A video talk
The six most polished, controlled and elegant social comedies to be found in English Literature were written by a woman whose personal life was unexciting and confined. Jane Austen’s cool judgment, ironic detachment and her genius gave her books depth and charm and made them some of the most popular novels ever!
Did you know that today Jane Austen is the third most written about woman of all time? Did you know that she is the first woman writer in England ever to be featured on her country’s currency? She has also made television history – that moment when Colin Firth as Mr Darcy emerges from a lake in a wet white shirt has been voted the favourite TV moment of all time! Pride and Prejudice has been voted the world’s most romantic novel, and it must surely be the most prequelled, sequelled and adapted novel ever.
Jane Austen’s life was a quiet one, but it was not uneventful. In my talk I’ll tell you about her love life (was there a real-life Mr Darcy?), about her parents and siblings and how their careers and experiences influenced her writing, and about her struggles to get published. She began writing as a young teenager and has actually been compared with Mozart as one of the very few people in history to have produced works of genius while still in their teens. I’ll introduce you to her juvenilia and read you a hilarious segment from The Three Sisters, one of her delightful juvenile works.
“Of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.”
― Virginia Woolf
It is sometimes wondered (by those who do not know her books) whether Jane Austen’s fiction is relevant in our modern world. Should students be studying her works in schools and universities? If her characters drive carriages while we drive cars, does this not make her stories dated? Not at all! Human nature has not changed in two hundred years and Jane Austen’s acute understanding of what makes people tick is demonstrated on every page of her novels.
I’ll give you my views on why Jane Austen needs to be read today! I’ll give you a list of excellent books for further reading. And I have included some dramatic readings from two of her novels.
There is no known cure for a Jane Austen addiction. Reading Jane Austen’s novels has changed my life, infinitely for the better. I’d love to persuade you to share the ‘Joy of Jane’ and discover that you too can be enriched in this way.
Join me on a journey through her life and works – your life might never be the same again!
This Video Talk is a real treat! In it, I reveal intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. I identify the main characters and their roles, analyse the themes behind the story, and describe the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. This talk is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen.
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Thank you for your fabulous videos full of amazing information.
Susannah – there is just so much I have to thank you for that it is impossible to find a starting point.
The talks I used to travel to Sydney for were a highlight and I was almost distraught when COVID joined our ranks. You saved the day. Now each month I have something to look forward to with your literary lectures.
As always, this was terrific. It was informative, interesting and broad beyond the book or literature as such.
I was fascinated by Olive Schreiner’s life in her time and found her resilience in coming to terms with or dealing with having ideas ahead of her time inspirational. I really enjoy the way you weave interesting connections into your presentations.
You are delightful. Keep it coming.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel and listening to your insightful lecture.
Do you have a favourite Jane Austen novel? I know that not everyone shares my own personal favourite of Emma. Which was the first one you read, and was it a school text? There are thousands of books out there about Jane Austen’s life, her world, her characters, her style, her fans, and the film versions of her books – are there any you have particularly enjoyed? Let’s discuss it here.