Pride and Prejudice (fandom)

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Fandom
Name: Pride and Prejudice
Abbreviation(s): P&P
Creator: Jane Austen
Date(s): 1813 (adaptations: 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, & many more)
Medium: novel, television, film
Country of Origin: England
External Links: Wikipedia
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Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. It has a flourishing lit fandom which dwarfs that of the other Austen novels – P&P fanfiction comprises at least 90% of all Austen fanfiction – fuelled by numerous popular adaptations and reworkings.

Canon

The original Rich but Proud Boy snubs Poor but Lively Girl only to fall in love with her fine eyes her, Prejudiced Girl snubs Worst Proposal Ever Boy only to fall in love with his estate him story – Fitzwilliam Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet's tempestuous relationship is the model for a whole genre of romance. The novel also has a plethora of much-loved secondary characters, from most-accommodating friend ever Charles Bingley to perfect doormat of a sister Jane Bennet, from charming bad boy George Wickham to catty social climber Caroline Bingley, from sensible Charlotte Lucas to irrepressible Lydia Bennet, from dragon of an aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh to Mrs Bennet, mother guaranteed to say the most inappropriate thing on all occasions, and many more...

Adaptations & Reworkings

P&P has been adapted frequently. A handful of the better-known versions include:

  • 1936 stage version with Celia Johnson & Hugh Williams
  • 1940 film with Greer Garson & Laurence Olivier (P&P0)
  • 1980 BBC television miniseries with Elizabeth Garvie & David Rintoul (P&P1)
  • 1995 BBC television miniseries with Jennifer Ehle & Colin Firth (P&P2)
  • Bridget Jones's Diary novel by Helen Fielding (1996). Modern reworking; adapted as a 2001 film with Firth in the Darcy role & Hugh Grant as the Wickham character
  • Bride and Prejudice Bollywood film (2004). Modern reworking
  • 2005 film with Keira Knightley & Matthew Macfadyen (P&P3)
  • Lost in Austen television miniseries (2008). Reworking in which a modern OFC enters Regency P&P
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries webseries (2012–13). Modern reworking

The 1995 version, especially the infamous "wet shirt" scene, sparked a huge increase in interest in P&P, with Firth becoming an iconic Darcy for many (though not all). It remains popular with fans and is generally considered fairly faithful to the novel. There has also been substantial fannish interest in the 2005 film, a somewhat less faithful adaptation. Bridget Jones's Diary & Lost in Austen each had minor fannish followings, while the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is highly popular as of February 2014.

Fannish Opinions

On the popularity of the fandom; written in 2004, before the film with Macfadyen as Darcy:

So, why is there such a collection of fan fiction on the internet today that is based on a book by Jane Austen? The answer is simple. In 1995, the BBC aired its famous production of Pride and Prejudice.

They cast Colin Firth as the brooding, smouldering, and sexy Mr. Darcy. They took a little poetic liscense and added a scene where he dives into a pond. Immediately after, he happens upon Elizabet Bennet again for the first time in months and his shirt is wet. She gets flustered at the sight of him (I would say she got wet at the sight of him, but that's just crass! ;) ), as did fangirls around the world, and the rest, as they say is history.

Poor Colin Firth has since been elevated to pop icon status. He can't seem to escape Mr. Darcy and, according to recent interviews (as well as his willingness to play Mark Darcy, an homage to the original Mr. Darcy, in not one, but two Bridget Jones' Diary movies), it looks like he's actually stopped trying.

I'd say that it is resonable to assume that most of the P&P fic out there was largely inspired by this BBC production, commonly referred to as P&P2. (imacartwright)[1]

Fandom

Pride & Prejudice is many people's favourite Austen novel and it gets the lion's share of activity across the Austen fandom; see the general article for details.

Fanon

The names for various characters have been fixed in fanon as Madeleine Gardiner, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam (occasionally Andrew) and the Earl of Matlock. Darcy's forename (canonically Fitzwilliam) is often rendered William or even Wills, presumably to distinguish him from Colonel Fitzwilliam; Bingley often calls him Darce. Old Mr Darcy is usually George.

Fanfiction

Fanfiction is a major fannish activity with in the region of 5,000 works online, the earliest dating from 1996. (The earliest recorded P&P fanfiction dates from 1813; see Austen fandom for details on the fandom's history.) As the novel is long out of copyright, there is more crossover between the many professional sequels and amateur fanfiction than in most fandoms; some fan authors have subsequently published their works professionally (and often purged them from the web), and many reviewers make little differentiation between fan & pro works.

Fanfiction broadly divides into works set in the Regency era, sometimes called "Regencies", and modern AUs, sometimes called "moderns" (the term "modern AU" is not in general use in Austen fandom). There is a higher proportion of modern AUs than for other Austen novels. The older Austen archives either exclude modern AUs altogether (Bits of Ivory) or archive them separately (Derbyshire Writers' Guild). Regency-era stories fall mainly into futurefic, called "sequels", and fork-in-the-road AUs, called "what ifs". Crossovers with other Austen novels are fairly common.

By far the most popular pairing is Elizabeth/Darcy; fanfiction depicting contradicting pairings is rare and often considered to Fuck With Canon or to be automatically out of character. In consequence, almost all fanfiction is gen or het.

Regency AUs

Fork-in-the-road AUs, sometimes called "variations" in P&P fandom, are one of the major types of fanfiction. The point of divergence can be pre-canon or during canon, and can be as trivial as Georgiana accompanying Darcy to Rosings, or as major as Darcy being disabled or having a child. Usually the AU results in Elizabeth & Darcy getting together faster, but some slow the romance down or, very rarely, derail it altogether.

"Swapped at Birth" AU

Genderswap

A variation on the "swapped at birth" AU that's become more and more popular over time is the genderswap.

Different Darcy

There are a number of stories that change Darcy's character radically, for example by making him disabled or have unusual perceptions, or by giving him a child from a previous marriage.

Fork Just Before/During Canon

AUs that diverge during canon events or immediately beforehand are probably the most common type of Regency-era AU. Almost every conceivable divergence point has been written at least once, but some come up many times, particularly Darcy's proposal at Hunsford, Elizabeth & Darcy's first meeting at the Meryton assembly, and Bingley encountering Jane in London. Commonly novel-length retellings of the novel's subsequent events, which often reuse lots of Austen's original words verbatim in the altered context of the AU situation.

Forced or Arranged Marriages

A hugely popular subgenre. Either Mr Bennet's premature death leads to an arranged marriage for economic motives or some observed indiscretion leads to forced marriage to escape disgrace.

Crossover AUs

Crossovers with non-Austen fandoms are relatively rare (except of the pastiche-type fusion where characters from other canons enact the P&P plot).

Gapfillers

Gapfillers (sometimes called "interstitials" in Austen fandom) are relatively rare in this fandom; they mostly expand on Elizabeth and Darcy between their engagement and their marriage, with the couple's first kiss being a common topic. Another common type of gapfiller gives Darcy's view of canon events.

Elizabeth/Darcy Sequels

Sequels that focus on Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage are one of the most common types of fanfiction; "sequel" is sometimes used to refer to all Regency-era fanfiction. These vary from Austen-like essentially gen to steamy explicit. Sequels dealing with the other canonical marriages (Jane/Bingley, Charlotte/Collins, Lydia/Wickham) do exist but are much rarer.

Non-Canonical Pairings

Het

Stories that break up Elizabeth & Darcy are very rare but not entirely unheard of. The most common het partners for Darcy are Anne de Bourgh followed by Caroline Bingley, though there are a few well-known stories that pair him with Jane or Kitty Bennet. Elizabeth gets more of a choice of men, including Colonel Fitzwilliam, George Wickham, William Collins & Charles Bingley.

The other canon marriages are not so sacrosanct; fans of Jane/Bingley sometimes complain that disrupting this pairing doesn't always merit a warning. Jane is most often paired with Colonel Fitzwilliam or Mr Collins, while Bingley occasionally ends up with Georgiana or Elizabeth. In addition to Jane or Elizabeth, Mr Collins sometimes ends up with Mary or even Lydia.

Slash

Slash of the m/m variety is very rare in this fandom. The most popular pairings among the handful of m/m stories are probably Darcy/Bingley followed by Darcy/Wickham, but there's also at least one each of Darcy/Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy/genderswitched-Elizabeth, and even Darcy/Collins. Femslash is likewise sparse (though proportionately to fandom as a whole, not quite so rare) with the most commonly written pairings probably being Elizabeth/Charlotte & Anne/Mary.

A little P&P slash used to be archived at Slash Cotillion but was lost when the archive went offline in 2008; Archive of Our Own and the Austen Slash & Rarelitslash livejournal communities each have a few stories.

Secondary Characters

While dwarfed by the popularity of the Elizabeth/Darcy pairing, the many secondary & minor characters of the novel are explored in numerous stories. Characters that are particularly often written include Caroline Bingley, Georgiana Darcy, Anne de Bourgh, Colonel Fitzwilliam and Charlotte Lucas.

Modern AUs

Modern AUs are one of the most common forms of P&P fanfiction. The popular professional example, Bridget Jones's Diary (1996), may well have increased their prevalence.

Recs

Resources

References

  1. crack_van: Pride and Prejudice: An Overview (accessed 6 February 2014)