I Do: Historicizing Marriage and Courtship in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816) and Their Screen Adaptations
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Since the early nineteenth century, Jane Austen’s novels have captivated readers with their comedic interludes, (some) heart-melting marriage plots, and romantic drama. Published over 200 years ago, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816) have been adapted to the screen 31 and 15 times, respectively. I point to these novels specifically as they have risen to prominence in pop culture and are Austen’s most frequently cinematically adapted novels. Pride and Prejudice and Emma reflect and interrogate social evolution in courtship and marriage both in print and in contemporary filmic rendition. Therefore, the question arises: how much has courtship and marriage really changed from Austen’s Regency?
Pride and Prejudice and Emma challenge Regency courtship and marriage conventions, and their defiance of and acquiescence to cultural romantic standards have translated across decades of adaptations. Different modes and cultures inform each adaptation from post-colonial revisions to queer renditions to feminist assertions. Whether faithful to the novel or not, each adaptation addresses courtship and marriage differently based on their contemporary society’s values and the film’s aims of production.
Little, Olivia, "I Do: Historicizing Marriage and Courtship in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816) and Their Screen Adaptations" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1963.
On-Campus Access Only