It is a truth universally acknowledged that a reader in need of a good book must be in want of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Since it was published 200 years ago, there is no denying that Austen’s beloved novel has been a force in popular culture. From the Colin Firth BBC production to the recent youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the story of Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance continues to spawn hundreds of adaptations. In order to help celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice‘s publication, therefore, I’m going to share a couple of my own favourite adaptations, which continue to kindle my love for all things Austen.
1. Bride and Prejudice
This Bollywood adaptation was actually the reason I decided to finally read Pride and Prejudice for myself. Produced in 2004, Bride and Prejudice takes place in India and does an amazing job at modernizing the story while keeping it close to the original novel. While the added music and dance numbers may seem humorous and silly at first, viewers will find themselves loving every second of it!
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale
Austenland focuses on the character of Jane, a 30 year old New Yorker with an unhealthy obsession with Mr. Darcy from the BBC production. When her aunt leaves her a free vacation in her will, Jane travels to a Regency themed getaway where she hopes to meet a Mr. Darcy of her own. What follows is a hilarious story that had me giggling the entire way through! Having loved the novel, I’m even more thrilled about the movie adaptation coming out this year!
3. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Of course no adaptation list would be complete without the 2005 film starring Keira Knightly. The film was visually stunning, and Knightly did an amazing job at bringing Lizzie’s character to life. While McFayden wasn’t my favourite Darcy, I’m sure he made many female viewers swoon with his brooding portrayal.
4. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
This youtube series has taken the internet by storm! A modern portrayal of P&P, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a ongoing story conveyed through weekly video vlogs. Sharing updates about her day to day life, Lizzie films her interactions with her sisters, friends, and of course, Darcy. The videos are supported through a number of twitter and tumblr accounts created by characters from the show. If you are a Pride and Prejudice fan and you haven’t seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries yet, then you better get a move on!
Putting all of these adaptation aside, I think the main thing to consider is just what is it about Pride and Prejudice that readers continue to find so fascinating? Is it Lizzie’s portrayal of a strong female character? Darcy’s romantic lead? The social commentary found in the plot? Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Pride and Prejudice has made a lasting impression, and will continue to do so for generations to come. So raise your coffee mugs in a toast to 200 years of Pride and Prejudice!