smilingrid: true love

June 07, 2013

true love

Remember in high school, when there were some teachers that you would hear whispers about years before you even took their class? 

I had a teacher like that my sophomore year. She was the hardest grading English teacher pretty much ever, gave out very challenging assignments, and was exacting during class discussions. 

She was my favorite teacher.

I don't mean after the fact because her class ended up teaching me so much, I mean completely in the moment because of all of the reasons her class was whispered about in fear and awe.

And my adoration all started because she assigned "Pride and Prejudice" for summer reading.

I mentioned in an earlier post that this topic deserved it's own entry. Well, here we go!

I was in France for the summer, and while I was there I must have read this book at least ten times and enjoyed it more every time through. I'd read it at the beach and then the girl hosting me and I watched the Keira Knightley adaptation while babysitting one night. That summer has a charmed haze in my memory; both because I was in France and because I was introduced to what has become my favorite book.

It was the start of a lifelong love.

Clearly I am not alone in my feelings for this story. If I were, there would not be so many adaptations! 

There are the adaptations that everyone has seen...

The 1995 version is incredible! It is exactly like the book (besides extra shots of Colin Firth in the bath while Jennifer Ehle plays with a Dalmatian...) The casting is unbelievable! On a related note, if you say you don't love Colin Firth you are not only lying but we cannot be friends. He's my Mr. Darcy. Because of the attention to detail, this adaptation is very long. So, keep that in mind if movie night is coming up!

I already mentioned the 2005 film with Keira Knightley. I love this movie, I do, but not nearly as much as I adore the book. I feel like it was modernized in weird ways - for example, Lizzie walks around without gloves on which would have been a massive social faux pas. They also made costume decisions align with modern aesthetics (instead of using empire waist dresses, the director set the film closer to when Austen started writing the book in order to dress the actors more flatteringly). Despite minor things like these, the movie is wonderful. The cinematography is breathtaking and the acting is beyond impressive. I've watched it enough to be able to speak pretty much in tandem with the dialogue... and I am completely unashamed about this.

And then there are the unexpected ones!

...Or maybe not so unexpected! The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Youtube sensation and the brain baby of Hank Green. It is basically a modern day Bennet family as seen through the lens of Lizzie's video blog. All of our beloved characters are there, just not always as you expect them. To show you what I mean, Kitty Bennet is literally a cat that loves Lydia best. Lizzie, Jane, and Lydia are sisters, Mary is their cousin, and Bing Lee is a medical student from a well off family who moves to their town with his sister Caroline. 
Also, Darcy is a hipster.
It is amazing and utter perfection! I cannot gush about it enough, nor can I recommend it to enough people. Everyone should go watch it on youtube now! (no seriously, stop reading and go!)

Lost in Austen in a four-part mini series that I found on Hulu after the Lizzie Bennet Diaries ended. I'm still unsure of how I feel about it... 
It's a cool concept, don't get me wrong! A british girl, dissatisfied with her modern-day life, loses herself in the pages of Pride and Prejudice whenever she's stressed or upset. That is, until a portal opens up in her bathroom and she switches worlds with Elizabeth Bennet. Like I said, cool concept. Unfortunately, the first half of it was a miss for me, filled with second-hand embarrassment and a lot of head shaking. The second half is much better, after Wickham teaches her the ways of the land... that's another thing I didn't like, most of the characters are completely different from their written counterparts! Wickham's a good guy, Caroline Bingley is a lesbian, and Mr. Collins is the most disgusting and vile thing (so much worse than the book in which he's just a bumbling fool).
These are the adaptations I have seen and loved. I know there is an incredible number of literary continuations but have not read them. I don't know if I feel brave enough to grab one brazenly from a shelf and dive right in. I think I'd need a recommendation coupled with the assurance that the added story lives up to Jane Austen's legacy... 
This is what my current copy looks like- I bought it after my mom sold my Norton Critical Edition... and yes, I'm still a bit bitter about it! I'm thinking I'll keep this one somewhere to show off it's beauty and to have on hand to read but buy another Norton for my bedside table...

Oh well, even without adding new stories to the pages, I will read Pride and Prejudice over and over again for the rest of my life. There's nothing quite like returning to the pages of a favorite novel and getting lost in the familiar lines!