World's Oldest Fledgling

The blog of Stephanie Wardrop, Y A Author

An (Im)modest Proposal

on October 8, 2013

It’s Teaser Tuesday again, and PRIDE AND PREP SCHOOL comes out in a few days (or weeks?)!Image In trying to decide what to tease you with, plot-wise, before the installment is out, I kept thinking about the first proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice, the one that Mr. Darcy bungles so badly, and how difficult it was recreating a version of that in PRIDE AND PREP SCHOOL. Here’s the scene from the 1995 BBC version:

Even before he speaks, you can tell it’s not going to end well. They’re so tense and miserable, and then, of course, he is so arrogant in his admission that despite her being unworthy he still likes her. It’s cringe-worthy viewing for sure.

And it’s a great adaptation of the original, which appears thus:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority–of its being a degradation–of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit. 

In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to compose herself to answer him with patience, when he should have done. He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther, and, when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said…

I have to confess that no matter how many times I’ve read the book, it’s actually the dialogue from the BBC version that sticks with me, and I think that’s because in addition to having the lovely visuals to help my memory, the BBC writers just nailed it in terms of the tension between desire and a sense of duty and privilege for Darcy in wanting something you fear you shouldn’t want, and for Elizabeth, the horror of being simultaneously “esteemed” and insulted.

I try to capture that in a scene in P&PS, which I place in Georgia’s kitchen, where many of the most important scenes occur between Georgia and Michael, and where their differences are so pronounced through something as fundamental as what they eat (Georgia’s a pretty hardcore vegan; Michael thinks that’s just nonsense and will never give up lobster). I can only hope I did the scene justice.

For a great comparison of the “First Proposal Scene” in Pride and Prejudice adaptations, see MyPrideAndPrejudice.com. And please check out PRIDE AND PREP SCHOOL, the third installment in the SNARK AND CIRCUMSTANCE e-novella series.

Which version of P&P is YOUR favorite? As you can probably tell, I’m a 1995 BBC fan myself.

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2 responses to “An (Im)modest Proposal

  1. Madelyn says:

    Hi Stephanie. I have been following your books and enjoy this retelling of the wonderful “Pride and Prejudice”. I was wondering when the last installment was coming out? Thanks

  2. Madelyn says:

    Thanks for your quick response. I was actually wondering about the 4th and final installment?

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