Since watching Pride and Prejudice a few weeks ago, I've been thinking about how much it reminds me of the classic romance novel structure. I'm not much about the contemporary Harlequins or bodice rippers, but I've been known to collect 60s vintage Harlequins from second-hand stores. They all follow the same formula and P&P, although the miniseries more so that the book, fits in quite nicely.
(I must confess that while I love Austen, I also sympathized with Adrian Mole when he got into trouble at the library for moving all of the Austens from Classic Literature to Light Romance.)
- The heroine is usually poor, not desperately so, but not well off.
- The hero is rich.
- The hero is normally in some sort of position of power over the heroine, often her boss.
This doesn't work so well with P&P, though the difference in social station approximates it.
- The hero can be described with words like "sardonic", "sarcastic", "stern", and "saturnine".
- The hero is dark rather than fair.
Fits with the mini-series. I don't think there was a detailed physical description of Darcy in the novel, though illos I've seen portray him as a brunet.
- The hero is nasty to the heroine, causing her to dislike him, even though he's a most attractive man.
Darcy and Elizabeth, check.
- The heroine has an amiable admirer who either turns out to be wicked or just not man enough for her.
- The hero has an old girlfriend who is evil.
Not an old girlfriend, but Caroline Bingley fills this role.
- The hero, even though he's been nothing but a jerk all along, does something very nice for someone, causing the heroine's opinion to change, or information is revealed to her about how nice he is.
This more or less fits with Elizabeth and Darcy.
- The hero and heroine finally get together and it is revealed that the hero was in love with her all along.
Yeah, pretty much.
- Now we're supposed to think that the hero is a great guy and forget what an asshole he was earlier on.
I don't think that fits too well. Darcy actually showed some character growth, which romance novel heroes do not. But it's close enough for government work.
And there you have it. Harlequin Presents Pride and Prejudice. Did I miss anything?