Regency has taken retreat, Pride and Prejudice has been given an all-American modern overhaul!
Perhaps the most famous modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the 2005 film version staring Kiera Knightly, however does this make it the best? I think not.
Termed by The Guardian as the ‘best Jane Austen small-screen adaptations’, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, is a modern, upbeat and highly addictive series of home video style vlogs by the leading lady herself, Lizzie Bennet.
True to the original, Austen’s Mr Bingley becomes the object of desire, yet is characterised to be the infamously rich single neighbour and trainee doctor, Bing Lee. Mr Darcy has also been given a modern twist characterised as an assumed ‘Dub Step Dj’ named just Darcy. Lydia, takes the form of the slutty younger sister whilst Jane and Elizabeth (despite the abbreviated name) remain true to their original regency selves, with a few modern twists. In fact, I believe that this adaptation has become so successful as despite the modern overhaul, this unfiltered feed remains true to the general narrative of the 1813 novel, as the concerns of marriage, morality and overbearing parents still remain current themes and concerns to 21st century women.
Pride and Prejudice has remained so popular since its publication to the current day because the of the characters created by Austen. Despite their then social constraints, they still remain relatable as they are at the end of the day teenage girls, troubled over relationships, a social normality that will never change. However, the use of technology here and viewer interaction via Facebook and Twitter, can almost make it feel like you’re involving yourself in a little piece of Austen as it really brings to life the original characters in a way that is interactive and true to the modern audience.
The vlogging style is clearly aimed and to be appreciated by the teenagers of the YouTube generation where talking frankly about life’s worries to an anonymous audience is the norm. Yet, I think that this is a style that is perfectly suited to the original as the reader also is fed a conscious stream of thought and information by Austen.
I also the fact that cleverly, archaic language has even been worked into the script for comedic value. Lizzie demonstrates this through the constant allusion towards Jane’s use of ‘feminine favours’. I think we all know what she means by that…
Initially when watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I immediately compared this to the film Easy A (which makes reference to the novel The Scarlett Letter). However, I believe that this adaptation is so much more successful as it encapsulates the entirety of the original Pride and Prejudice novel without the need for many changes or even direct reference to the original text and places it in 21st century society in a technological way which could be realistically achieved.