Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pride and Prejudice is 200 Years Old!

200 hundred years ago today "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen was published. This is not her first published book but it is her best known and most popular. It's been directly adapted for film 10 times with countless pop culture references as well as several loose adaptations, theatre productions books focusing on everything from Darcy's point of view to sequels of the original.

I first read this book on a long car ride and couldn't put it down. It was my first Austen book and helped to open up this whole world of Regency England and classic literature. Instead of rambling on about how great the book is I've put together a list of Pride and Prejudice related material that you should check out. Besides, I actually like "Persuasion" better.

One half of Vlogbrothers has produced this lovely vlog version of the story called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. They've made some minor changes and updates for this century but I've been enthralled since episode one. This is fresh and doesn't feel weighed down by the plethora of material that has come before it.

"Lost in Austen" is a slight twist on the original story where Lizzie Bennet travels to the real world, trapping an Austen fanatic in the fictional world of the book. Her presence manages to mess up the story, causing Jane to marry Mr. Collins! All must be set right before she can come home.

And if you're looking for a movie version I suggest the 1940s version. There are some detractors I admit as the costumes are the wrong period and more suited to the 1830s style than the Regency Period and our main characters are older than their counterparts are meant to be and some don't appreciate movies in black and white. But it is by far a better version in my mind than the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. I never warmed to that version despite the beautiful sets. The leads never seemed to fully embody the characters. The 1940 version has Laurence Olivier as Darcy and Greer Garson as Lizzie, both perfect choices in my mind. Olivier brings that snooty privileged air while Greer has this strong self-satisfied attitude.

And there's the ever-awesome Kate Beaton, a Canadian web comic artist who can be found here. She does regular comics about Canadian history, historical figures and literature with a comic twist. Here's Austen being bothered by a fan.

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