Deborah Yaffe

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Austen by ear

By Deborah Yaffe, Jan 19 2017 02:00PM

By now, we Janeites are experts at the fine art of comparing and contrasting the various screen adaptations of Austen’s novels. Favorite Mr. Darcy: Firth or Macfadyen? Best Emma: Paltrow, Beckinsale or Garai? Finest Sense and Sensibility screenplay: Emma Thompson or Andrew Davies? Which Pemberley do you prefer: Lyme Park or Chatsworth?


Neglected have been the many radio adaptations of Austen by our friends across the pond, where radio drama seems to flourish in a way that it doesn’t over here. So imagine my excitement when, thanks to the blog Excessively Diverting, I learned that six of these Austen adaptations, one per novel, are now available on CD or MP3. (OK, I admit I’m late to this party: this compilation has been out since last spring. But better late than never. . .)


The only item in the fifteen-hour-plus collection that I can recommend based on first-hand acquaintance is the BBC’s well-done 2003 adaptation of Mansfield Park, featuring the not-yet famous voices of Felicity Jones as Fanny, Benedict Cumberbatch as Edmund and David Tennant as Tom.


Annoyingly, I can’t find a cast list for the other dramatizations in the collection, so it’s hard to tell if they’re equally star-studded. But it’s the BBC, so the acting is bound to be good, right? With luck, we’ll soon be able to play the Janeite compare-and-contrast game in a whole new medium.


2 comments
Feb 7 2017 06:19PM by Adriana Sales

Thanks for sharing!

Feb 7 2017 06:33PM by dyaffe

Thanks for reading! :-)

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