Saturday, 11 January 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley

      Death Comes to Pemberley is the most recent adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, to make headlines in both the literary world through P.D. James' novel and on the small screen through the BBC's adaptation of James' novel. As a rule books are better than movies or in this case television, however Death Comes to Pemberley is most certainly an exception to that rule.

      As a lover of literature I have read and revere Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for its literary merit as a novel with beautifully written prose, extensive character development and dry wit. When compared against Pride and Prejudice, James' novel simply falls short. She alters Mr. Darcy, one of the pivotal characters so completely that there is little trace of his stoic, subdued reserve. I could understand a minor modification of Darcy's character as all adaptations inevitably alter characters, however James' transformation of Mr. Darcy is not believable. If you've read Pride and Prejudice or are familiar with the characters you'll find that this new Mr. Darcy carries more traits of Bingley then of himself. Aside from the unbelievable transformations inflicted upon Mr. Darcy the novel also moved too slowly for me and to be clear, it wasn't slow in the way that classics are with their in depth descriptive details its was slow in the, "Could somebody else be murdered now? I'm getting a bit bored here"way.

The cast for the BBC mini series
From left to right: Wickham (Matthew Goode), Mr. Darcy (Matthew Rhys),
Elizabeth Bennet (Anna Maxwell Martin) & Lydia Wickham (Jenna Coleman)

     Though the mini series adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley also began with an unbelievable characterization of Mr. Darcy, he did regain some of his stoic and reserved nature as the show advanced making his character more believable. The miniseries' plot also corrected the novel's slow and forgive me, boring, progression of events, by rearranging their order into a more captivating order. Though the novel, Death Comes to Pemberley didn't live up to my expectations, the miniseries is worth a watch if, for nothing else, to see the finery of the colonial period. 

A brief synopsis of Death Comes to Pemberley's plot 
To read a different view of the work visit these blogs: My Jane Austen Book Club & London Calling

Now I'm curious have any of you read or seen the recent adaptation Death Comes to Pemberley? What are your thoughts on Austen and/or the adaptation?

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