More than two centuries after readers first met them, Elizabeth and Darcy have yet to grow old. Their story has inspired erotic spinoffs, murder mysteries and a retelling from the servants’ point of view. The much-loved and mostly faithful 1995 Andrew Davies screen adaptation, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, helped birth Bridget Jones’s Diary. Then came the “Hollywood-meets-Bollywood” movie Bride and Prejudice and even a genre mashup with zombie hordes menacing Pemberley.
This last was more apt than it sounds, and not only because Andrea Leadsom briefly resurrected Jane Austen last month, the bicentenary of her death, describing her as one of “our greatest living authors”. Pride and Prejudice is the novel that simply will not die. Twenty million copies on, Mr Darcy has become so synonymous with