Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pride and Prejudice For Ever!

 It’s now 200 years since Jane Austen died, but her books are immortal. As if to prove this point, Mammoth Screen have just announced a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which should hit our screens in 2020. The news has been widely reported, showing the evergreen popularity of Jane Austen and her timeless novels. The Radio Times and Digital Spy both carried the story.
     So what do we all think about it? Comments on my facebook page have been mixed, with most people needing to know more before they make up their minds. What we know so far is that it will be made for ITV and adapted by Nina Raine, who promises us a darker version of the novel. Quite what that means is anyone’s guess. It could mean there will be a focus on the humour rather than the romance, or more emphasis on the plight of the Miss Bennets – in fact, it could mean anything. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Meanwhile, Austenesque fiction fills the Pride and Prejudice - shaped hole in our lives. My own novels, including Mr Darcy's Diary, Dear Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy, Vampyre are all still very popular, and new books are appearing all the time. There are trilogies, novels, novellas and short stories – there really is something for everyone. Historical Romance UK’s own Monica Fairview has a wonderful trilogy, the Darcy Novels, out now. Mr. Darcy's Pledge starts the trilogy,  followed by Mr Darcy's Challenge, and Mr. Darcy's Pride and JoyAustenesque Reviews loved the novels and said: “I am quite enchanted with these delightful sequels by Monica Fairview!” 

As far as single novels are concerned, there are plenty to choose from. I counted over twenty new titles this month, including A Companion For Miss Darcy by Ellen Carstairs. This seems to be a popular theme, because I counted four further “companion” tales, including one by the excellent Joana Starnes. There are also novellas and short story collections for those who prefer shorter reads. A Stay at Pemberley by Caroline Bryant is an August release, and there are plenty more to choose from.
     It isn’t only Austenesque fiction that owes a debt to Jane Austen. Regency romance owes a debt to her, too. Mr Darcy is the inspiration for the arrogant, haughty heroes who fill Regency novels, and Elizabeth Bennet is the inspiration for intelligent, independent and forthright heroines.

For those who like Regencies, as well as Austenesque fiction, five of our blog authors have a new collection out for the summer. Midsummer Marriages is sure to keep you entertained, whatever the weather!

There isn’t enough space to mention every new Austenesque release here, but if you have an Austenesque release this month, feel free to include a link in the comments below. And don’t forget to tell us what you think about the forthcoming adaptation of Pride and Prejudice!


Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Interesting post, Amanda.

I'd also like to pay tribute to some of the authors of the past who have given Austen fans so much pleasure. I love John Coates' 1958 completion of 'The Watsons', for example, and I also enjoyed Marganita Laski's 1975 lively completion of Sanditon'. Joan Aiken, too, wrote some excellent spin offs from Jane Austen's books. Her 'Jane Fairfax' very cleverly wove conversations and scenes from 'Emma' into Jane's story, and I liked her 'Mansfield Revisited' which follows Susan Price's adventures at Mansfield Park.

And, more recently, I think Val McDermid's modern (2014) take on 'Northanger Abbey' is terrific.

Amanda said...

Thanks for posting, Elizabeth. You're right, there are some excellent early examples of Austenesque fiction. I recently came across a book by James Fenimore Cooper, Precaution, which I think is based on Persuasion. I say "I think" because I haven't actually read it yet, but I heard it mentioned as an Austenesque work. By the waym what do you think about the news of a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation?

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I agree with you, Amanda - we'll have to wait and see. But the bar has been set very high.

Lizzie Lamb said...

Well, I didn't think much of the new version of Far From the Madding Crowd, although the cast was good enough. No beating Julie Christie et al IMHO. I feel much the same way about P&P - the BBC version is the definitive one for me; even if Colin Firth didn't get my pulse racing. I'll reserve judgement on the new version, but I don't think I'd go to the cinema to see it. I'll wait for the DVD to come out, or stream it. In terms of Austen adaptations, my favourite is Persuasion and Ciaran Hinds is the perfect Capt Wentworth.
(Fond memories of the summer you gave a talk at Chawton and we all travelled down from Leicester to hear you, Mandy).

monica fairview said...

I'm always happy to see a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation. Those of us who like variations obviously are always pleased to see a new possible interpretation. Having taught literature, I know that each person reads a book differently, and that there are myriads of possible interpretations, and the true test of a classic, I feel, is that each different generation sees something new in it. The same with film adaptations. Each adaptation gives us the joy of rediscovering the novel from a different perspective. No one complains about too many stagings of Shakespeare's plays because we know each staging is a unique look at the the characters.

It's a tribute to Jane Austen that people want to keep revisiting her. Pride and Prejudice seems to have a lasting appeal. I think that's fantastic. I'm really looking forward to this new version.

Meanwhile, thank you, Mandy, for mentioning my Darcy series!!

Amanda said...

Lizzie, thanks for the reminder about the Chawton talk, that was a lovely day, although extremely hot. I seem to remember almost melting! I'm not sure if the new adaptation will be a series or a film, but I'm hoping for a series. I agree about the 1995 version but I'm still looking forward to another adaptation. Each one I've see so far has offered something new. I think my favourite Mr Collins is from the 1980 TV series and I love the scenery and outdoor locations from the 2005 film, as well as the 1995 mini series of course. So I'm hoping the new adaptation will be the definitive version of some part of the novel for me.
Monica, I agree about Shakespeare and I think Jane Austen is approaching him in iconic status. New adaptations keep things fresh, and offer a chance for anyone who hasn't found their definitive adaptation yet to discover it. And you're welcome for the mention of your Darcy trilogy - perfect reading for anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice and wants more

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I agree with Lizzie that the Ciaran Hinds / Amanda Root adaptation of 'Persuasion' was superb. Some terrific acting from Sophie Thompson (Mary Musgrove), Simon Russell Beale(Charles Musgrove),and the late Susan Fleetwood (Lady Russell)and Corin Redgrave (Sir Walter Elliot). They altered the ending, though, which annoyed me. Why on earth have William Elliot losing all his money? It wasn't as if Anne had a fortune. I couldn't see the point.