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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Endurance of Pride & Prejudice

You might have seen other posts and news articles out there this week marking the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Now I am not a huge fan of Austen's writing style myself, but the story she created with Pride and Prejudice is remarkable.  She was able to create a mash up of social commentary and romance in a way that still resonates with readers today.

There is an entire industry of Jane Austen fan fiction.  Use this link to access the GoodReads main page for all things tagged and shelved as "Austen Inspired;" you could spend hours there.

This week, the USA Today's Book Section had this article about why people still love the novel. It really is an excellent analysis.  It is worth a look even if you don't think you like P and P because it reminds us that it has influenced so much in our lives. [The Kardashians as the modern day Bennet sisters?]

As I mentioned above, while I do not consider myself a fan of the novel, I love the story.  In fact, over the last few months, I have been obsessively watching the You Tube Channel called, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Yes, as in Elizabeth Bennet.  It is a modern retelling of P and P in video diary form.  Click here to access the channel.

These videos retell the entire novel set in present day California.  Lizzie is a graduate student, her older sister Jane is a sensitive young woman working in the fashion industry, and little sister Lydia is a party girl.  All the characters are there, and all of the places; although Pemberley is no longer an estate it is a tech company.  And the story is told over multiple media platforms.

Even though I know what is going to happen, I love watching these videos.  Following the story into other charcaters' channels and websites increases my enjoyment too.  I feel like secondary characters, such as Lydia, are allowed to stretch their wings and grow in ways the novel never allowed for.  The videos also capture the social commentary and universal human nature issues that Austen did such a great job bringing to light 200 years ago.

But you can also enjoy the Lizzie Bennet Diaries without any knowledge of the source material.  I have embedded the first episode at the end of this post, but I apologize in advance if it sucks you in as it did for me.  At least I started when there were only 25 episodes already out.  Now it is in the 80s!

So what about you?  Does P and P have any relevance in your life today?

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