Samit Basu: On Pride and Prejudice

One tends to think of Pride and Prejudice fans as being female, but there are plenty of male fans out there too (C.S. Lewis, Martin Amis, Rudyard Kipling …). We asked a younger and Indian male fan what makes Pride and Prejudice immortal for him.

Samit Basu is the author of several novels and graphic novels. His most recent book is Turbulence.

Pride and Prejudice is one of those books that you just know will be around even when all its contemporaries have faded. It’s responsible for so much present-day culture: all those drawing-room romantic dramas and sitcoms, all those films and TV shows. Even it’s adaptations have adaptations: everything from Bridget Jones to, well, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, books that draw lovingly from Pride and Prejudice and then get turned into films and shows in their own right. Teen vampire books. Graphic novels. Murder mysteries. Bollywood’s done it. Doordarshan’s done it. But what is it about old P and P that makes it immortal?

That’s a big question to answer, but my guess is that it can be summed up in one work: family. There’s something in the Bennett family that everyone can identify with – the embarrassment, the love, the pulling together through harsh times, the betrayals small and large. And then there’s that timeless couple, Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the ultimate rom-com pair. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t sighed over Darcy at some point: every dour, sullen man who finds himself, inexplicably, with a gorgeous wife should offer Darcy a prayer of thanks.

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