Yesterday it was Pride and Prejudice’s 200th birthday. For a novel that perhaps didn’t inspire much thought when it was first published, it is now one of the most well-read Jane Austen novels and one of my personal favourites. Why? Because it is so easy to get into the head of Elizabeth Bennet and understand what she goes through, even though society has changed greatly since the novel was first written. I have reread the book for probably the 5th time and still fell in love with Darcy as Elizabeth did, and I still felt curious: will they get together in the end? Of course, I know, but the way the book is written makes me question is every time again.
Pride and Prejudice has inspired some great movies, the latest from 2005 with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Wonderful costumes, picturesque villages and mansions, traditional dances (which I LOVE) and naturally the wonderful story. Yet, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I found that I missed parts of the story. Especially Darcy’s side of the story barely is enlightened, though it is hinted at in the novel. Had I not known the story yet, the (very sudden) admiration for Elizabeth had come across quite odd. Within the short time frame I have to say that Matthew Macfadyen makes the most of it, though… A very handsome Mr Darcy indeed!
Recently I bought the 1995 BBC series, starring the brilliant Jennifer
Ehle and Colin Firth. Though I very much liked the 2005 film edition, I absolutely LOVED the series and spent an entire day with simply watching Pride and Prejudice. It is so truthful to the story, telling every little bit, showing how Darcy feels, having the clothing and environment that perfectly fits with 200 years ago. Contrary to the movie, the colours in the series are quite plain, but as I noticed that, I realized that plain colours are way more natural!
One of my favourites at this moment is a modern adaptation of the story as a video blog on Youtube. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, short videos of 3 to 6 minutes, and they’re great! The additional characters get way more depth than in the original novel or the movies. You can view the first episode here. If you like it, there are currently 83 videos, and Lizzie is at Pemberley (yes, the story line is followed, but it is a very modern adaptation). According to some, this adaptation stays true to the novel best… Go check it out!
I’m definitely not the only one to love this classic, 200 year old novel. Many more people do. Some people have been inspired to write about Jane Austen’s world, others take a more feminist approach as a Modern Mrs Darcy (she has written very nice reviews of the different film editions as well!) and yet others simply love Pride and Prejudice, such as The Bennet Sisters and Austenprose.