The “studying Jane Austen because it’s mentally beneficial to have something to do” plan is going well! Here’s the order I did for Sense and Sensibility:
4. The BBC series:
It occurs to me that this might make a nice gift set for someone. Kind of expensive, but maybe just the thing for, like, your mom who’s so hard to shop for. It’s like a fun Jane Austen class kit. Maybe add a pretty teacup, and some tea, and some fancy cookies.
I liked both movie versions, but preferred the first one. This could be due to several things:
1. I saw the Emma Thompson one first. When I was reading opinions online of which version was best, it seemed like a lot of the arguments had “THIS ONE IS BETTER FOR MANY INTELLECTUAL AND LOGICAL REASONS” on the surface, and “I saw that one first so it seems Right to me” underneath.
2. I was familiar with (and fond of) the actors of the Emma Thompson one, and not with the actors in the BBC one.
3. I saw the Emma Thompson one before I read the book. This could be crucial: by the time I saw the BBC one, I was watching with a more critical eye. It seems to me that the Emma Thompson one more accurately portrayed the book—but that could easily be because when I saw it, I hadn’t yet READ the book.
4. As mentioned in #3, it seemed to me that the Emma Thompson one was much closer to the book. INTELLECTUAL AND LOGICAL REASONS.
5. By the time I watched the BBC version, I was getting a little tired of the story.
6. Maybe I just liked it better. That can happen.
I definitely recommend the annotated book, though now I would like to read ANOTHER annotation, because there were a number of places where I thought, “Oh, I’m glad I’m reading an annotated book so I can get an explanation for THIS!”—and then there WASN’T one. A careful definition of the word “mean” as in stingy, but no explanation of why it’s shocking for Willoughby to say “You are too good.”
I also do recommend reading the book (annotated or not) AFTER seeing the movie. It was so much easier for me to understand the book that way, and then the book is especially pleasing because it adds MORE: more characters, more dialogue, more interactions, more explanations. Really very pleasing and interesting.
Maureen and Nancy recommended Emma Thompson’s screenplay and diary; my library system didn’t have it, but I found a used copy on Amazon for $4.00 (1 penny plus $3.99 shipping). I only skimmed the screenplay itself; what I wanted was the DIARY. And it was completely worth it. It made me love Emma Thompson EVEN MORE, and was 75 pages of little details about the making of the movie: cast/director disputes and anecdotes, set/lighting/weather problems, kissing Hugh Grant, etc. It made me want to (1) watch the movie again and (2) be BEST FRIENDS with Emma Thompson. Very satisfying.
I’d thought I might go on and do more study, but by the time I finished the BBC movie (actually a 3-part miniseries, but I watched it like a movie), I’d had about as much Sense and Sensibility as I wanted for now.
My plan was to start right in on Pride and Prejudice next, but I got distracted by some books that came in for me at the library, and also a book I found at Goodwill, and also by a Shirley Jackson kick triggered by Shelf Love, and also by getting ready for company.