Pride and Prejudice: A History in Pop Culture

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (film)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to believe that two centuries ago to this date Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy were first introduced to the public eye. Since then the entertainment industry has found ways to unravel the plot, characters and themes of the 1813 novel into various adaptations so Janeites can continuously fall in love with the worlds most wanted man. Here is a timeline of how Pride and Prejudice has influenced popular culture:

1995:

The most famous adaptation of the Jane Austen novel was BBC-One’s six episode drama, Pride and Prejudice. This was the miniseries which launched Colin Firth into the eyes of prying woman who would do anything necessary to find their own Mr Darcy.

1996:

Ah, the beginning of the Bridget Jones era. Helen Fielding used the general plot base of the novel for her hilarious chic-lit Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) and its follow up, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999). The books were then transformed into movies starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and most interestingly Colin Firth, who ironically played Mr Darcy. The next novel is set to be released in 2013 with a film also on the way.

2004:

Bollywood felt it was time to give its British counterparts a run for their money by bring  a bit of dance and colour to Austen’s writing in Bride and Prejudice.

2005:

The lady who loves her period dramas, Keira Knightley, was able to play literatures most famous heroine in this successful film adaptation.

2008:

Imagine if you could travel back in in time to the fictional land of Austen? That was the idea behind ITV’s fantasy four part drama, Lost in Austen. Here we have huge Jane Austen fan, Amanda Price, who would rather spend her time reading Pride and Prejudice and romanticising about Mr Darcy than being with her husband-to-be. Luckily she finds a portal in her bathroom which transports her into the Bennet family household. However, the course of the novel doesn’t run smoothly when Mr Bingley is more attracted to Amanda than Jane.

2009:

Seth Grahame-Smith believed it wasn’t enough for Elizabeth Bennet to be tormented by early 19th century customs, so he decided to add some zombies. The obsession with vampires and werewolves and other equally gruesome entities in society today only makes it feel right for Austen’s most famous novel to be given a parody twist in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

2012:

2012 saw Pride and Prejudice be transformed for the modernised 21st century audience through YouTube. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a series of vlogs based on the novel, created from the mind of vlogbrother, Hank Green and Bernie Su.

What is your favourite adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?

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