Jane Austen’s writings are no doubt at the heart of shaping notions of romance held by generations of young women– and literature lovers of all ages.
Her influence in the romance realm has engendered much speculation, perhaps some bewilderment, about the never-married novelist’s sources for ideas and inspiration about the subject.
All imagined? Must’ve had a very fertile mind, indeed.
Scholarly and populist speculation about spinster Jane’s inexplicable insights seem to center around a brief encounter the 20-year old Austen may have had with Thomas Lefroy. Based on the very sketchy evidence that such an affair ever took place (and no sound information what so ever about the nature of the relationship), the fictionalized Austen biopic, “Becoming Jane,” suggests that the marvelous characters and adventures Austen spins in her beloved tales are based upon her experiences during this perhaps imaginary figment of her life.
Possible? Sure. But so is the converse– that details of the biopic’s romantic encounter are based on the plots and people of “Pride and Prejudice” and Austen’s other well read novels.
From this curious ether of inuendo, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists draws the question, as reflected in members’ reviews of the film, whether “Becoming Jane” implies that Austen couldn’t have been a great artist without a man to give her the experience, inspiration, encouragement and strength to find her means of expression.
Is this an unstated message that underlies only “Becoming Jane,” or is it a standard assumption in other fictionalized biopics about great women artists?
,p>What do you think?