Jane Austen's literary works have provided a seemingly endless supply of fodder for filmmakers. From a small collection of six novels numerous adaptations for TV and the big screen have been made, much to the delight of viewers spanning multiple decades. Indeed, the popular craze for everything Austen and the easy adaptability of her works to film have fueled the number of Jane Austen movies in recent years. In fact, not only has there been a steady stream of productions of her literary works, there have been many spin-off movies about the popular fascination with Austen, such as Bridgett Jones' Diary and The Jane Austen Book Club, as well.
Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817 amid a rapidly changing world. The American Revolution along with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars that followed affected her England greatly. However, these events didn't figure too prominently in Austen's protrayal of English society. Instead she chose to write about rural English life as she had experienced it during her formative years. In fact, apart from the cursory involvement of some of her characters, e.g. Capt. Wentworth, in the wars with Napoleon and occasional references to English politics, Jane Austen's world seems to exist in a vacuum.
Yet, this may be the very reason that her works are so relished by modern audiences. Unencumbered by spurious references to contemporary events Austen's novels are able to focus upon her intended theme - civilizied society. For modern audiences this bygone era is one that many yearn to recapture. It is an era that we have come to view as quintessentially English - a culture ennobled by the perfection of manners and conduct. Undoubtedly, Jane Austen colors her social commentary with biting witticisms and often uncomfortable insights into some of the less savory aspects of human behavior. However, these are mere devices used to achieve her thematic thrust - to direct the audience towards what she considers the proper conduct of a civilized people, one in which true love and goodness will always prevail. As engaging as they are timeless there is no doubt that Jane Austen films will continue to offer delectable delights to viewers for years to come.
For a more thorough exploration of the subject, be sure visit the page dedicated to Jane Austen movies at Amazon, which includes a forum, reviews, and trailers of Austen dramas.