Thursday, April 4, 2013

No Austerity for Austen

This week's theme was "life in a Jane Austen novel." I hated Pride and Prejudice when I had to read it in high school, but when I read it again later as an adult I loved it. I once ended up reading Little Women (always a favorite from my very first reading) and Pride and Prejudice back-to-back, which is a really interesting juxtaposition. Had it not been written about seventy years before, I could completely believe that PnP is a parody of LW. The setups are quite similar - a family that is not as well-off financially as it used to be, with all girls: the oldest most traditionally feminine, the next (the protagonist) with more spunk and a modern-seeming independent streak, the next shy and reserved, and the youngest one or two devoted to social pursuits. In Alcott's version, the mother is proud that she and her daughters have learned how to cook, and the father is physically absent for a noble cause. In Austen, the mother is proud that only the servants have anything to do in the kitchen, and the father is spiritually absent due to disgust with his wife. Instead of being a devoted, martyred household worker like Beth, Mary is sanctimonious and uninvolved with the other Bennets. Lydia has a story arc like the pampered, then corrected and matured Amy, whereas Lydia continues on like an Amy given no guidance. I could go on, but those were the parallels that struck me most.

Some other interesting pairings I've happened to try are Starship Troopers versus Ender's Game (personal and societal implications of war with alien bugs!), and American Gods versus Forests of the Heart (clash of folk beliefs made real, in the great melting pot!).

But back to the point - for this week's contest, I based my design on period embroideries - these, in fact: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. I unified them by drawing them all mostly in dots to mimic French knots and using this color scheme:
Color by COLOURlovers

Regency Embroideries

This came in 41 out of 113 with 159 votes. My favorite entry by far was this cute landscape - but then I do love that style of print.

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