January 28, 2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice. Its author, Jane Austen, is as popular as ever. Pride and Prejudice alone has had at least four film adaptations. A search in the library database Literature Resource Center on Jane Austen yields 843 results. And now this statue of her famous hero, Mr. Darcy, has been erected in Hyde Park, London. Though of course not from Austen’s text of Pride and Prejudice, the statue’s resemblance to Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC production is uncanny.

If your interest in Austen extends beyond reading her novels you may want to pick up What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullan, professor in the English department at University College London. A work for Austen aficionados, What Matters points out the importance of age, income, sex, sisterly bonds, domestic help and many other issues some of which would have been clear to her 19th century readers but not to the readers of today. Although it may be a “truth universally acknowledged” what exactly would have been a “good fortune?” According to Mullan, it would take £500-£600 pounds per annum for a family to live comfortably (p. 199). That makes Mr. Darcy at £10,000 per annum wealthy indeed. That’s at least one puzzle solved!

What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved 342 p.

Pride and Prejudice 392 p.

Pride and Prejudice 1995 DVD

Pride and Prejudice audiobook from Overdrive

 

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