Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jane Austen Kitsch

I love literary kitsch.  It cracks me up, and sometimes I just have to pass it along.  (Refer to the literary kitsch label if you'd like to see more.)  Jane Austen's material has perhaps become the epitome of this kitsch, and I feel it got some oomph from one particular moment in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.  Every Austenite knows to what I am referring.  Remember this?

Colin Firth in a wet shirt.  Period-film fanatics the world over immediately fell into fainting fits and swoons over this little scene that does not appear in the book.  There is a possibility I was one of them; I can't say.  It was later brilliantly parodied in Lost in Austen, a mini-series in which one reader realizes every Austenite's fantasy: she magically finds herself within the world of the novel and falls in love with Mr. Darcy.  Duh.

After some words of love and affection are exchanged, the heroine of said programme asks Darcy to do something for her.  This is what follows:

Do you see how The Wet Shirt has been immortalized?  Imagine the laughter that ensued, then, as I opened this gift from Ana, courtesy of the Jane Austen's House Museum gift shop:

Wicked, am I right?  In hindsight, I should have purchased one for every Mr. Darcy admirer I know -- and I know a lot.  I might be one of them; I cant say.


the {Postscript} blog said...

Oh Mr Darcy :) Very popular in my book if you ask me haha.
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Diana said...

Monica, he's very popular in my book too! Darcy was my first literary love.

ragini mohite said...

oh diana. this made my day!!!

Maggie said...

When I went to the Jane Austen museum in Bath I bought an "I <3 Darcy" bumper! :o) My other Austen hearthrob is Edmund Bertram from "Mansfield Park"...what a dreamy fellow, and such a gentleman! But who can forget the humorous Henry Tilney or debonaire Mr. Knightley? Oh dear...I could go on and on...Darcy will always steal my heart!

Diana said...

Ragini, glad I could be of service!

Maggie, all the Austen heroes are noteworthy in some way. But I think the one that rivals Darcy for me is Captain Wentworth. Two words: the letter. Swoon, swoon, swoon. I even have most of it memorized, I find it that charming.