This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austin’s novel, “Pride & Prejudice,” and Loyola University Chicago hosted a flash seminar on Tuesday to talk about why “Pride & Prejudice“ is still a popular novel for readers of all ages.
Seventeen people came to listen to Dr. Steven Jones, a Professor of English and Co-Director of the Center for Textual Studies and the Digital Humanities. The event was held on the first floor in Cudahy Library at the university’s Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park.
“I have been teaching “Pride & Prejudice” for over 25 years now,” Jones said.
Flash seminars are free, informal lectures that talk about issues that may be of interest to Loyola students.
“We come together to connect and learn about topics that may not be discussed in class,” said Jeannette Pierce, the Director of the Information Commons. “In the past we have spoken about issues of bullying and on past elections.”
They key word during the seminar was adaptation. Since being published in 1813, “Pride & Prejudice” has adapted well to all ages. Its text has remained unchanged but its cover art, title, or format has been changed to appeal to our society’s current readers. There are anniversary celebration editions, teen editions with similar cover art to “Twilight,” fan fiction spin-offs such as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” and movies.
“The Bollywood film version, “Bride and Prejudice,” adds a layer of hipness that was needed to attract viewers in 2009,” Jones said.
Jones also explained how “Pride & Prejudice“ is widely open to interpretation. It can be read in a satirical manner to uncover the irony and humor of the novel or in an anthropological manner to understand how Elizabeth Bennet, the primary character, survives her conditions.
Austin uses her novel to describe how crucial and painful society was for women. It is possible that this quiet combat of women during the 19th-century had been interpreted differently in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Instead of defending herself against gossip, Elizabeth defends herself against zombies.
“I came because I am very interested in the novel and was curious. I have some projects that interact with the Center for Textual Studies and the Digital Humanities and I have worked with Dr. Jones before,” said Margaret Heller, 28, a librarian at Klarchek Information Commons.