So I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time a couple of months ago. I don’t know how I have gone 25 years without reading a single Austen novel but there you go. Obviously it is a great book and there is no reason to put off reading it. It’s clever, witty and romantic with a female lead that you can admire and plenty of characters to happily despise. But I was struck when reading it at how much it had influenced Bridget Jones’s Diary.
I had always known that Helen Fielding had openly said the Pride & Prejudice was the influence behind Bridget Jones’s Diary and the fun casting with Colin Firth being hired to play a modern Mr Darcy. But it wasn’t until I read both novels that I realised that Bridget Jones’s Diary is more of a re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice
Below are all the similarities I can find:
- The male romantic lead is Darcy – both reserved English gentlemen, pretty wealthy, with high morals and a habit of rescuing people
- Bridget and Elizabeth are both single women facing pressures from society to couple up.
- Two painfully embarrassing mothers who cause trouble for their daughters rather than helping them
- Two reserved fathers who are pretty incapable of influencing their wives.
- In both books the female lead has a family member who takes off with a romantic scoundrel – In Pride and Prejudice it’s Lydia and Wickham, In Bridget Jones it’s Bridget’s mum and Julian
- Both family members are rescued by the hard work and secret action of Darcy. In both books Darcy’s help is only revealed towards the end of the story.
- Bridget and Elizabeth are both temporarily charmed by a handsome womanizer who tells a deceptive tale of betrayal from Darcy to ruin his reputation in their eyes.
- In both books it turns out that it was actually Darcy who was wronged by the charming womanizer and not the other way around
- Darcy initially proclaims his affection to the female lead but at the same time lists all of her faults resulting in confusion.
- But by the final pages all misunderstandings are cleared up, the scoundrels are exposed, the foolish relatives are rescued and the female lead and Darcy get together and lock lips!