On January 28th 1813, one of the most popular novels in English literature was published. To date Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies, and continues to spawn a dizzying array of spinoffs, knockoffs, mashups, and merchandise.
Below are eight ways to celebrate the publication of Pride and Prejudice, its twenty-year-old heroine, and the genius of her creator, who was just twenty-one when she penned the first draft, entitled “First Impressions.”
Liberate Your Inner Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bennet, the feisty, independent heroine of Pride and Prejudice, is a keen observer of the oddities of human nature.
“Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can,” she famously remarked.
Adopt Elizabeth’s light-hearted take on your friend’s and family’s annoying whims and inconsistencies. After all, you don’t have any.
Don’t Settle for a Guy Who’s Just Not Into You
After her frosty dismissal of Mr. Darcy’s initial marriage proposal, Elizabeth recognizes that he is “exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her.” But is her realization too late?
“If he is satisfied with only regretting me, when he might have obtained my affections and hand, I shall soon cease to regret him at all,” she counsels herself.
If Darcy is serious about Elizabeth, he would be advised to add some stunning special effects to his Instagram DM.
Treat Yourself to a Pride and Prejudice Movie Night
Take your pick! My favorite film adaptation is the BBC 1995 TV Mini Series starring Colin Firth as the sexiest movie Mr. Darcy (and no, in the novel he didn’t actually strip and dive into a pond).
My grandmother’s favorite is the 1940’s Hollywood version with Lawrence Oliver as Darcy, although it looks like they raided the 1939 Gone with the Wind costume trunk for that one.
Indulge in a Glass of Wine While Reading or Watching Pride and Prejudice
Austen heroines frequently enjoy wine with dinner or over a book. Jane herself was fond of a glass – or two.
“I believe I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to-day,” she wrote to her sister, Cassandra, in 1800.
Say the Thing You Mean to Say at the Moment you Mean to Say It and Live with the Consequences
“I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows” – Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail (a Pride and Prejudice spin-off).
“From the very beginning—from the first moment, I may almost say—of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others . . . ”
Elizabeth ultimately comes to regret her zinger. Still, you never know; it might come in handy during a breakup.
Read Jane Austen’s Letters
Jane Austen was not all about tea and small talk as some (who likely never read her) assert. Her letters, as well as her novels, brim with biting wit and a wicked sense of humor.
“Mrs. Hall, of Sherborne, was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright. I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband,” she wrote Cassandra.
Enjoy the Book in a Different Format
If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice on Kindle or in a paper edition, try listening to an audio recording. But, beware of dozing off to an audio version–Mrs. Bennet’s tends to squeak!
Give the Gift of Jane
Tee-shirts, teapots, mugs, movies – the sky is the limit and your Austen-loving friend will appreciate your thoughtfulness! Or your mom, if she’s a Janeite, although the “temporary” Austen tattoo my daughter plastered on my arm months ago still hasn’t washed off. Not that I mind.
After all, Jane is forever.