Our display theme in the Information Store this week is New Year’s Resolutions, and one resolution that comes up year after year is reading more books. Not only is Pride and Prejudice a classic that also happens to be a funny and swoon-worthy read, but it inspired P.D. James to write a murder-mystery sequel called Death Comes to Pemberley (which was adapted for TV by the BBC this Christmas).
Our heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, lives with her four sisters, a father who avoids confrontation and a mother who is determined to marry her daughters off. Elizabeth is an intelligent and independent woman who speaks her mind, so when she meets Mr Darcy, the arrogant aristocrat, it’s no surprise that sparks begin to fly! Mr Darcy is rude to Elizabeth at a dance and she takes every opportunity to think the worst of him in return. But can they look past their pride and prejudice to find true love?
Pride and Prejudice is often seen as stodgy and dull because it is shelved under ‘classic literature’, but Jane Austen was writing witty romances that inspired modern chick lit. No doubt today she’d be putting clever romantic comedies on our screens. More importantly, she creates characters who are flawed and likeable. Elizabeth might be witty and popular, but she is also quick to judge and condescending to her friend Charlotte. Darcy might be tall, dark and handsome, but he can also be utterly obnoxious. The course of true love never did run smooth, and Austen is fantastic at throwing scandals, misunderstandings and a host of hilarious characters in our heroine’s way. Not the least of these is George Wickham, the charming rival for Elizabeth’s love, whose feud with Darcy stretches back to a dark past…but which of them is in the right? And who will Elizabeth choose?
Pride and Prejudice might be a classic but it is also immensely enjoyable, funny and full of memorable characters, with one of the greatest romances ever written, though admittedly with less jumping into ponds than the 1995 BBC adaptation would have you believe! Find Pride and Prejudice in the BOOK ZONE at 823.7.
If you want to find out more about Pride and Prejudice…
Try one of the many film and television adaptations: we have DVDs of the 1940’s adaptation with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson (with a screenplay by Aldous Huxley, the writer of another classic novel, Brave New World), the 1995 BBC series which famously featured Colin Firth as Darcy in a very wet shirt, and the 2005 version with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth (all shelved in the BOOK ZONE at 823.7).
Have a look at the Pride and Prejudice: York Notes to learn more about the novel and Jane Austen. (Look in the BOOK ZONE AT 823.7)
There are lots of modern-day adaptations of Pride and Prejudice that are worth a look. See Bridget Jones Diary (BOOK ZONE 823.91 for the novel, the DVD LOBBY 791.43 for the film) and Lost in Austen (BOOK ZONE 823.7) for two very different approaches.
Check out The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an independent online video project which updates the story to the modern day: http://lizziebennet.com/