Thursday, October 2, 2008


After the first two episodes of 'Lost In Austen' were removed from YouTube, I was afraid I'd never see the concluding two episodes of the story about a 21st Century girl trapped in the fictitious world of Jane Austen's "Pride And Prejudice". (I've no idea if BBC America will ever run the series over here, since it's an ITV production. But they did bring us 'Primeval', so there's always hope....) So when episodes three and four did show up on YouTube, all other plans for the day were scuttled.

(Not a hard choice to make, considering my original plan was to scrub the living room floor.....)

Just in case the series does make it to America by more conventional means, I won't give the ending away, save to say that Amanda Price (played by the delightful Jemima Rooper) does alter the original events of the novel. In most other productions like this, everything would be sorted out by the end as the hero would "make right what once went wrong". Some situations caused by Amanda are corrected by alternate means, but two major divergences remain - one involving the fate of Charlotte Lucas and the other dealing with the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, the very heart of the novel.

Since "Pride And Prejudice" was adapted for television, its characters actually exist in Toobworld. Jane Austen thus becomes a chronicler, an historian; her book is a work of factual literature within the "reality" of the TV Universe. As I've mentioned before, Austen joins a club that includes Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King - they exist in the same world as do the characters they created in their books.

So Amanda's meddling in the story's plotline doesn't affect the actual "historical" facts of "Pride And Prejudice". It shouldn't even change any previous editions of the book. But it's likely any future printings of the novel (by Pendant? by Whitestone?) will reflect those revisions.

Or it could be that it was contingent on just this one copy of the book; that it was a magical tome under enchantment. All it needed was someone of Amanda's temperament, with such an ardor for the novel, to trigger the spell.
These characters were never the official versions of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, and the rest; they resembled how Amanda envisioned them with her imagination. So it's possible that the havoc she caused by her presence within the novel might not ever be noticed by anybody else reading the story. And considering that she tore up her own volume of the book while inside the
book, no one's likely (besides Darcy) to ever see the new version. (Of course, once the book was destroyed, shouldn't Amanda have been trapped in there forever or perhaps expelled from it, never able to return?)

This type of magic has been seen before in Toobworld, in which characters from books appeared in Toobworld and vice versa. On 'Bewitched', Jack the Giant-Killer showed up in the Stephens' household while Samantha zapped herself into the giant's castle. And on one Halloween, goblins popped out of Tabitha Stephen's storybook to go trick-or-treating in Wesport, Connecticut.

Currently there's a commercial running for Emerald Nuts in which the Swiss Family Robinson escape their book and build things on some guy when his energy level sags at 3 pm each day.......
Toby O'B

"As a child I used to zap myself into literature at the drop of a hat!"

1 comment:

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

This premise intrigues me enough to the point where I'm curious to check the series out. Sounds similar to a Britcom I'm a big fan of, Goodnight Sweetheart.