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Writing in the shadow of "Pride and Prejudice": Jo Baker's "Longbourn"

Murphy, O. (2017) Writing in the shadow of "Pride and Prejudice": Jo Baker's "Longbourn". Parole rubate-rivista Internazionale di Studi Sulla Citazione (16). pp. 155-169.

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Jo Baker’s 2013 novel Longbourn explicitly engages with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, published two centuries earlier. Longbourn’s plot neatly intersects with Austen's original, offering us a glimpse into a world which adaptations of Austen’s novels, and even Austen herself, have long been criticised for ignoring. Baker takes advantage of the freedoms of twenty-first century fiction to bring into the light aspects of Austen’s writing that Regency discretion elided, and Victorian prudery all but annihilated. Longbourn explores with sensitivity and due regard to historicity matters to which Austen could only allude; the horrors of war and military justice, complexities of sexuality that cannot be wholly contained within the sanction of marriage, the effects of the industrial revolution on the countryside and poor alike. If Pride and Prejudice, as Austen ironically opined, was “too light & bright & sparkling”, Longbourn offers us the shading that throws that sparkle into relief, thereby allowing us to view it afresh.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Univ Studi Parma
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