Saturday, 19 January 2013

Pride and Prejudice is 200

It should come as no surprise to my regular readers that I adore Pride and Prejudice, a book that is turning 200 this year.

I wrote a post about it for the 2012 A-Z Challenge, explaining how I came to be introduced to it.

It's hard to know why this book has such timeless appeal to so many. I love the comedy, the relationship between the Bennett parents, the manners, the idea of the wealthy man falling in love with a relatively middle class lady (who didn't daydream about that when they were stuck in double Maths at school? - okay, men probably didn't.)

This picture was on my study wall for years. It only came
down when I had to move out to make way for a child!
Mr Darcy is a fantastic literary hero - the origin of tall, dark and handsome. His hostility and pride and sheer haughtiness intrigue me, and the way he changes because of his love of Lizzie make me swoon each and every time I read it. Lizzie herself, being so strong and witty and opinionated, was always the woman I wanted to be.

Mr Bennett, to my mind, has the best lines. I loved Benjamin Whitrow in the BBC's 1995 version was fantastic. "No lace, Mrs Bennett, I beg you; no lace."

In fact, each and every one of the main cast members was exactly how I had always pictured them in my head. It was uncanny, as though the casting director had peered into my head and plucked out the images. 4 Weddings and a Funeral's Duckface - Anna Chancellor - was a wonderful Miss Bingley, especially in the scene where she was trying to put Lizzie down in front of Mr Darcy, talking about her fine eyes etc.

It seems peculiar that the book is 200 years old. I'm sure Jane Austen had no idea of it ever being read so widely and so long after her death. Actors have to achieve their success in their lifetimes, obviously, but writers (and painters) can create a body of work that never even gets seen until after they are gone.

Here are a couple of links that you might be interested in:
Pride and Prejudice 200 lists the world-wide events that are happening this year.
Jane Austen's House Museum
The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Pride and Prejudice - love it, hate it, meh?



Have you signed up yet?
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I'm looking forward to reading about your imaginary friend!

49 comments:

  1. Never read it. And I've only ever caught bits of it on TV here and there.I should probably do something about that!

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    1. I think it's a staple - especially for people who write romance!

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  2. Kyra - I came to make this comment hanging my head in shame, but no longer - we may be the only two people in the world who haven't read it, but at least we're not alone!

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    1. I'm sure there are many more than just the two of you. Besides, there are plenty of books that I haven't read that other people would say are essential.

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  3. Oh my gosh Annalisa, can't even tell you how much I love this post and P&P. Every time it's my turn to pick a movie to watch my kids and husband groan and say "great, Pride and Prejudice, here we go again!" LOL

    I adore this story, and Mr. Darcy to bits. But it must be the Colin Firth version-or I won't watch it. LOL

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    1. Oh yes, it must be Colin Firth - I can't tell you how much my sister and I picked apart the Keira Knightley one - Darcy in Lizzie's bedroom, at night, even without waking her that was such an obvious no-no.

      I watch it whenever I'm ill in bed - the full 5 hours! Bliss, and the perfect way to get better.

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  4. She would probably be really surprised it's even still around.

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    1. I expect most of the writers who are now considered classics would be surprised, after all they only did what most authors these days do - record the world as they see it.

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  5. I love that film version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth (she nailed that part). And I love the book as well. The funny thing is, I didn't like Pride and Prejudice the first time I read it, because I didn't really understand it. But once I reread it (and kept rereading it), I fell in love with all the characters.

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    1. It's great that you reread it when you didn't like it the first time - I bet you're pleased you did!

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  6. I have read the book several times and seen all film versions (Colin Firth! and Jennifer Ehle!), so count me as a P&P fan. Kudos to Jane Austen and her writing - so subtle and sublime.

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    1. I haven't read the book for at least 12 months, so it's at the top of my list again!

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  7. I'm going to say this very quietly ... I haven't read it. It was only quite recently I realised how few classic novels I had read and started adding to that list.

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    1. Whispers back... it's a good one to start with :-)

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  8. Loved the book and loved the BBC movie :) I am more geek than girly girl, but Jane Austen is my one weakness! I really like the BBC versions of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility too.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. I haven't seen any of the other BBC adaptations. I've got a box set of ITV ones, which are okay. Persuasion is my least favourite book - I read it recently and had to force myself to finish it.

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes it is, though I think people sometimes miss that.

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  10. One of my favorite stories of all time :)

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    1. Boy meets girl... then meets her mother...

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  11. I didn't read it until I heard that the vlog brothers were doing a Lizzie Bennett Diaries. I devoured it. So much fun, I'm glad I read it.

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    1. Yes, I saw some of them, but I wasn't very good at going back to them. What a great introduction, and I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

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    1. You're welcome, Dana, the calendar looks very comprehensive!

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  13. fabulous! must watch asap! any version i can find, just to sigh about it!

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    1. Yes, I've got an urge to watch and read it too. Enjoy :-)

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  14. I really love Pride and Prejudice, too. I had no idea it was 200 years old Wow!! Thanks for all the tidbits about the characters. :-D

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    1. It is hard to believe, isn't it? I love how people are still reading it for the first time.

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  15. I studied Jane Austen and the Brontes in highschool, and was blown away by the writing and the stories. 'Emma' was my fav' Austen, actually, but you've inspired me to revisit P&P. 200 years old - wow.

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    1. I've only read Emma once - whereas P&P has been yearly for many, many years. I do like Mr Knightly though.

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  16. I hope I can publish something that people read a year after. 200 years is just...well, that far off dreams that's to wispy to really see.

    I'm hoping to read a classic or two this year. This might have to be one of them, since you go on about the story so much ^_~

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    1. That's my dream too, although it kind of sucks that we'd never know about it!

      Oh I'd definitely recommend P&P! I just hope you like it - there's always a big responsibility when you recommend things, isn't there?

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  17. I read my grandmothers copy last year and actually enjoyed it. It is just a shame she couldn't reap the benefits of her success, dying so young and all that.

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    1. Yes, just 41 - the closer I get to that age, the younger I think it is!

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  18. i know i'm in a minority here, but i love the lastest movie version with Keira Knightly. i've tried reading the book three times, but i can't get into it. i do, however, love the way it's used in the movie "You've Got Mail" which i think is a great modern day version of the same story.

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    1. I didn't realise it was the basis for 'You've Got Mail' - I haven't seen that film, but I'm curious now.

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    2. it's a great movie, one of my very favorites. it's actually based on a play and then a movie called The Shop Around the Corner, which was also turned into a musical called In the Good Old Summertime. unlike the two previous movies, which move the romance along much too fast (in my opinion), You've Got Mail moves it at a more realistic pace. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan do a superb job. Pride and Prejudice is more of a plot device than anything, but very well done.

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  19. Hi Annalisa ... I too hate to say I haven't read it .. but I'm sure I will shortly .. I've seen the versions ..

    It is incredible to think it is 200 years old and I loved your post - good introduction to another aspect of P & P and Jane Austen ... thanks - Hilary

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    1. It always seems so weird when people tell me they haven't read my favourite book - I always assume everyone has!

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  20. I've been blog hopping on my fave blogs today promoting that book cover. I think the the cover is intriguing and haunting. Sounds like a very good book.

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    1. I think you meant to comment on Julie's cover reveal (I just don't know if I can or how to move it). The cover is amazing, isn't it?

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  21. Love it, love it, love it! Ah, Colin Firth as Mr D... swoon.

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    1. You sound almost as enthusiastic as me, Linda :-)

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  22. Just goes to show that a truly great story is ageless. P & P is still just as fresh now as when it was released. Maybe a bit different writing style, but it still reads well.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I don't know if it's because I've read it so often, but I don't even notice the style of writing as being different. Whereas, when I tried to read The Phantom of the Opera I couldn't get past the style and gave up!

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  23. I adore P&P, in fact, I'm due for a re-read soon. And there can be no other Lizzie but Jennifer Ehle, & no other Darcy but Colin Firth. <3 <3 <3

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    1. They were so perfect for their roles weren't they? It makes me so happy to find fellow Austen-ites!

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  24. never read the book, but love the movie versions. Colin Firth is the best Darcy. However...my fave Austin story is Sense and Sensibility. Just can't beat Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson in their telling of the tale.

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    1. I love that version of Sense and Sensibility too - it's Alan Rickman for me mostly :-)

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Please comment - I love a good chat!