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June 25, 2004

Elizabeth Bennet


Keira Knightley is to star as Elizabeth Bennet in a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Matthew MacFadyen has been cast as Darcy. He has that brooding saturnine thing going which is what I believe is called for. Not that I would know not having read the book. My only impression is of Colin Firth as that guy based on that guy in that column that got turned into a movie with whatsherface who supposedly had to gain weight for the role but in reality looked less skeletal than usual.

Should I read Jane Austen? I have relegated that sort of thing to the chick lit section along with... I pause for a shudder... Lucy Maud Montgomery. Prolonged argument with a maoist ex of my undergrad days revealed to me that pornography produces unrealistic ideas about sexuality and relationships for men. Forgive my somewhat dense reaction to this line of reasoning but I thought that lack of realism was the entire point of pornography. This got me nowhere. A better riposte was to point out that much of the literature that was popular among undergrad women at the time produced equally unrealistic ideas about sexuality and relationships. I called it "Lucy Maud Montnography", thought I was very clever and remain to this day the only person who has laughed at that joke.

Time to read some Cormac McCarthy and assure myself that all is right with the world.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 25, 2004 08:59 AM

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Will this change my disdain for the character of Elizabeth in P&P? I mean, how can you not love that face?

Posted by: Kelvin at June 25, 2004 01:01 PM

I doubted your taste in light of your declared Wonkette fetish - that picture, however, has restored my faith in your judgment.


Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at June 25, 2004 04:25 PM

Pride and Prejudice is, in fact, chicklit -- the original seed from which chicklit grew, in fact.

But don't avoid it on that account! It's also a view of a very, very alien society from the inside, from the viewpoint of a minor member of the ruling class. Science fiction of the finest sort, with absolutely no "As You Know, Bob" since Austen was writing for people who understood it as well as she did. The most boggling thing is -- all that was happening in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, and the story shows as much awareness of that, or America, or a dozen other things we take for granted as being important as Michael Moore does the concept of "fairness."

I actually like the first half of Northanger Abbey better, but Pride and Prejudice is better written. If you ever, at all, got anything out of Dickens, this is the Other Side of the Story. Give it a shot.


Posted by: Ric Locke at June 25, 2004 11:07 PM

Total chicklit, but I have to admit the BBC production of P&P is quite good. The addition of K2 will only make it better, IMHO. Too bad they couldn't get Colin Firth to reprise his role as Mr Darcy, though.

Posted by: Ian at June 26, 2004 07:00 AM

Well, as many have pointed out before, Austen is definitely chick-lit, but she's relatively restrained compared to today's garbage.

They are all pretty good reads, though. I haul around Palm Pilot eReader versions of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey around on my Treo 600.

I agree with Ian that Firth is probably the definitive Darcy.

Posted by: Chris Taylor at June 26, 2004 08:00 AM

Chick lit? The Brontes wrote chick lit (heavily, ponderous, chick lit) and Austen wrote satire. (Now I'm wondering what you all thought of Vanity Fair ...)

P&P opens with: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

It's a very funny book, and the message contained in the title is eternal.

Posted by: Debbye at June 26, 2004 07:00 PM

No offense to Debbye, but the message I got out of P&P is that the more one pretend to be a "strong, independent woman", the more one actually want a man.

Maybe that's the satire that Austen's saying, I don't know.

Did I mention I hated Elizabeth? :)

Posted by: Kelvin at June 27, 2004 08:18 PM