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Thoroughly Modern Lizzie

February 28, 2013

I love a good romance.  I love when it is filled with humour, love and strong relationships, not only between the hero and heroine, but with the friends and family that surround them. I especially love the way it gives me that jolt in my tummy and a catch in my throat. And this past February I have felt that jolt in a way I haven’t felt for a long time. For at the beginning of this February I discovered The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern, youtube adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Lizzie Bennet is a post-grad student and she has a vlog. She talks to the camera, she looks you in the eye and tells you about the people that are in her life, she shares with you stories of her “mundane life”.

You meet her sisters, Jane and Lydia, her friend Charlotte Lu, her new rich neighbours Bing Lee, his sister Caroline, the charming George Wickam and after a long wait William Darcy.

Many characters stay out of the vlog and you meet them through Lizzie and her sisters playing dress ups – costume theatre – touching at the hearts of all siblings who have spent hours dressing in their parents clothes. Lizzie impersonates everyone that enters her life and embellishing their words, turning everyone into a caricature, using hyperbole to make a point. Though you know that hundreds and thousands other viewers have watched her too, you feel this personal affinity, you feel that she is only talking to you, that the two of you are sharing a joke.

Most months, I will read up to fifteen books. This past month I have read one – Pride and Prejudice. For The Lizzie Bennet Diaries had me diving for my copy of a book I have always enjoyed, so that I can follow the story parallels.This does not mean I haven’t been reading. My reading has exploded for this is not linear narrative. My reading is more complex than that. It now crosses platforms for this is transmedia fiction and most of the reading is paratextual.

The diaries are not only viewed through Youtube. The story crosses several social media platforms. Characters talk amongst themselves over on Twitter, they use Tumblr, Pinterest and This is My Jam, you can follow the cast and the writers on Twitter, you can join in on fandom sites at Google+ Hangouts, Facebook or you can take part in a Questions and Answers session with the writers over at Reddit.com. To add to this, there are many fansites creating memes, art and craft and fanfiction all inspired by this much loved, retold story.

It is fitting that on the last day of Heartreads, a tweet came through from the head writer Bernie Su stating that it was the last day of filming.

Getting ready to shoot the final episode of @thelbdofficial. #Feelings.

— Bernie Su (@BernieSu) February 28, 2013

Though there is at least a month’s worth of episodes to be aired there is a tinge of happy sadness in me. The happiness being that I know how this story ends but the sadness is that a story that has been retold in a thoroughly modern medium and that has engaged me in an enthralling way will soon come to an end.

Vassiliki

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