Did you know that Jane Austen’s ideas of romance were radical at the time? Yet today, we see her influence everywhere. She has almost defined our ideals of romance, even for people who have scarcely heard her name. Have you spotted her at a coffee shop or a movie theater near you?
This last Christmas, I was happily bundled up with my family– working on an “adult” coloring book, if you must know (because I am artistically challenged, so someone needs to draw the lines for me). While my mom, my daughter and I played with our colored pencils, we put on an old favorite movie: White Christmas. It is such a tradition in our house that I was actually fretting that I might not have an opportunity to watch it for 2017, but fortunately, no such calamity befell our household.
It was early on in the movie, during the scene when Wallis visits Davis in the military hospital to thank him for saving his life, that I began to realize there was something fishy going on. I saw those two gents and realized that they were almost carbon copies of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley! We have the world-wise and established Wallis befriending the almost puppy-doggish Davis (sort of by duress, but what’s a little blackmail between friends?). Wallis is later pressured to find a wife (by Davis again, rather than the ton of Darcy’s day) and he finds every woman Davis sends his way unsuitable. Shades of Caroline Bingley, anyone?
And, of course, we know what happened. They meet just the right girls for both of them; Wallis finds the sharp-witted, somewhat cynical Betty Haynes has over-taxed his powers of resistance, and Davis gets tripped up in his own noose by the cheerful, sweet-looking Judy (who rivals him in the arts of manipulation). And they all sang happily ever after. I, for one, will never be able to watch that movie again without accidentally referring to them as Darcy and Bingley.
I am curious how many other “Jane Sightings” you have spotted. There are the obvious nods to The Lady, such as You’ve Got Mail and Lost in Austen, but what about the more subtle ones? What about other classic literature that might have been influenced by Miss Austen, such as The North and Souths of the world? What about contemporary entertainment, like Clueless? Even music can provide rich fodder for society’s collective thoughts on romance, such as in songs like I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt.
So what do you think? How deeply has Jane Austen pervaded our culture? I can’t wait to read your thoughts!
Today’s giveaway is for one of three prizes. They are beautiful makeup compacts with artwork by Janet Taylor, as shown below. Each has a different painting, and will be drawn separately (although I accept bribes if you state your preference when commenting!). The drawing will be held on Thursday January 25, and the winner will be posted both here and on the Facebook page.