All posts by Ashley Oldham

‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ 101: Everything You Need To Know Before Watching This ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Web Adaptation

True or false? Elizabeth Bennet is a communications graduate student living with her family in California. The answer is: True! Well, at least in “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” a modern-day web adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

The series began its run on YouTube in 2012 in the form of 100 short videos. This adaptation (produced by the aptly named Pemberley Digital production company) is exciting, witty, and so lovable that it’ll leave you wanting to watch the entire series in one sitting — which I may or may not have done myself.

If you’re in the market for a new series to enjoy, here’s everything you need to know before watching “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Consider this your “LBD 101.”

The Plot

lizzie bennet diariesIn this series, Lizzie Bennet gives viewers a peek into her family life through her video blog (vlog) as a grad-school project. She’s aided by her best friend, Charlotte; her sweet older sister, Jane; and her extremely enthusiastic younger sister, Lydia.

In true Austen fashion, Mrs. Bennet constantly pushes Lizzie and her two sisters to marry rich men — especially when medical student Bing Lee moves in down the street. With Bing Lee comes his sister, Caroline, and of course his best friend, William Darcy.

There’s also a slew of other notable characters, such as Ricky Collins (creator of the media company Collins and Collins) and his patron, Ms. Catherine De Bourgh. Swim coach George Wickham also makes an appearance — first wooing Lizzie, then later Lydia.

LBD is fun and hilarious, and this is just a taste of the slew of shenanigans that ensue throughout the web series. Though the main ideas of “Pride and Prejudice” remain, the way it’s re-created allows for new adventures for these classic characters.

The Format

Though there are a few outliers, the episodes are generally around two to five minutes and were originally released twice a week or so. They usually involve Lizzie talking directly to the camera (with Charlotte assumed to be behind it), taking viewers through her most recent life updates.

Other characters will sometimes insert themselves into the videos. Other times, Lizzie will reenact her encounters with them using props (and Charlotte). Though most videos find Lizzie in her room, sometimes she’ll be at Bing Lee’s, a company office, or even a web video convention.

The Modern-Day Differences

Although this adaptation sticks closely to the heart and soul of the original novel, there are, of course, a few notable differences.

For starters, all the main characters have jobs or backgrounds that fit perfectly with their character traits. Lizzie is in grad school studying mass communications, Jane is a fashionista, Lydia is a seemingly flighty party girl, Bing Lee is a medical student, and Darcy runs his own company.

These characters also find themselves in all sorts of different situations, such as Ricky Collins attempting to make Lizzie his new business partner.

If you’re wondering about Mary and Kitty, then ponder no more. In this version, Mary is the Bennet sisters’ emo cousin and Kitty is — well, you’ll have to watch to find out.

All of this is to say that the vlog style gave the series producers more creative freedom.

Why It’s So Lovable

lizzieFor me, part of the appeal of LBD is its modern-day modifications to the original storyline of “Pride and Prejudice.” It stays true to the novel, but in doing so, crafts something special all its own. It’s charming, it’s funny, and it has heart. The plot is lovable, the format is new and innovative, and the characters are everything I could have ever wanted them to be.

Pemberley Digital aims to tell “timeless stories in innovative ways,” and that’s exactly what it does with the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” It breathes new life into this classic novel — and I really just can’t get enough of it.

So, if you’re looking for something to binge-watch, then look no further. “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is sure to be one of your new favorite Austen adaptations.

Presenting Our 2019 Jane Austen Summer Program Teacher Scholars

The Jane Austen Summer Program is pleased to announce our six scholarship winners. Each year, JASP offers scholarships to North Carolina middle school and high school teachers who share a passion for Austen and a desire to bring her works into the classroom. Winners receive full program tuition, a scholar luncheon and a chance to attend the Regency tea. 

Kayla Bullock

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Kayla Bullock

School: SandHoke Early College High School in Raeford

Subject: English IV

Literary character(s) I’m most like: I actually find myself being compared to Elinor Dashwood (“Sense and Sensibility”) at times. I tend to be very mothering in a way but am often taken as having too much of a stoic outlook on life.

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? I’m looking forward to learning more deeply about this time period, especially the dancing and tea!

 


Katie Garner

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Katie Garner

School: Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill

Subject: Sixth-grade English and language arts

Literary character(s) I’m most like: Levin (“Anna Karenina”), Francie Nolan (“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”), Harriet (“Harriet the Spy”)

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? Reviving my love for Jane Austen and period drama, learning how to make Austen more accessible for younger readers, and participating in cultural activities to make literature a more immersive experience (the Regency ball)!

 


Jennifer Holston

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Jennifer Holston

School: Mooresville High School in Mooresville

Subject: AP Literature and Composition, and English IV

Literary character(s) I’m most like: Elinor Dashwood (“Sense and Sensibility”)

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? I am most excited to interact with others who share a love of all things Austen! I’m looking forward to enjoying the program on a personal and professional level, enabling me to implement new and exciting things in my classroom.

 


Emily Phillips

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Emily Phillips

School: Mooresville High School in Mooresville

Subject: English IV

Literary character(s) I’m most like: The literary character I most relate to is Mary Lennox from “The Secret Garden”; I admire her tenacity, her sense of exploration, and adaptability.

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? I am looking forward to getting to know other educators and fans of Austen and classic literature, and finding new ways to spark interest in my classroom.

 


Katie Souter

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Katie Souter

School: East Bladen High School in Elizabethtown

Subject: English

Literary character(s) I’m most like: I’m probably most like Josephine March (“Little Women”). Jo thinks for herself, comes up with imaginative solutions to difficult problems, and doesn’t let other people’s opinions stop her from pursuing her dreams.

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? I’m excited about the tea — and also about diving deep into one of my absolute favorite novels.  “Pride and Prejudice” has been a favorite of mine since high school.

 


Lori Zeman

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Lori Zeman

School: William A. Hough High School in Cornelius

Subject: Media coordinator

Literary character(s) I’m most like: Hermione Granger (in the “Harry Potter” series)

What are you looking forward to most at JASP? I am excited to attend JASP to have the opportunity to meet other educators and great readers who share my love for “Pride and Prejudice.” I love that I will get the opportunity to explore the classic book as well other adaptations that reflect various cultures from around the world. I look forward to working with other educators on how best to bring these great ideas back into the classroom.

Introducing a patroness of the ball: Maureen O’Connor, the ‘Dowager Duchess of St. Augustine’

This year’s Jane Austen Summer Program offers a new way to support our Regency ball: giving attendees the opportunity to become patrons or patronesses of the event. This includes special incentives such as VIP treatment, photo opportunities with “Mr. Darcy,” fanfare upon entrance, and an aristocratic title during the ball. We are excited to introduce this new feature!

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This week, meet one of our patronesses: veteran JASP attendee Maureen O’Connor — and potential special guest Mr. Knightley, the cutest Jane Austen-loving puppy around! O’Connor will go by the aristocratic title of the “Dowager Duchess of St. Augustine” at the ball.

We chatted with her about her love for Austen, excitement for the ball, and, of course, Mr. Knightley.

Why does she love Jane Austen, and when did that love first begin?

At the beginning of 2010, O’Connor’s husband was diagnosed with lymphoma, and had just started chemotherapy. In the hospital with him, she was Googling when she came across the books “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” and “Rude Awakening.” After reading them, she decided to join the Jane Austen Society of North America. For her, it was a lifeboat in a difficult point in her life. In 2012, she volunteered making and selling gowns at JASNA’s Annual General Meeting in New York. After having a great experience and meeting many wonderful people, she began going to any Austen convention that she could drive to!

pob 5Is there anything we could do to possibly coax Mr. Knightley into coming?

O’Connor would love to have Mr. Knightley join us at this year’s convention. Mr. Knightley has a tail coat, and has been going to Louisville’s Austen festivals for many years all dressed up. We think he is the most adorable Austen-loving puppy we’ve ever seen!

What’s her favorite thing about JASP? Does she have a favorite dance?

O’Connor’s favorite dance is the “Duke of Kent Waltz.”

We asked her to imagine that she had chance to be best friends with any Austen character whom would she choose, and why?

She would choose Emma. It’s her favorite book, and Mr. Knightley is, of course, her favorite hero! O’Connor loves to be the counterpoint to people who say that Emma is “this or that” and thinks that Emma is true to her status in life.pob 3

What is she most looking forward to at this year’s JASP?

O’Connor is most looking forward to the authors who will be speaking, and is excited to learn about the topics of class and wealth in modern-day society that their works address.

If you would be interested in becoming a patron or patroness of the ball, click here for more information. Click here to register.