About the Authors
Once upon a time, when I was fourteen, I had run out of books to read. This was a recurring phenomenon that happened approximately every three weeks, and my mother was, I think, getting rather tired of hearing me bewail my lack of good novels. My grandfather had given me a gift card to Borders for my birthday, so she took me there one afternoon and told me that I was quite old enough to begin reading Jane Austen if I so chose... and, well, I did so choose. I knew almost nothing about that excellent woman at the time, except that she was a very famous author who had written a great many (or so I thought) romantic novels in some prehistoric time known as the Regency Era, which took place somewhere between the time periods of Felicity Merriman and Josefina Montoya, to the best of my limited knowledge.
But since I was quite willing to try a new classic, I purchased a copy of P&P with my gift card and took it home to read-- and I was hooked from the first page. I'd braced myself for a long, hard read, full of difficult words and little wit. And was I ever surprised. I was laughing--out loud, mind you--by the time Mr. Bennet had done affirming his longstanding friendship with his wife's poor nerves, and at the end of the book I closed it with heartfelt regret. The only thing that soothed my disappointment at seeing the story end was the knowledge that there was a movie to go with it, a movie my parents had seen and loved a few years before.
My mother and I split the watching of P&P over two evenings, and I wanted the movie to go on and never end. It was the longest film I'd ever seen in my life, the most "grown-up" I'd seen to date, the first period drama I'd watched besides my beloved Anne of Green Gables, and it marked the beginning of a fondness and fanship that I trust will continue 'til the end of my days.
Oh, and I managed to get over my initial displeasure with Colin Firth's appearance ("THAT'S Mr. Darcy??? He doesn't look anything like I imagined!") quite quickly, though I still maintain he's not precisely on par with the Book Mr. Darcy. *ducks rotten tomatoes*
Once upon a time, when I was fourteen, my older sister asked me if I'd ever seen Sense and Sensibility, and when I replied that I had not, she was slightly shocked and determined to rectify the situation as soon as may be. So before I knew it I was in her living room being introduced to the Dashwoods; little did I know it would change my life forever. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but really it isn't. I knew as soon as it was over that I wanted more, and somehow or other I knew that the author of Sense and Sensibility had also written Pride and Prejudice, and I remembered seeing that title on an old VHS in our TV cabinet. So I dug it out and watched it forthwith.
Sadly, however, it was not the real version. It was actually the old black-and-white version from 1940. I liked it well enough, but never did quite catch what was going on (partly due to the less-than-ideal quality), and knew pretty well that the old B&W movies sort of take a lot of liberties with literature. So I put a hold on a different copy from the library. Fortunately this time I got lucky, and it was The Real Version.
I was captivated. Wholly captivated. I will confess, though it be a tad mortifying, that some of the conversation which I now delight in rather went over my head a little at the time, but I still understood the the bulk of what was going on, and it was a wonderful experience. Somehow the 1940 version hadn't managed to ruin the story for me—perhaps I hadn't actually watched the whole thing, I can't remember now—and I was still at the edge of my seat during the exciting parts... and as for the end... I just sat there with this indescribable happy feeling. I'd always loved old-fashioned things, but this was still a completely new experience. Before I quite knew what was going on, I had jumped with both feet into The World of Jane Austen, voraciously learning everything I could, thrilling in it all, and I have remained there to become what you see me today: a devoted Jane Austen Fan—or a Crazy Janeite, if you will. I went on to discover even more about other classic literature authors, and delightful as they may be, nobody and nothing has ever held a candle to Jane Austen in my eyes.
And as to Pride and Prejudice. Well, it was the first movie I finally had to admit to liking better than my beloved Anne of Green Gables. It became my very favorite—favorite movie, favorite book, and of course my favorite Jane Austen story as well (though I like all of them a very great deal).
The Two Together
The Authors of this Blog, Miss Dashwood and Miss Marianne, may sometimes be called two nuts in a case, but you know, two nutcases are better than one. They are as close to being sisters as two people who were not born sisters can be, so be forewarned that anything you may say to one may be subject to be passed on to the other. (Together they form a neighborhood of voluntary spies, you know.) Besides being a couple of oddities they are also quite Opinionated, and believe that people for whom P&P does nothing can hardly be kindred spirits. (We're sorry to pain you, but so it is.) However, they are firm in the faith that there are enough P&P95Forever Fans to make this new Blogging Adventure of theirs a Success, and they look forward to seeing what comes of it.
Miss Dashwood, whose real name is Amy but used the pen name Miss Dashwood when she first started blogging, is the author of Yet Another Period Drama Blog, and (as Miss Marianne insists she adds) the delightful book Only a Novel.
Miss Marianne is really Melody who writes Regency Delight ~Jane Austen, &c.~, but she finds pseudonyms fascinating, and chose Miss Marianne because 1) she identifies a great deal with Marianne Dashwood, and 2) because this makes her Miss Dashwood's sister, which is a happy thought indeed.
(Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, as you hopefully know already, come from Sense and Sensibility, and as it may seem more natural for us to use names from P&P, this way you will not get confused when we are talking about the characters from the story to which this blog is dedicated.)
Miss Dashwood and Miss Marianne met on a fateful day in October of 2011, when Miss Dashwood began following Miss Marianne's blog, and Miss Marianne promptly returned the compliment. (You can read more on that subject at the About page.) Since then, we have become the closest of friends—true kindred spirits. We hope very much that this new venture will introduce us to more kindred spirits who share our love of P&P95.
And we can't think of a really good ending sentence, so until we do, this imaginary hug from both of us to you will have to suffice.
(If you wish to write to us--you will have nothing better to do--you may do so at shelvesinthecloset95[at]gmail[dot]com. We look forward to hearing from you!)