Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Romance and Jane Austen

It was Boxing Day and with John off later on a 14-hour night shift, there was little else to do but sit in front of the television (whilst doing the ironing). As usual, I quickly scanned BBC i-Player but found nothing interesting other than the documentary The Many Lovers of Jane Austen which explored how an anonymous minor novelist in her own time is 200 years later recognised as a unique British literary genius.

I have a complete collection of Austen novels gathering dust on my shelves, along with other books I have promised to read when time permits. I have only read Pride and Prejudice but this afternoon, I had the chance to watch the movie adaptations of her books. Since I first knew him, I have fallen in love with Mr Darcy and have imagined myself as Elizabeth Bennett which perhaps explains my penchant for Korean dramas that follows the same storyline. But alas my love story was not to be the same. No, I fancy that my fate had been more aligned with Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey who in her infancy, no one would have supposed to be born a heroine. In fact the qualities of her Mr Tilney’s are not unlike those of my husband’s, who first engaged me in conversations as a friend not oblivious to my apparent attraction then later on allowed himself to fall for my ‘candour and open character’, overlooking my occasional flaws.

Watching Jane Austen has made me realise once again how fortunate I am to be born in this generation where my life choices are not limited by my family’s fortune (or lack thereof) and my options on marriage are not restricted by the financial suitability of the union. Yes, I am blessed indeed to have found a man whose love could only equal mine.

I have often written of love, or at least what I have believed of it, before I have found it – of skipping heartbeats, of secret glances and of sleepless nights torturing over what had been and not been said.  Ahh, there’s nothing as romantic and yet as tormenting as unrequited love and for those I’ve had a few. But of true love, I have none but one and the discovery of which have crippled my literary superfluousness. For when one experiences real love, the sort that is felt and lived, one never finds the right words to describe it or talk about it.

I am still as much a hopeless romantic as I have always been. In fact, of recently my standards have risen and they continue to be met. On the subject of flowers, I do not receive an occasional bunch for my very own gardener has made sure that I get to admire them from our window every day. And no, I do not get taken out on casual dates to fancy restaurants but I’m regularly whisked off to embark on exciting adventures far and near. But most importantly of all, my husband shares my father’s most loving trait in that they are both reliable with the house chores, what more could a wife ask for?   

I have not been a fan of romantic movies of recently, not the ones that they tend to make in Hollywood at the moment characterised by movies such as ‘No Strings Attached’. But I enjoyed my afternoon with Jane Austen’s characters, women some have deemed to be filled with emotional restraint and lacking of passion and yet have managed to find their perfect match without so much as baring a flesh. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jane Austen’s novels survives through the ages. Virtue is rewarded and true love wins in the end. 

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