A tale not quite as old as time

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

– Phillip Pulman

Welcome to Papercircuitry, the place where I will be discussing how the consumption of fiction has changed with the development of technology and how classic stories are being reinvented for the Web.

But before we get into that, a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then let us begin…

A long time ago, a young girl was given a set of Jane Austen novels for her birthday. Oh how beautiful they were! The self-professed bookworm could not wait to delve into their pages and explore the world of Pride and Prejudice.

She could not get passed the first chapter.

Honestly, the girl tried her hardest, but the strange, old-fashioned writing was like a brick wall. An incredibly fascinating brick wall with fabulously decorative and intricately patterned wallpaper, but a brick wall nonetheless. She wanted so desperately to be the bookworm she claimed to be but, alas, Pride and Prejudice defeated her. 

Fast-forward a couple of years to the first time she saw the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. The music, the dancing and the amazing characters captivated the girl, even though she was utterly perplexed by Mr Darcy’s sideburns. 


[Fig. 1: Matthew MacFayden in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie]
Never fear, the girl eventually learned to appreciate the sideburns

The next time the girl went back to read Pride and Prejudice, she read it the whole way through and adored every second. She loved the story so much that she consumed every adaptation she could get her hands on: in depth period BBC TV mini-series, modern chick lit novels, Bollywood musicals and eventually a video blog style web series. Each new format and re-telling of the classic tale made the girl love the original story even more until it grew to become one of her favourite stories of all time.


That little girl was me by the way. Hello!

There is a point to this tale, other than me expressing my love for Pride and Prejudice. Although that is a very significant part of it…

My experience with Pride and Prejudice opened me up to a whole new world, especially when I was introduced to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the Pride and Prejudice video diary web series created by Pemberley Digital. It took its storytelling a step further by telling the story across a variety of interactive digital platforms. It was Pride and Prejudice as it had never been experienced before!

lbd ep1 screencap2

[Fig. 2: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries “My Name is Lizzie Bennet – Ep 1”]
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries took an… unorthodox approach to its storytelling

Many other content creators, professional and amateur alike, have adopted this transmedia approach to storytelling, creating their own versions of stories including Jane Eyre, Peter Pan and Frankenstein.

I find the ways these classic stories are being reinvented online incredibly interesting and I think it’s worthy of discussion, so that’s what I’m going to be writing about in the coming months.

Stay tuned for more super exciting literary things, which I promise will be more than just talk of Mr Darcy’s sideburns.


PS: Check out some of the amazing web series I mentioned below!


2 thoughts on “A tale not quite as old as time

    • Thanks! It really is an amazing series. I love the fact you can still analyse it like literature and compare it to the original text, but then you’ll have a slightly strange video of a 24-year-old American grad student dressing up in crazy clothes imitating her mother and generally acting like a weirdo in her bedroom with a video camera haha.


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