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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Becoming a Darcy Disciple for 2013

One of the many distinctions that 2013 holds is that it is the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice,Jane Austen's best known and beloved novel.

In honor of such an auspicious occasion,Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose is hosting a Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge ,that encourages new and old Austenites alike to celebrate by enjoying the various books and films based on this timeless tale of love and misunderstandings.

I've decided to join in the fun,at the Disciple level(which allows 5-8 selections)since I do have quite a few reading and writing projects ahead of me this year,including another Austen themed e-book(no,it's not P&P based,but more on that at another time). Also want some time to do a few book reviews for LRG,including one for a new Jane Austen biography coming out this season. In the meantime,here are my choices for the challenge:


With so many P&P options out there,I whittled it down to five books and three films,the first one to read of course being the original Austen classic. While I do have a nice annotated edition and a BOMC copy that has the lovely Hugh Thomson illustrations,I thought it would be best to just go with a basic,no frills version of P&P.

No frills,except a Colin Firth cover and an intro from Anna Quindlen,that is. Hey,a girl's gotta have some sizzle with her steak,right? After all, the best way to really appreciate the whole Lizzy Bennet/Mr.Darcy deal is to dive into the book itself and enjoy the romantic twists and satirical turns of the plot:

In addition to rereading Jane Austen in Boca by Paula Marantz Cohen,my reading list will have a double dose of Linda Berdoll's infamous works.

Full confession:despite having both Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and it's follow-up,Darcy and Elizabeth:Days and Nights at Pemberley(as well as mentioning them online quite a bit),I have not fully read either of them*hanging head in shame*

It's not for complete lack of trying,I assure you. Perhaps my hesitation comes from first learning about them when the first book was known as The Bar Sinister. I even had a customer in my book store inquire about it but I was unable to get it for her at the time. Upon asking around,I found out how "naughty" it was supposed to be.

When it was retitled and made available through a reputable publisher,I did want to give the book(and it's later sequel)a fair chance. I still do and more likely than not,they'll turn out to be not quite the 50 Shades of Grey of the Austenesque world as I and others once imagined these spicy P&P continuations to be:

To round this out with a fresh take on the story,Amanda Grange's Dear Mr. Darcy is on my list as well. As the title suggests,this book is from Mr. Darcy's point of view and is told through a series of letters.

That approach is very much like Austen,since she originally wrote her first novel,Sense and Sensibility in epistolary form(she revised it some time later before submitting it to publication). I plan to tackle this style myself for my next e-book project(which mixes Mansfield Park with vampires,I shall say no more for now!)and would like to see how well it works in the hands of a modern day talent like Grange.

Letters do play a pivotal part in P&P,especially the one that Mr. Darcy wrote to Elizabeth regarding the truth about Wickam and other related matters. It should be interesting to find out that fits in with an all Darcy narrative:


Two of my P&P movies here are already part of my home video library-Lost In Austen and the essential BBC miniseries from 1995,starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. The third one,however,will be borrowed from Netflix and is fortunately in a newly vamped DVD format.

The 1980 BBC miniseries,which cast David Rintoul as our dear Darcy and Elizabeth Gravie as Miss Elizabeth Bennet,has many fans and a nice compare and comparison with the Andrew Davies scripted version will be amusing to watch.

Novelist Fay Weldon adapted the screenplay for this production and I wonder how many little sociopolitical zingers she managed to slip in here(Aldous Huxley made a few sly ones for the 1940 Hollywood adaptation).

It will also be entertaining to see the different takes on the other notable characters in the cast such as Lady Catherine,Mrs. Bennet,Lydia and the indomitable Mr. Collins:

So,do join in and check in with Laurel Ann's P&P coverage,the first review starts on
January 9th. I'll be posting my thoughts on each of my Pride and Prejudice picks throughout the year as part of the challenge and here's to a merry time in Meryton with the Bennet sisters in their Darcy costume theater:

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