On the Bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice

Today we join up with Alyssa Goodnight for the Pride and Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party Blog Hop


To Miss Jane Austen,

Though we are not acquainted personally as I lack any formal connection to introduce me or a means of traversing the time-space continuum, I felt compelled to write to you and hope you forgive my presumption and accept my complete admiration of your work. 

I have enjoyed the characters you created, following them through their navigation of social circles and expectations that are very different from the ones I experience as an American woman in the twenty first century. And yet there is something so timeless about their relationships and personalities that even I can sympathize and identify with.

Sometimes I dream of trading places with Elizabeth for a chance to walk in her shoes, or maybe I’d just like to be an added character able to talk with her and the others. I don’t have any delusions that their world is idyllic as so many conflicts arise–and there is that whole matter of no indoor plumbing for hot showers and things ladies ought not speak of–but still it would be nice to share their society for a time, to see them as they were pictured in your mind.

Perhaps that is my greatest curiosity of all, to see the characters and places as they were pictured in your mind as you wrote. Having read some of your letters (do forgive the intrusion), I wish I could see the paintings that reminded you of your characters. Are they anything like the iconic images of Colin Firth as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth? Was Jane like Susannah Harker or Morven Christie? Do the films and adaptations give life to your visions or do they miss too much of your ideals? 

What would you say to the fact that 200 years have passed since the publication of First Impressions, which has become so well known as Pride and Prejudice, that still draws attention and admiration? Would you approve of the devoted following? Would we as Janeites scare you? (I imagine if you knew about restraining orders you might need to have a few.)

It is with sincerest admiration for your writing skill and talent in developing such wonderfully complex and sympathetic characters that I congratulate you on the 200th anniversary of one of your most adored publications. I pray that you are not rolling in your grave at our continued esteem of it, and what our love has twisted it into with its many hydra-headed spin-offs, adaptations, variations, and mash-ups.

One of your adoring admirers,



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