Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honoring Our Inspiration

One hundred and ninety-five years ago, today, saw the first publication of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, forever inspiring legions of readers and writers.

P&P is Austen's second published novel. Its manuscript, first called First Impressions, was initially written between 1796 and 1797 at the rectory in Steventon, Hampshire. Austen later revised the novel in 1811 and renamed it to P&P.

Austen sold the copyright for the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110 (Austen had asked for £150). Egerton published the first edition in three hardcover volumes in January 1813, priced at 18s each.

We all know about Colin Firth emerging from the lake and Matthew MacFadyen striding through the dawn mist, but here are a few of the lesser known adaptations:

  • Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003) places the novel in contemporary times.
  • The central premise of the television miniseries Lost in Austen is a modern woman suddenly swapping lives with that of Elizabeth Bennet.
  • The off-Broadway musical I Love You Because reverses the gender of the main roles, set in modern day New York City.
  • The Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio has a wealthy, arrogant and proud protagonist falling in love with a poor, lower-class girl.
  • A 2008 Israeli television six-part miniseries set the story in the Galilee with Mr. Darcy a well-paid worker in the high-tech industry.
So, Romanistas, which is your favorite retelling of the much-loved story? Inkhornism — A learned or pedantic word or expression, like something a flaybottomist (see post below) might use — Sir James Murray's "New English Dictionary" (1901)