Jane Austen, Reinvented

November 13, 2014 2:06 PM

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Jane Austen, Reinvented

Jane Austen may have died in 1817, but her novels have survived more than 200 years -- not only survived, but they've been reinterpreted in a hundred different ways, none more so than her most beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. The story of Mr. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth Bennet's prejudice has been invaded by zombies, turned into a Gothic melodrama by P.D. James, reinvented as a millennial's video blog -- and yet the novel itself never changes. Each generation recreates Pride and Prejudice in its own image, and the results are sometimes beautiful, sometimes, well, not so beautiful, and sometimes (inadvertently) hilarious.

In Austen's own time, books were plainly packaged in cardboard, to be rebound by the owners in leather, but in the mid-19th century -- around the time the copyright of the novels expired -- cheap new editions appeared, sold in railway stations for busy commuters. The covers of these "yellowbacks" we...

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