Jane Austen’s Appeal

Uchimura, Merrissa
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
She has been named on Entertainment Weekly's top entertainers list, featured on USA Today's best seller list and has had her works featured in numerous television and movie adaptations. Who is she? She is Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, and in recent years, an Austen-phenomenon has taken over Hollywood and the world. Within the last six years, all of her novels, from her most popular Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion, her last completed novel, have been adapted to film or television. "Emma alone has been done four time, Persuasion twice, Pride and Prejudice was the subject of a big budget six-part TV mini-series on the Arts and Entertainment network and even actress/producer Emma Thompson got into the act with her academy acclaimed production of Sense and Sensibility" (Booklist). However, Jane Austen's popularity doesn't stop there. In addition to the many Jane Austen Societies from all around the world who are dedicated to the promotion and admiration of Jane Austen, there are currently about 3000 different web sites, info pages, links, chat rooms and listservs devoted to her and her works. So what is it about her and her novels that is so appealing to so many people today? What is it about Jane Austen that contributes to her continued success despite the 200 year time span since her death? When asked this question, Emma Thompson, who received an Academy Award for her screenplay adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, said, "Austen is a genius and her works survives because she wrote about subjects that never die. Women still fall in love with the wrong guy, they still get jilted and they're still looking for people to marry"(CNN).
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