I studied English literature at a tertiary level, so I should be pretty well-versed in your basic university reading list.
Except that I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice.
I don’t pretend to have read it to other bookworms, but I do, however, know enough about the book to hold my own in conversation, even with someone who has read the novel.
I have seen and highly enjoyed numerous Pride and Prejudice adaptations, including but not limited to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Lost in Austen, the Kiera Knightley 2005 version and the Colin Firth version from the 90s. I’ve also probably seen loads of modern adaptations like Bridget Jones’ Diary, but it’s a very popular story to adapt so I couldn’t possibly name everything.
I think viewing these adaptations, some films and some TV shows, has left me with a pretty firm idea of the book without having to pick it up. And, as we all know, a bookworm’s time is always precious, and since I already know the story, I could spend my time consuming something new.
I know that Elizabeth has 4 sisters, not 3, including Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia (and I just had to look up Mary’s name because she’s not in every adaptation, often combined with the character of Kitty).
I know that Elizabeth is breathtakingly witty, and that’s what makes her special to the audience even though she’s not really in that valued in her own novel. Jane’s the beautiful and sweet one, Mary is socially awkward (pursuing intellectualism was laughed at back then), Kitty is a scapegoat, and Lydia is the one who runs off with an older guy (it’s important to her to ‘beat’ her sisters at marriage/sex).
I know that Jane has a close friend, Charlotte Lucas, with zero marriage prospects because of her plainness, and she ends up marrying the creepy Mr Collins, a cousin of the Bennetts that originally shows interest in marrying either Jane or Elizabeth, depending on your adaptation, and ends up doing quite well from the marriage except for, you know, being in love.
I know there is no ‘Mr Darcy swims in the lake’scene in the book but getting Darcy wet is a recurring theme in several adaptations.
And this post too, apparently.
I really enjoy watching Pride and Prejudice adaptations, but I have very little interest in reading the book. Adaptations take the best parts and leave everything out that is superfluous. I’m not saying the adaptations are necessarily better than the book (how could I? I’ve not read it, though it is possible), just that I feel fulfilled in knowing and enjoying the story without ever having read it.