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Jane Austen's classic romance 'Pride and Prejudice' turns 200

Feb. 1, 2013 at 8:39 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, England, has dedicated an exhibition to the author's classic romance "Pride and Prejudice," which turned 200 this week.

The book follows the slow-burn romance of stuffy, but honorable aristocrat Fitzwilliam Darcy and feisty spinster Elizabeth Bennet.

On view at the museum through May is a rarely seen letter in which Austen calls the book "my own darling child," the BBC said.

Also featured are illustrations first included in an 1894 copy of the book, as well as dancing slippers and first editions of "Pride and Prejudice."

Museum spokeswoman Madelaine Smith credited the book's enduring appeal to its timeless themes and lifelike characters.

The BBC said the museum will also hold a contemporary art exhibition of works inspired by "Pride and Prejudice" from June to September.

Costumes worn in the iconic 1995 BBC adaptation of the novel, along with the white shirt Darcy portrayer Colin Firth wore as he emerged from a lake in one famous scene, will be on display later this year, the British broadcaster said.

"We're not sure if we're going to have it on display wet, but if we do, we'll have to spray it daily with water," Smith said.

Firth's "Love Actually" co-star Keira Knightley earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Elizabeth in director Joe Wright's 2005 film adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice."

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