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First Impressions: Why All the Austen Haters Are Wrong

Welcome Jane Austen lovers and haters alike! Kristin and Maggie discuss how Austen's classic novels have influenced their lives and challenged them to be better people.

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Ep 48: EMMA.

The wait is over! At long last, we're back to talk about the new movie EMMA. directed by Autumn de Wilde, screenplay by Eleanor Catton, and starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn. This totally bonkers adaptation subverted our expectations at every turn, yet still managed to be wonderfully faithful to the source material. The movie's score is inspired, the sets and costumes are divine, and every cast member is downright fantastic! We loved the deft insertion of slapstick comedy, the honest exploration of Emma's relationship with Harriet Smith, and also the butts. If you want to listen to two dorks rave about something for an hour, this is the podcast episode for you.

1hr 13mins

9 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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Ep 38: Movie Review: Emma Starring Romola Garai

Gentle listeners, at long last we bring you a review of the 2009 adaptation of the novel Emma, starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller! In this episode, Maggie and Kristin talk about how they developed a new appreciation for this excellent adaptation, as the characters are given an emotional depth that some other adaptations lack. The girls also analyze how this version falls short of the mark, especially with regard to under-using some of the more comedic characters in the book. Overall, the girls deem this one totally worthy of a re-watch! For details on the movie, see the IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1366312/

1hr 21mins

6 Jun 2019

Rank #2

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Ep 34: Clueless (and A Lot of Other Stuff) with Special Guest Ellie

Hello gentle listeners! We're excited to welcome our second FI fan and Clueless aficianado, Ellie, onto the podcast! Join us for a freewheeling discussion about Clueless and its impact on pop culture and subsequent Austen adaptations. We touch on lots of fun details about the movie, including a discussion of the book As If: The Oral History of Clueless by Jen Cheney. There is also quite a long tangent about Persuasion, for which Kristin takes full responsibility!

1hr 4mins

16 Jan 2019

Rank #3

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Ep 3: Mansfield Park, Part 1: The Best Novel Ever Published

In their third episode, Kristin and Maggie uncover the secret genius of Austen's complex and oft-misunderstood novel Mansfield Park. The girls discuss how the much-hated heroine of the novel, Fanny Price, is a victim of a Pygmalion tale gone awry. And Maggie is shocked to discover the secret sexual imagery amidst all that "dull" landscaping talk at Southerton. Are you a casual Pride and Prejudice lover? Get ready to discover your new favorite Austen novel! (Hint: it's Mansfield Park!)The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to this episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 16mins

30 Dec 2015

Rank #4

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Ep 47: Sanditon, Or, a Once-in-a Lifetime Investment Opportunity!

[UPDATED 11/29/2020: This episode was updated to remove an extended discussion of medical and pharmaceutical research practices which we feel is no longer appropriate in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the record, we have full confidence that the pharmaceutical companies who are developing COVID-19 vaccines are doing rigorous medical research according to best practices]. First Impressions fans, we're back with a discussion of Jane Austen's Sanditon, the unfinished novel fragment, now a major motion picture! (Uh, make that a BBC miniseries written by Andrew Davies). In this podcast, we examine Jane Austen's opinions on medical science, her feelings about her own illness, and the question of whether the Sanditon enterprise was ultimately destined to succeed or fail. We also include a discussion of the first three episodes of the miniseries that have so-far aired in the US. Jane Austen may have died before she could render her verdict on capitalism, but we like to think she would appreciate our... speculation.

1hr 23mins

31 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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Ep 49: EMMA Part 2: It Was With the Gloves

Okay, we know, it's been out for months. But we asked ourselves, did we REALLY understand the new Emma movie on our 3rd, 5th, or even 8th viewing? Of course not! It darted through us with the speed of an arrow that we had to do a second EMMA podcast! Here are all the things we SHOULD have said, all the things we FORGOT to say, and all the things that were too brilliant to burst upon us until our brains had marinated in this movie for weeks. Join us for our laughing, crying, singing, essential second podcast on the movie EMMA.

1hr 1min

10 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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Ep 51: Exploring Jane Austen Fan Fiction with Sarah Pesce from Lopt & Cropt

Maggie and Kristin welcome Sarah Pesce of Lopt & Cropt to continue our exploration of the wonderful world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction, this time from an editor's perspective! In our lively discussion, Sarah explains how reading JAFF can provide new insight into Austen's original works. She gives us a tour of the JAFF universe with an overview of online archives, an explanation of common tropes used in the romance world, and a fantastic list of recommendations that will keep us busy for quite some time! Have you ever wondered what Jane Austen's works have in common with science fiction or fantasy? Join us to find out! And for more on JAFF or to get an author's perspective, check out episode 36: Writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction with Lona Manning!

1hr 21mins

18 May 2020

Rank #7

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Ep 4: Mansfield Park Part 2: Seduced by the Theater

In part 2 of the Mansfield Park series, Kristin indulges herself with an entire episode centered around the novel's famous set piece, in which the gang gets up a production of the scandalous play Lovers' Vows. Maggie contributes her theory as to how Mary Crawford's décolletage might affect the narrative. Kevin (Kristin's husband) guest-stars to provide incisive analysis and agree that Kristin is right.The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to our first episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 9mins

7 Jan 2016

Rank #8

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Ep 37: Regency Daze Part 1

Gentle listeners, we are thrilled to bring you a very special podcast event! In this episode, your faithful First Impressions podcasters, joined by some good friends, are players in a Regency Era tabletop Role-Playing Game (RPG). Join Maggie, Kristin, and their friends Selvi and Priya, as together they uncover a world of secrets, love, and party planning in "Regency Daze." Game Master Selvi has crafted a Regency-themed RPG where our three heroines must plan a neighborhood ball, all while preserving their families' good names, learning the truth of one young lady's parentage, and perhaps, finding love. An RPG is a game in which players take on the roles of imaginary characters who engage in adventures, typically in an environment with a particular theme. Using the RPG system, "School Daze" as a model, Game Master Selvi created a huge Regency-style playground for Maggie, Kristin, and Priya. All four ladies work together to tell a story for you, our gentle listeners. Enjoy!

2hr 21mins

16 May 2019

Rank #9

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Ep 50: Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice 2005

Big news! Maggie and Kristin are back to review the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen and directed by Joe Wright. Knowing that this adaptation has generated some controversy in the Austen community, the girls attempt to tread lightly over difficult ground, acknowledging where this movie shines while also attempting some thoughtful critique. While we'll never be able to love this version wholeheartedly, we fully support and respect our fans that do! We hope you enjoy our thoughts on the movie, the direction, the performances, and the "Brontefication" of Jane Austen. For purists, please note that Kristin says something historically inaccurate in this podcast: by 1797 there was a trend toward natural hair color because of the 1795 hair powder tax. So please disregard her assertion that all the men would have had powdered hair!

1hr 35mins

11 May 2020

Rank #10

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Ep 31: Part 2 of What Matters in Jane Austen - Book Review

We're back with our second (and final) episode on John Mullan's book, What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved! This time, Maggie and Kristin tackle the subjects "Did Sisters Sleep Together?" and "What Games Did the Characters Play?" Get ready from some surprising insights that stem from these basic questions, as we plumb the depths of sisterly relationships in Austen's work, and revisit one of the famous set pieces in Mansfield Park: the game of Speculation.

1hr 15mins

19 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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Ep 5: Mansfield Park Part 3: The Lists of Hymen

NOTE - NEW FILE AVAILABLE: If you are a subscriber and this episode auto-downloaded, we recommend deleting your file and re-downloading it. The new file has better audio quality. We apologize for the inconvenience! (Kristin did something to the file before converting it down to MP3 that degraded the audio quality and she didn't realize it. Oops.)In Part 3 of the Mansfield Park series, Kristin and Maggie discuss the amazing buildup to the awesome conclusion of Austen's masterpiece Mansfield Park, which reminds us that morality is complex, self-deceit is dangerously easy, and sentence structure does not have to be simple no matter what your English teacher once told you. The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to this episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 20mins

19 Jan 2016

Rank #12

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Ep 7: Emma Part 1 (Starring Ewan McGregor's Wig)

Kristin and Maggie tackle the novel Emma and wrestle with its challenging heroine, the disgustingly handsome, clever and rich Emma Woodhouse herself. The girls discuss how their ambivalent relationship with Emma changes during the progression of the novel, and Kristin reads page after delightful page of monologue from Miss Bates, one of Austen's finest comic creations. They also confront the age-old question: Frank Churchill: utter douchebag, or just *kind of* a douchebag?The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to this episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 5mins

2 Mar 2016

Rank #13

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Ep 8: Emma Part 2: Practising Vigorously for an Hour and a Half

In Part 2 of their discussion of Jane Austen's Emma, Kristin and Maggie delve deep into the fraught and controversial relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley, dodging the looming specters of "daddy issues," constant mansplaining, and general creepiness to find vindication for feminists who think the Emma-Knightley pairing is perfection.(We apologize that this podcast is a full hour and a half even AFTER Kristin cut thirty minutes of hilarious digressions from the recording.)The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to this episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 36mins

29 Mar 2016

Rank #14

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Ep 45: Northanger Revisited

Gentle listeners, after having been schooled at this year's JASNA conference, we're re-reading Austen's fantastic first novel with new appreciation for its extreme genius. Join us as we revisit everything Northanger has to offer, from its always-hilarious narrative voice, to its lovable and intuitive heroine, to its unique and inimitable way of elevating gothic storylines so that they become "real." Austen's genius shines through every aspect of this sublime work of comedy, and we hope you enjoy our enthusiastic discussion of it.

1hr 13mins

29 Nov 2019

Rank #15

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Ep 10: Experimenting with Movie Commentary - Douglas McGrath's Emma

[NEW FILE AVAILABLE - Dear listeners, we discovered and deployed some further audio fixes after releasing this episode, so if your episode auto-downloaded, we recommend deleting and re-downloading it to get the new version. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience!]Hello First Impressions fans! Everyone, we bespeak your indulgence: Episode 10 of the podcast is our experimental attempt to do a Rifftrax-style movie commentary on Douglas McGrath's adaptation of Emma (starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam). This track is meant to be listened to while simultaneously watching the movie (we tell you when to press play!), however, if you're just doing data entry at work, Maggie tells me that it is still quite entertaining to listen to on its own.Two important notes! First, we pretty much talk over the whole movie, so, if you've never seen the movie before, you might want to give it a watch on its own first! Our verdict is that a delightful adaptation.Second, the audio quality improves greatly at minute 18, as we discovered and corrected a minor microphone issue. Better late than never, right? Thanks to all for indulging our experiment, and look for our next podcast on Lady Susan, including a movie review of Whit Stillman's Love and Friendship, coming soon!

2hr 9mins

10 May 2016

Rank #16

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Ep 6: Northanger Abbey

Bonus episode! Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen's delightful parody of gothic romance, is full of surprises and humor. Kristin and Maggie highlight the hilarity of this adorable novel as it skewers of romantic convention, and review the charming meta-context Austen provides about novels and their value. They also discuss the 2007 BBC adaptation written by Andrew Davies, and the extra sexy special sauce he ladles onto beloved heroine Catherine Morland's coming-of-age story. No vampires; no blood... the worst crimes are the unsubtle interpositions of modern screenwriters. (Just kidding, Davies, we love ya).This is the last episode we recorded before we launched the First Impressions podcast into the world, so we have not yet had a chance to give any shout-outs to our awesome fans. Thank you, everyone, for your amazing support!  And stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts on Emma!The First Impressions podcast is a safe space for us to discuss our love for Jane Austen away from the haters, and perhaps even convert some skeptics in the process. Thanks for listening to this episode, and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word and let us know what you think! We can be reached at first.impressions.podcast@gmail.com.

1hr 19mins

8 Feb 2016

Rank #17

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EP 44: JASNA Recap

If you hadn't heard, Maggie and Kristin recently attended the Jane Austen Society of North America's Annual Meeting! Are you ready to hear about all the fun we had at JASNA 2019 in Williamsburg? Wondering what new insights we have into the conference's theme, Northanger Abbey? Or just wondering if Kristin and Maggie managed not to embarrass themselves? Check out this JASNA recap episode where we share funny stories, fascinating details, and all our favorite moments from the conference.

1hr 23mins

25 Oct 2019

Rank #18

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Ep 39: Regency Daze Part 2

Gentle listeners, we're back! Kristin and Maggie welcome guests Priya and Selvi for the second installment of our Regency Daze game. In this ongoing series, our game master Selvi has crafted a Regency-themed role-playing game (RPG) where our three heroines must plan a neighborhood ball, all while preserving their families' good names, learning the truth of one young lady's parentage, and perhaps, finding love. Join us for more intrigue, flirting, love triangles, party-planning disasters and other historically inaccurate fun! An RPG is a game in which players take on the roles of imaginary characters who engage in adventures, typically in an environment with a particular theme. Using the RPG system, "School Daze" as a model, game master Selvi created a huge Regency-style playground for Maggie, Kristin, and Priya. All four ladies work together to tell a story for you, our gentle listeners. Enjoy!

1hr 54mins

22 Jun 2019

Rank #19

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Ep 40: Movie Review: Emma with Kate Beckinsale

Gentle listeners, we bring you yet another review of an Emma movie adaptation! This one was released in 1996, and stars Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, with a screenplay by the ever-productive Andrew Davies, right off his 1995 success with Pride and Prejudice. From surprising plot omissions to unusual acting choices, this socially-conscious adaptation provides a lot to ponder, especially with regards to the Frank Churchill/Jane Fairfax pairing. Check out our thoughts, and we hope you will not find this podcast... BADLY DONE.

15 Jul 2019

Rank #20