Happy 200th Birthday, 'Pride and Prejudice'!


It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you went to an American high school, you probably had to read Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice. On Monday, the book celebrates the 200th anniversary of its publication.

If it's been a while since you picked up your tattered copy (or since you watched the nearly-six-hour-long BBC mini-series, since everyone knows that the 2005 Keira Knightley version doesn't count because it doesn't have Colin Firth jumping into a fountain), don't worry. Cartoonist Jen Sorensen has you covered.

You can read the full comic at NPR here.

Sorensen says, "It something of a creative challenge to break that complex a book down into a one page comic that still made sense. But I was happy with how it came out, and also honored to be asked to do it by NPR. Interestingly, they sliced the comic into pieces to make it readable on mobile devices. Little did Jane Austen know that exactly 200 years into the future, her novel would be translated into mobile app-friendly comic on the internet."

Sorensen is not the first cartoonist to try to make Austen's novel visually relatable for a contemporary audience. Marvel Comics did its own adaptation in 2009. And Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant has also translated Pride & Prejudice for the web generation — although her rendition is a little less detailed than Sorensen's.

"[Austen's] book was so far ahead of its time, with the real, independent-minded female character of Elizabeth — it's more advanced than most Hollywood movies today," noted Sorensen.

Small wonder, then, that Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy continue to inspire films today, including the newly released Austenland at Sundance. And, of course, my favorite, the Bollywood classic Bride and Prejudice, because what's a timeless English romance novel without the Indian M.C. Hammer?

Or, of course, without zombies.