shape of the rock formation. P&P is the only film I've seen them in, however: "Elizabeth, be careful. How could I face your father if you trip and fall?"

Right between Chatsworth and the Ramshaw Rocks there is the charming village of Lambton (Longnor) where "there is two gentlemen and a lady waiting upon you in the parlour."
There is actually no inn on Chapel Street, but you'll find one on High Street. We had supper there.

Pemberley (Lyme Park) is no more than 20 miles from Lambton. We did enjoy the beautiful grounds and I agree that "I don't think I've ever seen a place so happily situated. I like it very well, indeed." Seems like nothing has changed there. I was expecting to see Lizzy and the Gardiners strolling on the lawn and Mr. Darcy appearing behind the bushes at any moment. You can dress up in 1910's clothes during your visit there, but there didn't seem to be any Regency (1810's) apparel available. I don't think Mr. Darcy would have swam in any of the murky ponds, particularly not the one on the northern edge of the grounds.

Naturally we also applied to the housekeeper to see the inside of the place and sighed "of all this I might have been mistress!" The interior of Sudbury Hall fits very well to the book and is much more appropriate a location than Lyme Park would have been (Lyme and Belton are quite pompous). The grand staircase is really grand, as well as the gallery upstairs which displays portraits of wives and mistresses (which you can spot by the depth of their décolleté). The portrait of Mr. Darcy is missing. The furniture of the music room is also missing; a couple of chairs do not a music room make!

You'll find some more pictures of the Pride & Prejudice sights we just visited in my site: https://plus.google.com/photos/103708968441393416987/albums/6030700986465054161?authkey=CLugj676yPSs2wE
There are short captions and location coordinates in each of those pictures, just click on the first one to start the show.

I'd like to recommend buying "The Making of Pride and Prejudice" by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin. It is an absolute must for all P&P95 fans (and it is very cheap).

You might also like to learn that Victoria Owen, the proprietor of Teigh Old Rectory, has got an album of the pictures she took during the filming in their house in June 1994. There are nice off-stage pics of Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth, David Bamber, Lucy Davis, Lucy Scott and Nadia Chambers. That album alone makes it worth your while to stay overnight in there. Not to mention the warm hospitality of Mrs. Owen.

So, what got me finally interested in the Pride and Prejudice?

Well, there are few movies or TV series which I consider worth watching. The original Brideshead Revisited and the Band of Brothers were such. The wonderful BBC miniseries had of course been aired on our TV several times during the past 18 years and I had seen some episodes occasionally, but not all of the series. Ever. Until I watched it on DVD one Saturday night in January and got absolutely hooked. I had to watch the 5 hours of the miniseries in one straight run; I just couldn't stop. Talk about excitement!

You could say I got infatuated with Pride and Prejudice. I fell in love with the book and with the BBC adaptation, the faithful script and the marvellous acting. I also fell in love with Lizzy, her fine eyes and pert opinions.

Having watched the remastered miniseries on blu-ray almost incessantly this spring and having also read the book a few times I just had to make this tour to fulfil the desires of the romantic heart of mine. Believe me, it was worth it. We didn't manage to visit Netherfield (Brocket Hall), Longbourn (Luckington Court) nor Weston-Super-Mare this summer. We must make another trip...

Thanks for sharing the details of your wonderful trip with us, Hannu!  To all our other readers-- if you've ever visited the P&P filming locations and would like to tell us about them, please send an email to shelvesinthecloset95[at]gmail[dot]com.  We'd love to have you write a guest post, too!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Post by Miss Jane Bennet: Why I Love Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Miss Jane Bennet of Classic Ramblings to the podium!  She is here today to talk about Mr Darcy-- or Colin Firth.  Well, both.  So sit up and pay attention because we're going to quiz you afterwards. (Well... not really.)

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy is really cute.  I have a thing for Dark Curly Hair (case in point: Sherlock), and he’s quite good-looking and reminds me of a teddy bear.

But he is NOT a Bear without a Brain, and it is because of the common misconception that he is that I’m here today with a Rant.
I like Colin Firth’s performance as Mr Darcy; in fact, I’m a huge fan of it and him, and I always picture him in my head when I read the book.  

…That previous statement probably got one out of two reactions: “AHHHH THE WET SHIRT!!” or “Ehhhh..he’s okay.”

Obviously, there are exceptions, but those seem to be the two main opinions, and sometimes that really frustrates me, because he’s a lot more than either “okay” or simply eye candy.  

I think a lot of Janeites are apathetic to his performance because he seems to have cheapened Mr Darcy.  And to an extent, that’s true; there are a lot of people who like Mr Darcy simply because of him and don’t really understand the character at all, and one doesn’t want to be lumped in with all the other Mr Darcy fans. :P

However, that is not the beginning and end of him.  He really does give an amazing performance, especially when you consider that he’s playing a character that’s been known and loved for centuries. That has to be pretty daunting.

One of my favorite things about his Mr Darcy are the smiles.  I think the little smiles at the beginning are characteristic of his pride and reserve, and then later as he unbends a little with Elizabeth, he smiles more openly, and then at the end, when he does The Grin, it makes a big impression because he’s so happy.  (The wedding always makes me choke up just a tiny bit.)

Another thing I really, really enjoy about Colin Firth’s acting is his interaction with Elizabeth.  He and Jennifer Ehle were in a relationship during filming, and that probably influenced it a bit, but I love all the scenes with Darcy and Elizabeth.  The awkward silences (with suppressed laughter on Lizzy’s part and pure misery on Darcy’s :D), the little hesitations Darcy has before speaking with her, his look during the scenes at Pemberley…and of course, The Proposals.
The aforementioned proposals are quite possibly my favorite things about his Darcy.  </ span>The first one is just such a huge mixture of emotions, and I think he got it down perfectly, from confident to embarrassed to angry to heartbroken.  And then during the second one, sadly brief though it is, he’s so nervous and tender and overjoyed, all at once.  I usually Squeal and Bounce during this scene. ;)

Those are some of the main things I love about his performance.  Of course, this is all partly a matter of taste, but I believe that he’s the best Darcy we’ll get for a long time, possibly ever, and for me he really IS Mr Darcy.  

With all these examples, my main point has been—Colin Firth is so much more than just a guy with a nice face or a weird penchant for jumping into lakes.  I’ll admit, sometimes I downplay his performance because it’s automatically assumed that if I like it, I like it because he’s handsome.  But he really did do an amazing job and I wish more people would respect that.

Thank you very much, Miss Bennet!  Miss Dashwood and I were quite pleased and amused by your Rant.  I appreciate you taking the time to write a post for us. :)

Everyone, do pop in and visit Miss Bennet over at her blog!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Please Re-Vote

For some reason, the poll on the sidebar is not working... at least, nothing's showing up for me.  If you could do me a great big favor and vote on this one instead, I'd be much obliged. :D
What Country Do You Live In? (For Research Purposes)
pollcode.com free polls 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Poll!

Mainly for research purposes (to know how to best set up our giveaway) but also because we're curious, there is a new poll on the sidebar asking what countries our readers and members live in.  We'd be much obliged if you put in your... well, not really vote, but... you know.

Yeah, I'm not good at wording things today.  Don't mind me...

~Miss Marianne

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dot-to-Dots, Chocolate and Blog Followers

For no reason whatsoever, here is a picture of
Mr. Bingley gazing wistfully at a pink rose.

Eighty-five followers!  What felicity this is!  Here we are at a bit of a milestone... and yes, it’s taken us a while to actually write this post.  We’re sorry.  But hey, we do have some Interesting Things brewing on the back-burner of this blog (which we are careful to turn off when we’re not attending to it-- we took fire safety in third grade just like you).

Now, back to what we were talking about.  Followers.  Eighty-five is nice, but it would be even NICER if we reached a nice, round, three-digit-ed 100… and that is the goal we are now pushing towards.  Not that that was a hint or anything.  Well, okay, it kind of was.

Basically what we’re trying to say is FOLLOW THIS BLOG AND WE WILL GIVE YOU PRIZES.

What kind of prizes?  Well, we can’t give away ALL our secrets, can we?  But remember the giveaway we had last year?  That was pretty fuuun, yes?

Draw your own conclusions. :D

In case you can’t draw, we’ll give you a dot-to-dot.
Dot One: This blog currently has 85 followers.
Dot Two: Once we reach 100 followers, we will have a Fantastic Giveaway.
Dot Three: [x number] fortunate followers will receive Fantastic Prizes.
Dot Four: Everyone will love us forever and this blog will become famous.

Okay, maybe one of those is a bit of a stretch but you get the idea.

So, Enthusiastic Readers, if you are indeed enthusiastic, feel free to do things liiike talking about us on your blog and telling friends and things like that, because the sooner we have 100 followers, the sooner Nice Things Will Happen.

And as we all know, dangling a carrot in front of people’s noses is the way to get them to do things.  Not that we’re treating you with condescension or anything... um... Miss Marianne, do you think this blog post is a little odd?

Of course it is.  Why would we dangle carrots in front of people?  CHOCOLATE is the answer.  *nods emphatically*

Naturally.  We can’t promise there will be chocolate in the prizes, though.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s been following and keeping up with our eccentricity!
And now this post comes to an abrupt and awkward end.


Update: It's about to get bigger and better-- the next fifteen followers (that is, 86-100) will automatically get an entry, as long as they claim it. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Funniest Lines Throwdown: Winner!

The people have spoken (er, voted) and the funniest line in P&P95 is...

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins... and I will never see you again if you do."
~Mr. Bennet, episode 2

Hip hip hooray and a big thank-you to everyone who voted!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Funniest Line Throwdown: Round Two

We are delighted to see that the Funniest Line throwdown seems to be going rather well-- thank you to all who participated in the polling last week!  Our Final Four quotes have been chosen, and humorously enough, three of the four come from Mr. Bennet.  The man is witty indeed.  :D  Please vote in the poll on the sidebar for your favorite (one vote per visitor, please) and come back on Saturday for the announcement of the winner!  In the meantime we hope to have a fun little surprise for you appearing on the blog, so keep a lookout.   :D

#1:  "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins... and I will never see you again if you do." ~Mr. Bennet

#2:  "Shelves in the closet!  Happy thought indeed."  ~Elizabeth

#3:  "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They’ve been my old friends these twenty years at least." ~Mr. Bennet

#4:  "May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?" ~Mr. Bennet

Monday, April 21, 2014

Funniest Line Throwdown: Round One

Due to the enthusiastic response to last week's nomination opening, this throwndown is turning into a two-parter.  Today there will be two polls to vote on, and the polls will be up through Saturday. Then on Monday the 28th, the winners of those polls will go against each other to determine the final Winning Quote.  The result will be posted Saturday May 3rd.

Without further ado, here are the lines we'll be voting on-- and to answer someone's question, if you made a nomination you are certainly still welcome to vote now. :)

Please read through this post first, as it has all the complete quotes, and where you vote on the sidebar, they will be condensed for the sake of space.

Poll One: 

#1:  "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins... and I will never see you again if you do." ~Mr. Bennet

#2: "Ah, you look very well, Lizzy! You will never be as pretty as your sister Jane, but I will say you look very well indeed." ~Mrs. Bennet

#3:  Bingley: Then... I have your blessing?
       Darcy: Do you need my blessing?

#4: "Oh, Mr Bennet!" ~Mrs. Bennet

#5:  Maria Lucas: Lizzy! Lizzy! Come into the dining room, for there is such a sight to be seen! Make haste!
       Lizzy: Is this all? I thought at least that the pigs had got into the garden!

#6: "Shelves in the closet!  Happy thought indeed."  ~Elizabeth

#7: "No one knows what I suffer with my nerves. But then I never complain!" ~Mrs. Bennet

#8: "You will never play really well, Miss Bennet, unless you practice more." ~Lady Catherine

#9:  "I'll tell you what I'll do. I shall write to Mr Bingley, informing him that I have five daughters, and he’s welcome to any of them that he chooses. They're all silly and ignorant like other girls; well, Lizzy has a little more wit than the rest." ~Mr. Bennet

#10: "But then, he may *prefer* a stupid wife, as others have done before him." ~Mr. Bennet (Sort of a continuation of the quote above.)

#11: "No lace, no lace, Mrs. Bennet, I beg you!" ~Mr. Bennet

#12: Darcy: And where are you staying?
       Elizabeth: At the inn at Lambton.
       Darcy: Ah, yes, of course.  (Also known as "Ohyesocourse.")

Poll Two: 

1) Elizabeth: We each have an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room.
   Darcy: This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure.

2) "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They’ve been my old friends these twenty years at least." ~Mr. Bennet

3)  "Resignation is never so perfect as when the blessing denied begins to lose some part of its value in our estimation." ~Mr. Collins

4) "It is a very handsome building, and prettily situated, sir. And by no means lacking in windows." ~Elizabeth

5) "You take delight in vexing me! You have no compassion on my poor nerves!"

6) "There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment in music than
myself, or a better taste. And if I had ever learnt, I should be a true proficient. And so would Anne!” ~Lady Catherine

7) Mrs. Gardiner: And just as handsome as in his portrait, though perhaps a little less formally attired.
    Elizabeth: Oh, we must leave here at once!

8) "You must tell him what a dreadful state I'm in. How I have such tremblings and flutterings all over me, such spasms in my side, and pains in my head, and beatings at heart, that I can get no rest either night or day!" ~Mrs. Bennet

9) Elizabeth: Yes, ’tis truly a very cruel deprivation. Indeed, I hardly know how I shall bear the loss of Lady Catherine’s company.
    Mr Collins: You feel it keenly! Yes, of course you do, my poor young cousin!

10) "May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?" ~Mr. Bennet

11) "And now the mother! Are we to be invaded by every Bennet in the country? It's too much to
be borne!" ~Caroline Bingley

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Funniest Line in the Movie: Throwdown Nominations

It's tiiiiiiiime for another throwdown here on the P&P95Forever Club!  Miss Marianne and I have been rather absent from the Club of late, we know (though we HAVE been together in real life, for two weeks in fact, and it was just as amazing as we'd hoped) but we're hoping to make a stunning comeback over the next couple of months.  So here's to new games and new fun and new posts and a whole sequence of continual delights!

Our get-back-in-the-game activity is to be a throwdown-- and we need your help!  Simply leave a comment nominating your favorite funny line of dialogue in P&P95.  We'll collect all the nominations and post a poll on Monday, April 21st for everyone to vote in.

Some guidelines...
~Please submit no more than three separate nominations.
~All nominations must be kept to no more than two exchanges-- that is, Character A says such and such and Character B says so and so, end of exchange.  Big chunks of dialogue will not be accepted.  One-liners are ideal.  :D
~Submissions must be from P&P95.  Obviously.  :P
~You can check the transcribed screenplay here to make sure your quotes are accurate (keep in mind that this script is not an authorized copy and is not entirely perfect).
~If a quote is submitted twice, we will list it only once in the poll.
~Have fun!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Yuletide Contest Winner!

The Misses Dashwood wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and are pleased to announce that the winner of the Yuletide Story Contest is...

Apple Blossom!

Congratulations to her and her writing muse.  :D  Here is her story in its entirety, for your enjoyment.


It is not to be expected that Mr. Darcy would enjoy a Christmas similar to the Bennets.  Frequent entertainment did not amuse him and since his sister readily fell in with his plans, it was easy to persuade her to spend a quiet Christmas at Pemberley with him.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh's command to spend Christmas at Rosings went unheeded but both Darcys warmly welcomed Colonel Fitzwilliam to stay for a fortnight.
Georgiana, who had not been in her joint guardian's company since November, eagerly called on him to share all his news.
“For I am sure,” said she, “That since my brother and I have been in London, a great deal must have happened in Derbyshire.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam disclaimed knowledge of any important events occurring in Derbyshire but was able to recollect that Henry Sempill had enlisted into the army and his mother, Mrs. Sempill, felt herself to be very ill used.
“I regret that is all the news of interest which I can offer to you,” he lamented.  “Darcy, surely you are able to regale us with stories from your time in Hertfordshire? I don't believe I have heard you speak more than two sentences about your stay there and yet when I saw Bingley, he could not stop praising the place and the people there.”
“There is nothing to tell,” replied Darcy. “I found nothing of interest in either the place or the people.”
The Colonel was undeterred.
“Doing it much too brown, Darcy!  You cannot make away with a whole district like that.  Don't be so abominably high in the instep.  Miss Caroline Bingley was with her brother when I saw him and she said you were much taken with a pair of “fine eyes” but beyond that she would say no more.  Now Darcy, I insist.  Whose “fine eyes” are these that you must be so secretive about them?”
“Miss Bingley should be able to tell you as
 appears to know all about it.”
“That's too bad of you, Darcy.  Too smoky by half!” He would have continued in this vein but seeing Georgiana's worried look, desisted. Darcy made no reply to his comment and there was a brief silence.
It was fortunate that the butler appeared and announced dinner at that moment, before any embarrassment could be felt between the parties.  Whilst Colonel Fitzwilliam's natural talkativeness was unabated, Georgiana's timidness and Darcy's reserve made it a quiet meal.  The turkey was duly admired and the plum pudding praised but beyond that, the conversation did not proceed.  However when Georgiana retired to the drawing room after dinner whilst the gentlemen drank their port, the Colonel returned to his original subject.
“Darcy, there is nothing serious in this “fine eyes” business, is there?”
“None, I assure you.”
“It must be Miss Bingley exaggerating again.  Well, Darcy, when you are inclined towards matrimony, I beg that you would pay no heed to the lures of Caroline Bingley for she is determined to bring you to the altar!”
“Of that, I am aware,” replied Darcy imperturbably.  “I have no intention of obliging her in that respect so you may put your mind at rest.”
“Quite so! You're a sensible fellow,  Darcy.  I believe you would have us all be as sensible as yourself when it comes to marriage.”
“As to that,” returned Mr. Darcy, “I have indeed, recently had the great fortune of rescuing a young friend from the inconveniences of an imprudent marriage.  There were some very strong objections to the lady involved and I congratulate myself on being able to free my friend for the marriage would have been a failure indeed.”
“Well,” Colonel Fitzwilliam said as he placed his empty glass on the table, “It seems you are a most loyal friend, indeed, Darcy.  I only hope you will be as helpful to me if ever I am in such a situation.”  The last sentence was spoken laughingly and both gentlemen rose from the table in a good humour.
Being Christmas, there was a roaring fire in the drawing room fueled by a large yule log. Georgiana and Mrs. Reynolds had hung wreaths of holly, ivy and rosemary above the fireplace and around the room.  It was only Christmas day so no greater festivity was needed.  Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas on January 6
, was the main day of celebration to be marked with plenteous cakes and other baked foods of a goodly sort.
“And where have you hung the mistletoe?” Colonel Fitzwilliam inquired of Georgiana when he entered the drawing room.
His teasing was taken in good humour by Georgiana for although shy, she was also a good natured, amiable girl and eager to please.  The mistletoe – hanging from the mantlepiece strait in front of the Colonel – was pointed out and he was obliging enough to salute her on the cheek.  These formalities disposed of, the rest of the evening was spend in a pleasurable fashion playing spillikins.  The party broke up shortly after eleven o'clock when Georgiana professed herself to feeling tired.  The Colonel retired soon after and Mr. Darcy was left to solitary contemplation.
Colonel Ftizwilliam would have found great interest in his thoughts for they turned to the “fine eyes” which he had mentioned earlier that evening and then to the possessor of those eyes.  Such thought was dangerous for her connexions were undoubtedly objectionable and matrimony must be out of the question. He would resolve to think of her no more, a resolution which should be easily kept as they must never meet again, now that he had quit Hertfordshire.  How many such resolutions have been made and how few of them are kept!  Mr. Darcy had no inkling of Elizabeth's forthcoming trip to Kent, at a time which would coincide with his and Colonel Fitzwilliam's own journey to Rosings. It was in this state of ignorance that his firm resolve was made and being quite decided, he was able to snuff out the candles and retire to bed, thus concluding Christmas day at Permberley.