Originally published in England in January 1813, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one the most beloved and endearing classic novels of all time. Pride and Prejudice was first published in the United States in August 1832 as Elizabeth Bennet or, Pride and Prejudice. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide and been made into numerous film and radio adaptations. Besides these adaptions, there have also been numerous other books written in the Pride and Prejudice world, everything from the story as seen from Mr. Darcy’s point of view to novels that continue the story after Pride and Prejudice ends, murder mysteries, graphic novels, children board books, and, one of my favorites, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
The anniversary made me start thinking about how many copies of Pride and Prejudice that I own, I am almost embarrassed to say I have three film versions (the BBC 6-hour mini-series starring Colin Firth on Blue-Ray that I just got for Christmas and let me say it is totally worth getting the digitally remastered Blue-Ray, the 2005 version starring Keira Knightly and Mathew Macfadyen, and the 2003 version set in modern-day Utah) and four print copies including a leather bound complete Jane Austen collection and an ebook copy.
Obviously I have a great love of this novel, I think Austen was spot on with her understanding of people and their relationships with one another. We have all known (or acted like) Lydia Bennet with a selfish disregard of others and the consequences of our actions. We have all been embarrassed by a sibling or parent like when Mr. Bennet stops Mary from singing at the party, or Mrs. Bennet with her fixation on superficial things and only caring about marrying off her daughters. Or been in a situation where we believe one side of a story (Mr. Wickham) only to find out what really happened was something completely different or found ourselves judging someone in a social gathering only to find out they are very different in a private setting (Mr. Darcy).
Times change, technology moves forward but at our hearts we are still individuals searching for our place in the world, wanting someone to love us for us, which Jane Austen portrays so well in Pride and Prejudice. Well done Jane, well done, and here’s to another 200 years of your stories being loved.
If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice yet I highly recommend that you do so. All of Jane Austen’s works are in the public domain, meaning they belong to the public at large so you can get free legal copies of both the audio book and the ebook at the following sites (so no excuses for not having read them):
Free copy of the audio book at LibriVox
Free copy of the ebook at Project Gutenburg
I have to ask, how many copies do you own?