In the spirit of Jane Austen Day… although let’s be real, I think every day is Jane Austen day.
The thing I liked best about today’s episode of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (which I really do love, though my love is complicated by stuff like the fact it’s much beloved and helmed by two dudes, and I have feelings of uncertainty about dudes getting huge acclaim working from the work of Jane ‘The Pen Has Been In Their Hands’ Austen, see: Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)… was not Darcy and Lizzie laughing and flirting. Though I enjoyed that very much!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has been really good about acknowledging how, in this day and age, single adult women tend to have jobs. Not just acknowledging it but incorporating it as a vital part of the plot: Mr Collins now offers Charlotte a job instead of proposing to her, and Charlotte is portrayed as right to accept it—jobs mean more choices and more chance of happiness for women.
Darcy is still in a position of power compared to Lizzie: he’s a rich CEO and she’s a student whose family has money troubles. She’s not being paid for her work, i.e. the videos she’s making to tell this updated version of Pride and Prejudice. But in this episode Darcy recognises her videos as valid creative work—when she puts them down a bit (because unpaid work isn’t meant to be valuable, ladies are meant to be modest about what they do), he’s like: no, they are amazing, let me discuss why, let’s discuss how valuable it is to have work you both love and are good at, giving the world something useful and enjoyable and gaining personal satisfaction from that. He admires and does not dismiss her passion: he loves her more for it.
Part of the enduring appeal of Pride and Prejudice is that Darcy loves Elizabeth, not just because she’s pretty (he’s initially not that impressed) but because she’s smart and funny and who she is ends up making her infinitely appealing to him.
Pride and Prejudice quote from Darcy, when reminded he once thought Elizabeth wasn’t all that: ‘That was when I first knew her; for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.’
A modern Darcy gets to say ‘What you do is great’ as well as ‘who you are is great.’
Aw, thank you! I’m really glad you like my books (I do too ;)) and my yammering about all the stuff I like as well.
I started out My Internet Life because I wanted someone to talk with me in-depth, excessively, to an unreasonable and multi-hour degree, about two things: L.J. Smith and Harry Potter.
And so I still believe that is what the internet is for: being enthusiastic about the things you’re into.
Fannish enthusiasm is why remakes happen: enduring love for and engagement with books Jane Austen wrote two hundred years ago is why the Basically Perfect 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice was made, why Clueless was made, why the Lizzie Bennet Diaries are currently ongoing.
Because the best humans get excited about creativity! Every writer I know is a nerd: I don’t think you can get excited about creating your own until you have loved other creations, and most creators are likewise powered by either the thought of or the reality of response from those who love their creations. It’s a shining loop.
Art is just stuff until someone looks at it and the love in them reaches out to the love with which the art was made. There’s an instinctive sympathy, between certain art and certain people, and it is like two hands reaching out to hold each other across time and space.
Love brings what was dust to life: what survives of us is love.
On the I’m-not-admitting-which-round-of-rewatching for today’s Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I noticed that there’s a little catch in Darcy’s voice, right when he says “The hills in this city are quite unforgiving.” And he thinks for a moment before he delivers the line, steeling himself for it.
That’s because he knows, when he says it, that repeating that line is saying something else to Lizzie—something that he just doesn’t have the guts to come right out and say.
(Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the Pemberley meeting)
Oh, THAT’s why he delivered that line all seductively!
That’s why Courtney is the romancier, she notices such things.
And how nice is that? That this is a dude’s idea of wooing a lady: hello, I have been paying attention to what you say, very careful attention, and I can use your own words in an appropriate context to let you know a) I’d genuinely like to help you out and am not just being polite b) I really like listening to you and remembering what you say because you say great things c) super into you btdubs.
I mean, that’s one of the truly awesome rarely-reproduced-in-similar-fiction things of the original Pride and Prejudice: that Darcy changes, not just for her, but because he listened to what she said and found it an eminently reasonable thing to say. He changed because upon reflection of her words he felt it was the right thing to do and not just to get the girl. When he sees the girl again he tries to show her not only that he changed but that he listened, and did so not to get with her romantically but because her opinion mattered and her words counted with him.
Translation: Hey girl your ready wit’s even finer than your eyes. Always an excellent thing to convey, Darcy.