British author Jane Austen (1775-1817) wrote Pride and Prejudice, originally titled First Impressions in 1797 and was unsuccessful in her bid to get published. She finally succeeded and got it published in 1813. She could not have envisioned that her story would become one of the most beloved stories of all time. Her books have never been out of print, since first being published.
The story centers on Elizabeth Bennet a gentleman’s daughter living a very simple life, in the English country of Derbyshire. She has four sisters, a very inadequate mother and an indifferent father that can not manage his flirty daughters. She is of no consequence, since she has no connections or dowry to speak of. Enter the haughty Mr. Dacy and his ten thousand pounds per year, plus one of the largest estates in all of England.
Fireworks fly when they meet at the Meryton Assembly a country dance, which the wealthy and handsome Mr. Darcy attends at the insistence of his good friend Mr. Bingley, who has just leased a property that neighbors the Bennet’s and has designs on the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane as soon as he lays eyes on her.
During the dance Mr. Darcy insults Elizabeth stating the she is ‘not handsome enough to tempt me’ to his friend, when he presses him to ask her to dance. Mr. Darcy’s fate is sealed, or so we all think. Elizabeth does everything in her power to propagate the word that he is an arrogant and prideful man.
One of the most classic love stories, it explores how the prejudices we hold against people we don’t really know affect potential relationships and one’s future happiness. In the story, both Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are guilty of a number of misunderstandings that conspire to keep them apart, even though he falls in love with the spunky Elizabeth almost immediately. She eventually sees that he is a good, caring man and not proud at all.
The most popular adaptations made are the 1995 BBC version starring Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and Jennifer Ehl (“Contagion”). The most recent adaptation was directed by Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and stars Keira Knightley (“Pirates of The Caribbean” ) and Matthew Macfadyen (“Anna Karenina”).
Many comparisons have been made as to who is the best Mr. Darcy, one of the most popular and beloved romantic heroes of British literature. Both, Firth and Macfadyen incite enormous passions among their followers. This is one of the many reasons, Pride and Prejudice continues to be on of the most read and discussed novels of all time. It has also served as the basis for many a romantic comedies, such as The Bridget Jones Diaries and no doubt it will continue to do so in the future. Who would play the next Mr. Darcy? We shall see.