Tag Archives: JASP 2019

‘Pride and Prejudice’ takes you might not have heard of yet

There are so many “Pride and Prejudice” remakes, retellings and updates out there in the film and book world, it’s hard to keep up. Here are a few on our radar:

Set in 1900s Brazil, “Pride and Passion (Orgulho e Paixão)” is a Brazilian telenovela from this year that imagines Austen’s characters living in a shared universe. It’s a little difficult to find in the States, but you can see an extended look at it here.


Set in modern-day Virginia, 2017’s “Before the Fall” is a gay love story between conceited lawyer Ben Bennet and factory work Lee Darcy. You can find it streaming on Amazon. Check out the trailer here.


The 2003 film “Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy” sets the action in modern-day Provo, Utah. You can find it streaming on several services. Here’s the trailer.


If you were a kid in the 1990s (or had kids in the 1990s), you might remember the PBS show “Wishbone,” which features an adorable Jack Russell terrier that imagined himself as the star in myriad adaptations of classic works. Wishbone as Sherlock Holmes! Wishbone as Robin Hood! Wishbone as … Mr. Darcy? You read that right.  Check out an episode called “Furst Impressions.” Or see the first part here:


Not interested in movies? This new edition of “Pride and Prejudice” incorporates teatime recipes from none other than Martha Stewart!

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A Brighton primer

brightonIn Lydia’s imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. …  She saw all the glories of the camp—its tents stretched forth in beauteous uniformity of lines, crowded with the young and the gay, and dazzling with scarlet; and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once.

One of the pivotal plot points in “Pride and Prejudice” — when Lydia meets Wickham while on holiday with the military — takes place off-page in Brighton. What was it about Brighton that drew Lydia — and countless others — to the resort town in southern England?

A doctor in the house

In the 18th century, the fishing village was already becoming more popular with tourists, but Sussex physician Richard Russell put the town on the map by extolling the health benefits of salt water. Up sprung bath houses and assembly rooms, helping to lead to its evolution from just a place of health to one of pleasure and decadence.

Introducing the Prince of Wales

George, the Prince of Wales (later King George IV), raised Brighton’s profile even more, by deciding to make it his home away from home. He built his Pavilion on 600 acres of farmland (more on this in a bit), and where he went high society followed. Events such as the Brighton races drew crowds, the founder of the White’s gentlemen’s club in London founded Raggett’s in Brighton, and the town’s libraries were centers of socializing.

Pavilion

brighton-106310_1920Built over 30 years, George’s grand Pavilion features Indian-inspired domes and Asian decor. It also included modern (for the era) touches including gas lighting and water closets. Over the years, the home fell out of favor with the royalty. Queen Victoria sold it to the town of Brighton in 1850, stripping it of furniture and such. In World War I it served as a hospital for Indian soldiers. Recently the Pavilion’s saloon, decorated in 1823, was restored.

Military

Because of the town’s position between France and London (it had the shortest route from the English Channel to the seat of the British empire), Brighton was particularly vulnerable to invasion — hence the reason for the military presence. In the summer soldiers drilled and practiced maneuvers and took part in mock battles. The prince even participated in some of these activities. And Jane Austen’s brother Henry was stationed there in 1793.

 

Sources: “An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England,” Venetia Murray; “Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels,” Deirdre le Faye

Four notable ‘Pride and Prejudice’ retellings

Writers have been able to translate Pride and Prejudice to multiple settings and time periods. Here are four recent retellings of note:

“Pride,” Ibi Zoboi

pride.jpgIn this young-adult update of “Pride and Prejudice,” Zuri Benitez, a proud teenager from a working-class Afro-Latino family in Brooklyn, takes an immediate dislike to Darius, son of the bougie Darcys who fix up the mansion across the street. The book explores gentrification and classicism in a diverse neighborhood and cleverly updates elements of the original novel. Much of Zuri’s innermost thoughts are expressed through poetry.

 

“Ayesha at Last,” Uzma Jalaluddin

ayesha.jpgThis enjoyable retelling is set in a Muslim community in modern-day Toronto. Ayesha is a poet and teacher who is always helping out her flaky cousin Hafsa. Khalid is a conservative Muslim who dresses in robes and believes his mother will arrange a wise match for him. When Hafsa ditches on a project to help their mosque, Ayesha and Khalid are thrown together, and fireworks fly. This book, which isn’t available in the states yet, is a great adaptation of P&P into another culture.

 

“First and Then,” Emma Mills

firstandthen.jpgWhat happens if “Pride and Prejudice” meet “Friday Night Lights”? You get this YA book. Devon is a Jane Austen-loving teenager who butts heads with football hero Ezra during gym class. When her cousin joins the football team and befriends Ezra, Devon’s and Ezra’s paths can’t help but cross. Is Ezra as arrogant as Devon thinks? While not a straight retelling of “Pride and Prejudice,” this book contains a few Austen shout-outs, and the chemistry between Devon and Ezra make for a fun, and often touching, read.

 

“Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe,” Melissa de la Cruz

mistletoeThis retelling gender=swaps the main characters: Darcy, a high-powered female executive, returns to her family home for the holidays and has a one-night stand with hometown carpenter Luke Bennet, whose siblings are unambitious. This is a good read during the holidays.