James on Jane
By Deborah Yaffe, Dec 8 2014 02:00PM
As I’ve mentioned before, I – like many Janeites – was no fan of P.D. James’ murder-mystery Pride and Prejudice sequel, Death Comes to Pemberley. But I’m always fascinated to hear writers talk about their work, so I enjoyed this three-year-old interview with James, which resurfaced soon after her death late last month at the age of 94.
Jane Austen, James declares in the interview, is “overwhelmingly my favorite writer, and has been for many, many years.” (Now what Janeite could resist an admission like that?) Indeed, James claims to be one of the not-so-rare breed of Janeite who rereads the whole canon annually and knows large chunks by heart.
“I think that’s true of all her admirers,” James says. “She very much lives in our imagination the whole time.”
I still don’t like Death Comes to Pemberley. But I certainly hope James has found a complete set of Austen’s novels on her bedside table in heaven. It wouldn’t be heaven otherwise, now would it?