I’ve had a huge girl crush on Jane Austen for many, many years. This crush led me to take a semester-long course on her life and work. The course also included the various necessary-to-make-it count-for-credit types of literary criticism thereof. So imagine my dismay when I recently came across yet another book billed as the sequel to Pride and Prejudice. As ever, my initial reaction was: How dare you?
It’s one thing to make a movie of Pride and Prejudice, or, indeed, any of the novels; the PBS Complete Jane Austen series has sent me running back to the books to marvel at how much of the dialog was lifted directly from those pages—it still sparkles after almost 200 years. But to attempt to co-opt two of the most popular characters in English literary history? How dare you?* So yet again, I’m forced to reject a book by its cover and bet that it will not be remembered 10 years from now, much less 200.
I'm not including in this the "loosely inspired by" works such as Bridget Jones's Diary, and not only because I think I would be drawn and quartered by that work's legions of fans.