Two hundred years ago on January 28, 1813, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was published. Generations have read it and fallen in love with it just as Elizabeth and Darcy fell in love with each other. Here are five ways you can celebrate the anniversary of this classic story.
Read. Whether you reread Pride and Prejudice or pick up one of the countless sequels, prequels, modernizations or alternate points of view novels that abound, reading is the perfect way to celebrate this anniversary. Don't be scared of the new takes on her classic story. Whether it's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Pamela Aiden's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series, Polly Shulman's Enthusiasm or Heather Lynn Rigaud's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star I'm positive you can find something you like.
Have a movie marathon. Yes, I love the BBC mini-series and I have fond memories of watching it with my mother when it first aired in North America. Colin Firth will likely always be my favorite Mr. Darcy but I understand why some may prefer Laurence Olivier or Matthew MacFadyen. And don't forget Bride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones' Diary when you are making your movie list! If you haven't started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube, it would be an excellent time to start.
Say thank you to a soldier. Pride and Prejudice would not have been the same story without all those dashing young men in red coats. Ok, so Wickham turned out to be a complete cad but don't you have a soft spot for Colonel Fitzwilliam? Military forces around the world look much different than they did in Jane Austen's day but perhaps no one change is bigger than the fact that military service is now an option for women as well as men. I wonder what Austen would think about women serving in combat situations? A Million Thanks has sent over 5 million letters to U.S. Service Members around the world. It's quick and easy to send a note and it will brighten up a soldier's day.
Support a female creator. After reading Jon Kelly's article "Janeites: The Curious American cult of Jane Austen" author Sarah Rees Brennan felt compelled to respond. As a female author she's been judged for her appearance and her attitude, and seen her fellow female authors called whores and money-grubbing hacks. Though it's been 200 years and Jane Austen would now be able to publish under her name instead of as "a lady," women's fiction still is not highly regarded in some circles. Support a female author. I think both Austen and Elizabeth would approve.
Tell someone how much you ardently admire and love them. None of us say it enough.
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