A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 15, 2010}   Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler

Though I mostly review novels on this site, I am a huge fan of manga and comics. I devour them. Another great love of mine is Jane Austen; her wit and and skill have rarely been matched even to this day. Pride and Prejudice is a particular favorite of mine. So when I learned that Marvel made a comic adaptation of Austen’s famous work, I had to read it.

Plot: Elizabeth Bennet is the second of five daughters, an intelligent, fiery and witty girl. Her mother has no goal in life but to see her daughters married well but with no money or connections, this will not prove easy. When a rich young bachelor, a Mr. Bingley, moves into town, Mrs. Bennet immediately sets her sights on him. The eldest daughter Jane, beautiful, kind and good-natured, catches his interest. His friend Darcy has a less favorable opinion of the Bennets and his pride leaves an equally bad impression on the community. He and Elizabeth soon at odds but could she have misjudged him?

It’s hard to do Austen’s work justice, especially in five comic issues but this is a valiant effort. The art is beautiful, delicate and suits the work. I also love the women’s magazine style in which the covers were done; they are quite clever and funny. Nancy Butler, in her adaptation, has stuck closely to Austen’s brilliant dialogue and cannot be faulted in that respect. The  story seems a bit rushed and some of the explanations insufficient for someone who doesn’t already know the story. But on the whole Butler is very familiar with both Austen and her time period and captures the most important scenes of the novel. Though this is no replacement for the novel, in my mind, it is a wonderful complement to it.

Some other notable titles in the Marvel Illustrated series: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


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