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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

How P&P came to be

It’s a great time for programming at Jane Austen’s House, the cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, where Austen wrote or revised all six of her completed novels: For the next ten months, you can precede your Austen-accompanied garden stroll with a walk through a new exhibit of rare and fascinating Pride and Prejudice materials.

The exhibit, “The Making of Pride and Prejudice,” examines the roots, reception, and legacy of the novel, using a wealth of items: miniature portraits of Austen acquaintances who may (or, in my view, may not) have inspired the characters; rare copies of the novel, including the 1813 first edition owned by Austen’s brother Edward, the 1832 first American edition, and the beautifully illustrated 1894 “Peacock edition"; and a delightful three-minute video surveying the BBC’s six TV adaptations, aired between 1938 and 1995. (From the opening bars of its musical accompaniment, the video leaves little doubt about which of these adaptations is the iconic one.)

The P&P exhibit runs through next March, but if you won’t get to Chawton by then, you can sample the offerings online. Or just watch the 1995 BBC version one more time. Up to you.


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May 25, 2023

Thanks for this post. I've enjoyed looking through the various JA's House offerings, especially the video of BBC versions. (The first one actually looks as if it had a few things going for it. But Peter Cushing is a highly improbable Mr. Darcy--and I've seen enough of the 1967 version to know that it ain't so great either.)

And stop me if I've told this story before, but I saw the Radio Times cover with Ehle and Firth in a Notting Hill Gate newsagent's the day after I arrived in London for a September 1995 visit. I had no idea that this version was about to be shown, and I let out a whoop that was probably heard in Hammersmith.

Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
May 25, 2023
Replying to

It's really a shame that more of those early BBC adaptations of JA novels aren't available any more -- although, as you say, they may well not have been much good. And love the story about your discovery of the '95 P&P!

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