I guess you all know I love Jane Austen, don't you? Or would you have guessed if I hadn't told you? In times of great stress or emotional turmoil, I turn to Miss Austen and go away into another time and place. Grieving, I visit Pemberley and experience again the surprise when the family is at home. Lonely, I channel Anne Elliot and ponder the choices I made that led to this moment. Limited, I sit in the attic with Fanny Price and dream of riding with Edmund.
This winter, this never ending winter, I'm re-reading Emma, and I am realizing how one particular filmed version of the story sticks in my head. When I read of Miss Bates, I see and hear Prunella Scales at the picnic, registering puzzlement and hurt at Emma's insensitivity. Mr. Knightley will always be Mark Strong, with his slightly receding hairline, handing Emma in to the carriage and exclaiming, "That was badly done, Emma, badly done!"
I love the quiet social scenes, the visits from one household to another, the intensity of mild scenes in the Bates' little apartment, and I am always shocked at the sharpness of Knightley's reproofs and the way it resolves in the end despite Emma's complete inability to see things as they actually are.
That happens to me, too.