Published 200 years ago in 1813, Jane Austen's most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice, turns 200 years old today but has never been fresher and more loved. Pride and Prejudice is in many ways a record book. For instance, it has never been out of print.Itremains one of the best-read novels in the English language, with more than 20 million copies sold.
It's also the most filmed of the Austen novels, with 10 major films and TV miniseries, including the classic 1940 adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson with a script cowritten by no less a literary light than Aldous Huxley. Of course, for many of us Elizabeth has Jennifer Ehle's sweet smile and Mr Darcy Colin Firth dreamy stare.
These days 'Jane Austen' is a very big brand name, masses of money are made in her name. Would she be offended? I don't think so. She would have loved to earn money by her quill, that was what she aspired to as a woman and as a writer: financial independence, freedom.
Can you believe it? Charming Mr Darcy and his beautiful, proud Elizabeth are 200 years old!
How would you celebrate them today?
I've prepared my copy of Pride and Prejudice to leaf through it as much as I can today and I'll rewatch my favourite moments from my DVD collection. What about re-watching the first proposal in different adaptations? This is a collage I made a couple of years ago and have already posted on a different occasion. If you have some spare time and feel like watching (or re-watching), here it is .