A few years (late 1990's) back my sister and I (roommates at the time) watched Sense and Sensibility on almost a daily basis. The Emma Thompson version. That was before I bought the DVD of Pride and Prejudice, which became a yearly viewing occasion. And we saw Persuasion on PBS. And Gweneth's Emma.
Last year PBS showed a more recent version of Sense and Sensibility. And Persuasion. Never mind the movie version of Pride and Prejudice. There was also a version of Mansfield Park, but I missed it. As I had in novel form.
In fact, I'd missed a lot of Jane in novel form. I'd read P&P in high school, but not since. I'd read Persuasion in grad school, and then again just for the joy of it. I'd long considered Persuasion my favorite of her novels, but who was I to say? I hadn't read the rest, just seen them on TV. Which, lovely as some of the adaptations are (and I will write a blog about that at some point), isn't the same.
So a few friends and I decided to make this the year of Jane. We are reading all of her novels. In the order she wrote them (not the order they were published.) We met last weekend, and talked about Northanger Abbey. Not her best, but not Jane's best is still pretty good. And as a writer, reading her first work was really interesting.
PBS has been kind enough to schedule five weeks of Jane Austen movies (3 of Emma, Northanger Abbey and replay of last year's Persuasion). And the book project will continue as well. Reports on both will be forthcoming.