Including one of the most famous opening lines in English literature, a compelling story of love and society complete with a host of vivid characters, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is mandatory school reading and graces bookshelves worldwide. Yet, many cannot endure Mrs. Bennet’s pursuit of eligible husbands for her five daughters or Elizabeth Bennet’s struggle to marry for love. This explains why there are so many adaptations of Austen’s most famous work, along with several lackluster films and comic book adaptations. With this adaptation, Delhi-based graphic novel publishing company, Campfire Press, has thrown its hat into the ring and met success.
What initially makes this version stand out from other adaptations is its large-format size, reminiscent of popular women’s magazines. Protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, are featured on the cover as celebrities would be. The larger format provides much needed space for many of Austen’s original lines to remain intact, while providing full opportunity for Rajesh Nagulakonda’s art to be appreciated. Nagulakonda’s attention to detail is to be commended, with devotion to the dress and fashion of the story’s historical setting in muted colors,indicative of the period.
Of course, comic adaptations of great works of literature are often judged based on their omissions—what they have left out in order fit the story into the medium—but Sach’s adaptation does not disappoint. The book focuses on the Bennet family, highlighting the marriages of three Bennet daughters, namely Jane, Elizabeth, and Lydia. The arrival of eligible bachelors, Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy, sets the pace as they court and marry Jane and Elizabeth respectively, with several supporting characters complicating the plot on the sidelines. Still, the book could have profited with a character map, as so many faces and names can confuse the reader.
This well-produced graphic novel is an apt, quick read and could prove to be popular in schools curricula.
Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice
by Jane Austen, adapted by Laurence Sach
Art by Rajesh Nagulakonda
Campfire Press, 2013