UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"I am excessively diverted" : recent adaptations of Pride and Prejudice on television, film, and digital media Cant, Whitney


It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is the proverbial choice for adaptation, especially her most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813. Remarkably, this two hundred-year-old novel written by a lady who never married, always lived at home, and died at the age of forty-one, is one of the most timeless stories in English literature. Adapters are drawn to the story of Elizabeth and Darcy, both to pay reverence to the original, and to impart their own vision of the classic tale of first impressions. In the past two decades, the most creative, popular, and financially successful adaptations have emerged: the 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice directed by Simon Langton, the 2005 feature film Pride & Prejudice directed by Joe Wright, and the 2012 transmedia storytelling experience The Lizzie Bennet Diaries directed by Bernie Su. This thesis utilizes the three components of Linda Hutcheon’s A Theory of Adaptation (2006) to discuss these works at length. After a preliminary chapter outlining the major adaptations theories, in Chapter Two I examine the 1995 BBC miniseries as a formal entity or product; in Chapter Three I discuss the 2005 film as a process of creation; and in Chapter Four I analyze the 2012 transmedia experience as a process of reception. This thesis argues that each of these adaptations does something remarkably different to set itself apart from the novel and the adaptations before it. I claim that adaptations of Pride and Prejudice from the 1990s onward respond back to the most recent adaptation just as much as they do the original novel, affirming the increasing popularity of Pride and Prejudice as an adaptive source text.

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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada