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My review of the new annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks, has just been published in the October issue of Open Letters Monthly:

More than any of Jane Austen’s other novels, Pride and Prejudice seems to lend itself to continual reinterpretation. The story of Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection and later acceptance of handsome, proud Mr. Darcy has inspired countless sequels, plays, musicals, modern-day rewritings (including Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary), film adaptations (including Bollywood and Mormon versions as well as the Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson and Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen films and the television series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), YouTube variations (Pride and Prejudice “Harry Potter Style,” for example, or “Gilmore Girls Style”), mashups (such as the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith), and even meta-fictional refutations of mashup versions (Margaret C. Sullivan’s hilarious series on “The League of Austen’s Extraordinary Gentlemen”). The novel has also inspired thousands of essays that begin with a variation on Austen’s famous first sentence, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”—or with a list, such as the one I just wrote (or the one in Rohan Maitzen’s recent review of Clare Harman’s book Jane’s Fame), of adaptations, revisions, and mashups. Is Pride and Prejudice a fantasy that can mean whatever its readers and re-interpreters want it to mean? (Read more here.)