1. Cadbury celebrated the 200th anniversary by recreating scenes from the book, most importantly the one involving Mr. Darcy and his wet dress shirt.
Female First noted, “Men in wet see-through shirts holding ridiculous amounts of chocolate may just pip Mr Darcy to the post!”
2. The BBC recreated the entire Netherfield Ball.
The preparation, rehearsal, and event itself was recorded in Hampshire for a 90-minute TV special. Airing in May, it features food historians, music professors, and advice on choreography from experts in the field. It remains unclear if palpable sexual tension between strangers who allegedly loathe one another will also feature.
3. Most publications covering the bicentennial began their stories with a variation on, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that [blah blah cute joke].”
From The Daily Beast: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will be celebrated with a host of Austen-related events and shameless quoting of the literary classic.” (Oh Beast, you have no idea.)
From The Christian Science Monitor: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is universally loved, even 200 years after the publication of her most popular novel, ‘Pride and Prejudice.’”
From Condé Nast Traveler: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Britain’s impoverished aristocratic families, laid low by centuries of inheritance tax and bad dentistry, are frequently looking for ways to extract money from their grand country piles.”
From The Houston Chronicle: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sharp-witted love story about a headstrong woman and a moody man, who fall for each other despite dissimilar backgrounds, will always find an audience.”
From PopWatch: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice – first published in three volumes in January, 1813 – has left quite a mark on pop culture, far larger than Jane Austen herself could have ever envisioned.”
From (the ever-so-charmingly self-deprecating) HuffPost Books: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that this opening is probably one you’ll read a thousand times today, because it’s the 200th anniversary of the publication of one of our favorite books, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”
4. Bookstores, universities, museums, and fans around the world hosted readathons.
The one pictured took place in Bath, England (where Austen lived for years), took about twelve hours to finish, and streamed live online.
Also, the guy pictured above is a part-time actor named Ashley Green, not to be confused with Ashley Greene of Twilight fame.
Some were multi-lingual.
Linguist Dan Li Dunford read a Mandarin translation of the novel at the Bath readathon.
5. Etsy was opportunistic, as always.
Buy this Ode to Mr. Darcy ornament (intended for a “plant, wall… necklace or a keychain”) here.
6. Some people expressed their love with fan art.
“Fruitzwilliam Darcy and Bananne DeBourgh.”
You can find a free copy of Pride & Prejudice here or listen to it for free here. (If you haven’t heard of Libri Vox before, definitely check it out; it’s a site where volunteers record public domain works and anyone can access them. It’s basically how I got through college lit classes because it is much easier to knit while listening to a book than while attempting to read it.)
Here’s to the next 200 years.