Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Pride & Prejudice 2.0: The Expanded World of Jane Austen

 

Book

Ever notice that when you’re feeling a bit low you have a tendency to reach for something that is comfortable and familiar? Lately, that means a trip into the world of Jane Austen for a bit of a pick me up. Yet every time I pick up one of the six texts, I find myself asking the same question, what happened next? Our heroes and heroines found their partners; there was a big wedding, lots of happy tears, but then what? Did they live happily ever after or did they separate? Did any of the supporting characters find a partner or were they doomed for spinsterhood? Now Jane Austen did answer a few of those questions in letters to family and friends, but I prefer reading about the adventures that occurred after the books end. Thankfully, where Jane Austen has failed me, many great writers and fans of her work have taken it upon themselves to pick up the stories where they left off. Here are a few of my favourites.

ColonelsThe Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men By Jack Caldwell brings together Colonel Fitzwilliam (Darcy’s cousin), Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility) and introduces Colonel Buford. Brandon is happily married to Marianne, while Fitzwilliam and Buford pursue Lady Anne and Caroline Bingley respectively. But when the men are suddenly recalled into active service in the aftermath of Napoleon’s escape from exile, will love triumph over war? I found this book to be a wonderful read and somewhat hilarious in the fact that a new character had to be created to partner with Caroline. For any of you who have seen Lost in Austen, the film gives several new twists, including presenting Caroline as a lesbian, thus justifying her insistence on Darcy’s wealth and position over the man himself.  It just goes to show that anything can happen in these newer interpretations.

AssemblyAn Assembly Such as This By Pamela Aidan for the time, presents Darcy’s perspective regarding the events in Pride & Prejudice. The first of a trilogy, I found Pamela’s insight into the mind of Darcy to be rather refreshing. His emotions for Elizabeth and turmoil over the presence of Wickham take on a clarity that has not been seen before. Duty and Desire focuses on the time that is never spoken of in the book, which concerns Darcy’s struggles with his attraction to Elizabeth, while also taking care of both Pemberley and his social engagements in London.  While the novel may read like a swashbuckling adventure, I must admit, it was quite enjoyable. These Three Remain picks up with Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s proposal, leading Darcy to self-reflect and become a better man due to her refusal.  When Elizabeth appears at Pemberley, Darcy feels as if he has been offered a second chance, but when Wickham threatens Elizabeth’s happiness, it is up to Darcy to find a way of making things right. While Pamela stays pretty close to the text, she manages to shed new light on characters and situations which answers the question as to what else was happening.

Rock starFitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star By Heather Lynn Rigaud, as the title suggests, takes the reader away from the Regency period and places Darcy and Elizabeth in the middle of the modern world. Darcy is the guitarist for Slurry, the newest all male rock group to take the world by storm. Elizabeth is the lead singer for Long Borne Suffering, the new opening female act for Slurry. But Slurry’s bad boy image may prove to be too much for the new girls on the block, unless some new understandings are reached. Since we are in the modern world, only the names and circumstances reflect the actual text. But I found the text to be a nice light read, as opposed to the above trilogy, which basically asked if the core of Pride & Prejudice could endure a complete transplant. It can, which proves that the heart of a good story can survive just about any major change.

ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies By Seth Grahame-Smith, despite its title, is probably the most faithful to the original text. What would happen to our well-sung heroes if they were presented with a new challenge that altered the society in which they lived but did not affect its mentality? In a nutshell, Seth added zombies to the world of Regency England. Yet despite their undead presence, society refuses to yield its moral stance on marriage, good manners and changes within the social classes. What’s a girl to do when she and her sisters can slay a small zombie army yet still be criticized for the society that they keep? While this may not be the most imaginative version of Pride & Prejudice, it is certainly highly entertaining. If you feel that you need a lighter version of this story, take a look at the graphic novel, or better yet the new film with Lily James (Downton Abbey’s cousin Rose) and Sam Riley (Maleficent’s Diaval).

This list is by no means exhaustive, so type in Jane Austen or Darcy, books or films in the search engine and find yourself in a world that moves just a bit slower then our own. Happy Reading! (or watching as the case may be).

  • Katherine
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Can’t Get Enough Mr. Darcy?

It is a truth universally known that authors take inspiration from works they have read and stories they have heard and loved, this is why there are so many retellings of our favourite stories. Fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythologies are often re-told thousands of times over with unique settings and plots in each version that speak to the author’s and society’s views at the time. Whether they were written to teach lessons as many of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales were or to explain the name of a flower which grows by a pond, all were influenced by how society was perceived at different points in time.

I’m always interested in retellings of fairy tales and mythologies whether they are Young Adult, Children’s or Adult novels, however I am also very much interested in retellings of Classic stories especially those from Jane Austen. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been retold many times over and is still being retold in novels and they themselves are being retold in films. If you are a fan of the classic novel, have read it countless times and are looking for something similar but slightly different, give these books and series a try! Or if you haven’t read the original source material, request your copy here.

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

ppz Did you ever read Pride and Prejudice and think, what this books needs is zombies? If so, this book is for you, if not, give it a try, it may surprise you! Keeping the same text but altering it slightly to include a zombie plague that has overrun England and a warrior Elizabeth Bennet, Grahame-Smith’s novel is a wonderful and fun take on the classic with some fantastic illustrations to boot. There is also a film version of the novel that came out recently which you can also check out, though it veers a bit from its source material it’s still a fun picture.

  Austenland by Shannon Hale

austenland

Ever fantasize about living in Jane Austen’s world? In Austenland Jane Hayes is allowed to truly experience the world of Jane Austen thanks to a gift left to her by her recently deceased great aunt. She travels to an exclusive resort where guests can experience the wonder of the regency era and perhaps even some romance of their own. Filled with hilarity, wit and the fun of a Jane Austen novel, Austenland takes many a fan’s dream of meeting Mr. Darcy and turning it into a reality. There has also been a film adaptation of the novel that is also available starring Keri Russell.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Hoopla digital

ldiaries  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries started out as a web series available through the Pemberley Digital channel on YouTube but has become a phenomenon. Though there are 100 episodes in total they are only around 3 to 10 minutes in length each. This smart, well-acted modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is sure to delight those new to the series, with Lizzie Bennet as a graduate student working on her thesis by creating a vlog with her friend Charlotte, and those who loved the book and are craving more of the story. I have to say my favourite episodes are those of Lizzie and Charlotte Lucas, the actors are hilarious together and their re-enactments and imitations of the other characters are spot-on! If you enjoyed this series, Hoopla also has available the Emma Approved web series which is based on the Jane Austen novel Emma, and is excellent as well.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

eligibleLizzie is a columnist of a beauty magazine, Jane a yoga instructor, Mary and Kitty cross-fit enthusiasts, and Charles Bingley was on a Bachelor-type show. Yes, this is a recent adaptation of Pride & Prejudice which is a bit more risqué and deals with contemporary issues (as retellings often do) yet possesses all the feels of the original.

 

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

bjones  Fielding’s beloved novel follows Bridget Jones, a 30-something woman who has a plan for the year to improve her life: lose weight, stop smoking and find a man. In this novel we follow Bridget along through her success and failures as she laments in personal and extremely funny ways to her diary, be prepared to laugh out loud and even think, “I’ve felt that way before.”

 

 

 

lostinaLost in Austen

This film is yet another fun, fan’s dream come true. Amanda Price, a huge P&P enthusiast finds a portal that takes her into the novel where characters are not all they seemed in the book. Unfortunately her escapade changes things, and if she wants to keep the story as-is she must unite Lizzie and Darcy, but what’s a girl to do when she is falling for Darcy and Lizzie becomes transported into her world? A truly enjoyable series with some modern twists and laugh-out-loud moments.

Pride and Prejudice has also inspired many spin-offs and continuations of the series as well as authors considering the novel from Darcy’s point-of-view, which all make for fun reads. Click here to see all that we have to offer.

Last but not least, I can’t forget the wonderful adaptations of the famed novel. Whether you swooned over Colin Firth when he exited the pond, or were entranced with Keira Knightley’s Oscar nominated performance or love both, the library has you covered here!

Let me know some of your favourite retellings of P&P or other classics in the comments below.

Aileen