The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride and Prejudice Meets the Present

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This is the line that begins the timeless Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Most literary critics would think of this line as a reflection (or a satire) upon relational values of Jane Austen’s time and place in history, but to the average reader, it sets the premise of the love story it is today known to be. However you read Jane Austen, this year celebrates two hundred years of existence for Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps it’s a truth universally acknowledged now that a lot has changed in society since Austen wrote it. Being so far removed from Austen’s time in this day and age certainly puts a damper on fully understanding this beloved classic, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brings it all to the twenty-first century.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries portrays the Austen classic in a very contemporary way, and still remains true to the tale. It is a one hundred episode blog series on Youtube that is hosted by the headstrong, independent Lizzie Bennet. In each short episode she unfolds a dramatic scene from Pride and Prejudice with her intelligent best friend, Charlotte Wu; her perfect sister, Jane; their wild-child sister, Lydia; their restless, southern-bell mother and aloof father; the rich and sweet Dr. Bing Li, and many other characters from the novel. Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen, or you’re trying to understand what’s going on in Pride and Prejudice, it is fun, enjoyable, and easy for anyone to follow. The modern aspect is a big help in understanding the plot and dated references.

Though rich, single men may not always be seeking marriage these days; nor might unusual women be anxious to snatch them up, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries bridges the two century time span to enlighten and entertain students and lovers of classic literature. All the modern aspects of the series, like the web-blogging medium, the colorful characters, and the pop culture craving for drama, are tuned to reflect the classic novel, which makes great entertainment for the literary enthusiast, a wonderful supplement or resource for studying Pride and Prejudice. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries introduces the classic to modern times.

No Fear Shakespeare Books

No fear Shakespeare BooksIf you are like me, you love literature and always have high hopes for your English classes…then you attend the first class and realize you will be reading text written a million years ago that you can’t possibly relate to even if you wanted. In a frenzy to get the full original text editions of the books online I came across something that I don’t think a lot of college students really know about. You may have herd about No Fear Shakespeare, a really useful section on the SparkNotes website that has old books written in todays terms. What you may not know is they also have published print editions of many classic drama books that have the original text on one side of the page and the modern translation on the other side.

There really isn’t much to worry about when you have a story written in terms that you can truly understand. I would go to say students, including myself, who read these books using todays terminology will get more out of it than students who stick to trying to understand and interpret the original text themselves. In the age that we live in, if there’s some sort of assistance when it comes to hard classes or understanding the impossible, I say we should take advantage of that. Oh, and get this, on Amazon they are all around $5-$6. That’s super cheap, if you know anything about college books then you would agree. Just go to Amazon or your favorite book seller and search for “No fear Shakespeare, then your book or drama’s title”. I hope this little golden nugget of advice helps you out as it has helped me!

The RiffRaff

Open Mic at The RiffRaff, an Art Collective located at 865 Mercer St. in Princeton, WV, is an “artistic haven” according to Lori McKinney-Blankenship, where artistic talents of all types are welcomed, encouraged and respected.

Lori McKinney-Blankenship, along with the help of her husband Robert Blankenship opened The RiffRaff in 2006, making it a mere five years old, with the goal of giving back to the community, in an artistic way.

McKinney-Blankenship responded, “I grew up here, this is my hometown. I went away, studied theatre, and spent a summer abroad in London. The way the culture was shaped by the arts really affected me” when asked about what had motivated her to start The RiffRaff. She continued by saying “The fact that the community had access to art was something I recognized to be very valuable. After graduation, I searched for artists to work with, and hit the jackpot with creative collaborators. We wanted to make a difference in our community.”

Their desire to make a difference in their community was the building block to The Riff Raff. At open mic night, people are encouraged to make their way towards the stage, and to share their artistic talents with people who help form a supportive and welcoming group of people. All types of art are welcomed at The Riff Raff, according to McKinney-Blankenship, “Visual, literary, performing, healing, and theatrical. All types of creativity are welcome.”

The RiffRaff supplies people with a place to communicate with people whom they share things in common with. McKinney-Blankenship stated, “We’ve seen tons of young artists come in. Their creative lives are shaped by it. Waves of artists come at a time. It’s like eras of time. It’s always exciting,” she went on to say that “a few have really made it their identity, and taken advantage of the opportunities. Our door is open for you to make it your own.”

What falls under the category of making The RiffRaff your own? Well, at The RiffRaff, you are encouraged to share your art with other people. Diversities of art are welcome, encouraged and respected at The RiffRaff.

If you’re interested in starting or being in a band, The RiffRaff is a great place to meet people. McKinney-Blankenship said, “If you want to find a band, come to open mic. You’ll find musicians to perform with. Once you’re ready to record music, talk to us and we’ll get you started” when asked about how people could go about starting a band, and recording their music at the recording studio at The RiffRaff.

The RiffRaff gives people the opportunity to meet other artists, and to make friends with whom they have things in common with. McKinney-Blankenship said that “If you’re an artist or really creative person, and you’ve been looking for people to relate to, be friends with, you’ll find them here.”

For more information on The RiffRaff visit their website at theriffraff.net!