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CLSC Announcement: Pride and Prejudice
The Department of Education has announced Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Six of the 2023 Summer Assembly Season: “A Life of Literature.”
As we consider the life of literature, we look to the classic Pride and Prejudice and its persistent relevance. Actor and playwright Kate Hamill — who wrote a stage adaption of the novel that will be produced by Chautauqua Theater Company this summer — will present Austen’s work for the CLSC and discuss Pride and Prejudice’s influence on her as a writer and an actor.
Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, often appearing near the top of countless lists of “most-loved books.” Since its publication in 1813 it has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Likewise, it has paved the way for archetypes that abound in many contemporary literary works of our time. Modern interest in the book has resulted in several dramatic adaptations, including Hamill’s.
Set in England at the turn of the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice is the story of the Bennet family — Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and their five unmarried daughters — whose lives in the Hertfordshire countryside are changed with the arrival of two new neighbors. The rich and eligible Mr. Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, while his status-conscious friend — the even more rich and eligible Mr. Darcy — is disdainful of local society and repeatedly clashes with the Bennets' lively second daughter, Elizabeth.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English novelist whose penchant for witty social commentary, celebrated romantic plots, and feminine perspective make her one of the most celebrated authors in British literature. Her novels deal primarily with the social lives of English landed gentry, especially the expectations of and about women, and the necessity of securing a good marriage. Although Austen herself never married, novels like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma are considered classics of the early 19th-century romantic genre and are still widely read today.
Kate Hamill is an American actor and playwright. As playwright, she is known for her innovative, contemporary adaptations of classic novels for the stage, including Sense and Sensibility (in which she originated the role of Marianne) and Pride and Prejudice (in which she originated the role of Lizzy Bennet). CTC’s production of Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice runs July 22-30, 2023, in Bratton Theater.