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Jane in January – The Imprint of Pride & Prejudice in the Modern World by Marilyn Brant — 33 Comments

  1. I, too, love the dance number in the beginning of Bride and Prejudice. And I love both the Utah/Mormon version of P&P and Austenland. I have to say it depends on the mood I am in as to which DVD I will pull out and watch (although sometimes it is only the dance scene or the lovers uniting scene at the end, etc.). “Take me to love” in Bride and Prejudice is another musical number I like to watch. I am not a fan of Bridget Jones’ Diary. As far as books – that is just too hard to narrow it down to even a half dozen. There are just too many good ones. Even the time-travel ones have won me over and I am waiting for the last in several trilogies to wrap up some favorites…Abigail’s Woods Hole series and Robin Helm’s Yours by Design time travel tales…hint, hint.

    • Sheila, I know what you mean about needing to be in the right mood for some of the DVDs 😉 . I own a copy of “Bride & Prejudice” and enjoy it as a whole but, sometimes, I just want to watch that dancing scene and a few other favorite parts! “Lost in Austen” is a bit like that for me as well. It was so fascinating seeing Tom Mison (as a rather different Bingley) in that production. You mentioned time travels — have you read Sally Smith O’Rourke’s The Man Who Loved Jane Austen already? It was one of the first Austen-inspired stories I read and I really enjoyed it.

  2. Ah yes, fun post, Marilyn! I love that dance number in Bride & Prejudice too. That movie opened my eyes to the Indian movie versions and I watched the S&S story in subtitles. I haven’t watched the Emma one yet, but I plan too.

    I had to think hard about my first modern P&P. I’m almost positive it was Abigail Reynolds’ Pemberley By the Sea though Mary Simonsen’s Search For Pemberley which isn’t quite a P&P modern retelling led the way. I’ve seen many movies and read many other retellings, but I haven’t managed Clueless, Prada to Nada or Austenland yet or several book retellings. I’ll get there. 😉

    I’ve mostly read P&P retellings and a few others and its a pretty long list including what is still waiting for me on my TBR pile (including yours *hangs head in shame*). I track it all on my GR shelves- love that feature.

    • Sophia,
      Those Bollywood films are just a delight! Such fun 🙂 .
      And no need to hang your head about not having gotten to all of your books yet…you should see my TBR pile! Oh, my. Both in print and digital, it is MASSIVE! Plus, I’ve been judging RITA entries this past week (for the annual Romance Writers of America contest), so I was shipped a box of additional books — but I have a deadline for those, so I’m devouring them immediately. Isn’t it wonderful to have such a wealth of stories at our fingertips?! I’m a little overwhelmed by the choices sometimes, but I still feel really lucky!

  3. When it comes to film and TV, my first modern adaptation was Clueless, followed by Bridget Jones, Lost In Austen and Bride and Prejudice (yes, I do have all the DVDs). Bride and Prejudice has to be my favourite though, especially the big song and dance numbers. They never fail to bring a smile to my face! The biggest plus with Lost in Austen, IMO, is the best casting ever of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. I thought Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston were brilliant. It also had a definitely unusual take on Caroline Bingley’s character!

    With books, I’ve only started to read modern adaptations within the past year (I signed up to AV on February 1st). I love any that have some sort of time travel element, being the sci-fi geek that I am. My first was Jane Odiwe’s Project Darcy and my second was The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O’Rourke. Since then there’s been quite a few more, including both of the Perfect Pair, Lucky 13, Boots and Backpacks, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Abigail’s Woods Hole books (on audio), Robin Helm’s books and probably some I’ve missed. Like Sheila, I’m nudging both of the latter two – like Oliver Twist, I want more! The Muse by Jessica Evans popped through my letterbox yesterday, so that’s leaped to the top of my real book TBR list and I’m currently reading Monica’s Steampunk Darcy on my Kindle. The TBR list on my Kindle is reaching humongous proportions and I really should stop buying books for it! The real book pile is still in single figures – just!

    • Anji,
      LOL about your Kindle book list reaching “humongous proportions”!! I can *so* relate to that 😉 . And THANK YOU for having read both of the Perfect Pair books as part of your past year’s excursion into modern adaptations! I truly appreciate that. xo
      As for the films, I agree with you on the “Lost in Austen” casting — really well chosen actors, especially considering the comedic tone they were going for. And I’m glad you share that love of the “Bride & Prejudice” dance numbers. I want to learn those steps!

  4. Very fun post! I think my first introduction to P & P was the 1995 TV mini-series, and my first modern-day version on film was Clueless. It was after this that I decided I needed to read the books! Lost in Austen was a favorite, but I think probably mostly because it was so different, and now that I’ve seen it once, it wouldn’t have that element of surprise, so I probably would never watch it again. Unlike Jane’s stories, which I can do over and over…

    I love some of the JAFF stories I’ve read, and continue to look out for those I would love! If I should be lucky enough to win, one of the ebooks from Shannon would be my preference, though I’m sure I would love anything! 🙂

    • Julie,
      So glad you enjoyed the post!
      Wasn’t “Clueless” a brilliant adaptation?! My high school experience couldn’t have been more different from that of the Cher/Emma character, but what impressed me was the writer/director’s incredible insightfulness in making that kind of connection between a privileged Southern California girl and our beloved matchmaking JA heroine. There were enough nods to Austen during the film to keep me cheering in recognition, but there were still plenty of new elements that surprised me and kept the story fresh and original. Great fun!

  5. Love the article. I enjoy anything Austen inspired but have to admit to not reading the third Bridget Jones due to the lack of Mark Darcy! However my introduction to the first was at a hospital appointment where I was faced with an incredibly long wait. I went to the concourse shop in search of a book and found this new book called Bridget Jones Diary. As I was reading it in the waiting room I could not stop laughing. Others wanted to know what I was laughing at so I ended up reading it to the entire crowded waiting room! There was great disappointment when I was finally called to my appointment!

    • Thanks so much, Hazel! I’m so glad you loved it 🙂 .
      I’ll confess to not having read the 3rd Bridget Jones either…but your story of reading parts of the first one aloud in the hospital waiting room is the BEST!! What a fabulous way to pass the time and share the humor with others!

    • Talia,
      Many thanks! I’m delighted you enjoyed my post. And, as you and Hazel said, not having Mark Darcy…well…I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around that :). So glad you enjoyed “Bride & Prejudice” as well. Wish we could have a movie night online with popcorn & Raisinets, LOL.

  6. I loved this article, Marilyn. I have heard of many, if not all, of these movies, but not seen any. I will start by saying I am not a fan of contemporary romance. I crave escapism and have always read legends of yore, variations on fairytales, and, later, historical romance. Last year, I tried a modern variation for the first time. It was Linda Wells’ Perfect Fit. My next 2 were the Perfect Match and The Perfect Bet by Marilyn Brant. Lastly, I read Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar. I have now begun her other time travel book Searching for Captain Wentworth. I have enjoyed each one of these, but am always hesitant to try these adaptations.
    My first introduction to Pride and Prejudice was through my husband. He told me it was a book right up my alley. (I am ashamed to say I never head of Jane Austen until I was in my mid-forties.) At that point he sat me down in front of the 2005 film with Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightly and I fell head over heels with Jane Austen’s characters. I devoured Pride and Prejudice and found JAFF. As for my TBR, it is simply too long and whenever a new adaptation comes out I purchase it and add it to my TBR. I have a couple hundred austenesque books on it and about 500 others. Thank you Marilyn for this post. It was fun!

    • Deborah, it is always such a joy to hear from you!
      Thank you so much for your comments — I’m thrilled you enjoyed the post and even more honored that my modern adaptations were among the few you read 😉 . Thanks for taking a chance on them. xox
      I *love* that your husband was the one to introduce you to P&P — that’s just fabulous!! (He’s a keeper!)

  7. I would have to say 1995 version of P&P. Clueless or Bridget Jones’ Diary was the first modern. Lost in Austen is hilarious. I look forward to watching the others and reading more fan fiction. I cannot remember which one I read first. There have been too many.

    • Patty,
      When we read a lot — especially multiple books in a week — it can be so difficult to remember the order! When I first started writing romance, I read novel after novel, without a break. I remember many of the stories, but I couldn’t tell you exactly when I read each of them…so I know just what you mean 😀 .

  8. I read the story in high school and had a hard time getting through it. It was a classic and I wasn’t big on classics and required reading, so I forgot about it after reading it. When I was pregnant with my first child, I picked it up at the library to see if I liked it any better, since I had discovered that age and perspective made all things classic new and interesting. I have loved everything Austen ever since. I bought and read the book until it was threadbare, bought another one, and finally bought it for my Kindle. My favorite movie was the classic 1995 miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. For me there is no other Lizzy and Darcy. That series was beautiful to look at, well cast, well acted, and had such lovely music. I have never liked the version with Kiera Knightley because Donald Sutherland was chewing up the scenery and it was very distracting. I don’t like the version from the late 30’s with Greer Garson either. For me, it’s always the 95 miniseries. I used to watch the miniseries with my daughter every year at Christmas, and I read the book once a year. I saw Bride and Prejudice, but for me, it will always be 1995! I remember watching the original broadcast on A&E, and every rerun. My husband watched it with me every time. I think he was too lazy to walk into the den and watch something else, but he also liked it. Over the years when it was on TV, he would let me know, and he bought me the boxed set when it came out.

    • You don’t mention the 1985 P&P movie version with David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie. Have you seen that one? I have all the English speaking ones on DVD but someone mentioned that there are more Bollywood ones with subtitles. I was not aware of those and will have to check them out since I love the Bride and Prejudice one.

    • Mari,
      I thought the ’95 miniseries was positively amazing 😉 . I’ve enjoyed lots and lots of the adaptations of P&P — both Regency and modern — but I think Andrew Davies was able to do something particularly special with that one. It helps that he had so many hours of film time to work with, though! Quite an advantage compared to movies that had to fit into a 2-hour time frame. Sheila mentioned the David Rintoul/Elizabeth Garvie version. That’s about 4.5 hours, I believe, so they were able to expand the storyline to include more than either Greer Garson’s or Keira Knightley’s versions. Have you seen it? The Rintoul/Garvie adaptation was the first one I ever saw — our high school English teacher showed it to us after we’d read P&P in class, so I like it as much for sentimental reasons as for cinematic ones! 😉

  9. I believe my first modern was Abigail’s Pemberley by the Sea. These days I find myself alternating between modern and regency. I have fun with the modern movies but can’t get my husband to watch them with me like I can the original versions.

    • Becky,
      I think it’s wonderful that your husband enjoys watching the original versions of the Austen stories with you, even if he doesn’t get into the modern ones! My husband teaches world history, so he finds the Regency adaptations a bit more interesting from an historical perspective (especially P&P and Persuasion). He loved “Bride & Prejudice” (the cultural elements really won him over 🙂 ), but he wouldn’t sit through “Clueless,” LOL.

  10. I first ran across P&P when I faked a book report during a very busy time in my junior year of high school. Thus, I didn’t technically meet P&P or JA until my college years, and in graduate school, I wrote an essay on the theme of civility in P&P, S&S, and MP.

    I am a long-time adherent to the 1995 P&P, and the voice of Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy for me. The 2005? Meh. I read the BJ’s Diary series before I watched the film(s)–the last one (sans Darcy) was heartbreaking. I binge-watched the Lizzy Bennet Diaries a year ago at Christmas but can’t get my 20-something daughter to join the fun. Despite hating Emma (book and movies), Clueless has long been a family favorite. Bride & Prejudice was a fun frolic but not a fave. I’ve read Austenland, Midnight in Austenland, and loved watching Lost in Austen. Becoming Jane was good, but not quite as good as I had expected.

    When it comes to JAFF, I’m a devotee of Abigail Reynolds, but I’ve also read the Carrie Bebris mystery series, and I find that while I prefer Regency over modern, I like modern well enough to keep reading them!

    Great post, Marilyn!! Thank you!! 🙂

    • LOL about faking that high-school book report, Susanne!! Glad you went back and read JA in college… 🙂 Love the premise of your grad school essay, btw!
      I’d expected a little more from “Becoming Jane,” too. I think what I keep hoping is that we’ll actually get some new, as-yet-undiscovered insights into JA’s real life. That a stash of her letters weren’t really destroyed by Cassandra. That some new info is out there somewhere that — when revealed — will lead to a deeper, more intriguing adaptation of her life. One can only hope, right?!

      • And I keep thinking that 10 years have passed since the last re-make of P&P…time for a new movie version? How many versions of Jane Eyre are there? I have 7 in my DVD collection and recently watched one on Netflix, which was not in my collection. But I don’t think anyone can top the 1995 P&P version…except that Darcy should have kissed Elizabeth when he did gain her acceptance at last. Andrew Davies missed that one romantic touch in my book.

        • Sheila,
          AGREED!! I would have loved to have seen a kiss at that moment, too 😉 .
          And, yes, it’s been a decade now…and I can never get enough of P&P. Bring on another adaptation!!

          • I’ve alway thought that a kiss was invovled in Elizabeth’s acceptance of Darcy’s second proposal:

            “…and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became him”

            How better could he have expressed himself? And what was Elizabeth up to that she couldn’t look at him? Must have been an embrace of some sort!

            I remember reading a comment by Abigail somewhere on a blog (can’t remember which one) in the not too distant past. In it she indicated that a kiss was certainly what Jane Austen meant wwithout saying as much.

            • Anji,
              I can’t tell you how much I love to know what Jane Austen really intended in certain sections of her novels!! Without her actually speaking to us from the Great Beyond, though, I don’t think we’ll ever get a definite answer to some questions 🙂 .
              Reminds me of a really funny scene in the film “Back to School” where Rodney Dangerfield’s character goes to college and has to write an English paper on Kurt Vonnegut. Because he’s wealthy, he’s able to hire Vonnegut himself to write the paper. The lady professor knows it’s not really Dangerfield’s work when she reads it, so she calls him out on it and then says something like, “And you don’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut!” LOL. I always loved that ;).

  11. I think I was first introduced to the Pride and Prejudice story in high school when I saw a stage version of it. I was really hooked after I saw the 1995 BBC version. I end up watching that adaptation several times a year. More recently, I binge-watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries last summer, and although there were a couple of episodes I felt were a bit over- the -top vulgar (especially where they first introduce Lydia), for the most part I think they adapted it very well to modern times. I felt it was intelligently written and the cast was well chosen. I liked that they showed some character growth in Lydia by the end. I have now watched the series at least twice, but there are some episodes I have re-watched many times. Just a warning for any of you who haven’t seen it yet, it is very addictive. The episodes may be only 3-5 minutes long, but it’s hard to stop once you’ve started. 🙂

    • Maureen,
      I know what you mean about the addictive quality of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries! I was introduced to the show in the fall of 2013 because some of the writers/producers were going to be at the JASNA AGM in Minneapolis and I wanted to know what the episodes were all about… I binged watched for days after I came home from the conference! Really an interesting take on Austen’s P&P themes 😉 .

  12. I’m late to comment on this post! I loved Bride & Prejudice. It was a lot of fun. I’d like to see the Bollywood versions of some of the other Austen books mentioned in this thread. Can someone post the names of the movies? I don’t mind subtitles, I always have them turned on.

    I’m wondering if there are any stories (either FF or published) that would be similar to Bride & Prejudice? Whether modern or historical, I think the cultural differences would be a fun variation.

    Although I prefer historical, I read all kinds – modern, paranormal, time travel, etc. One of my favorite moderns was “Pride and Precipice” by Lelia Silver. Even though it was modern, the characters had an old-fashioned way of speaking and interacting. Some reviewers didn’t like that aspect of the story, but I found it charming.

    • Jennie,
      I just came across the IMDb page for the Bollywood version of Sense & Sensibility: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0242572/ (“I Have Found It”), although I haven’t seen the film yet. It stars the same beautiful actress — Aishwarya Rai — who was the lead in “Bride & Prejudice” so I’d love to watch it sometime soon!
      And thanks for recommending Pride and Precipice 🙂 . It’s a novel I know I’ve heard mentioned, but I haven’t read it. Adding it to my ever-growing TBR list!!

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