Few writers who have found inspiration in Pride and Prejudice can resist including a parody of its immortal first sentence. The book begins with (all together now!):
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
As every high school student of the book – be they bewitched, bewildered or even bored by Jane Austen’s masterpiece – can tell you, the sentence is dripping in warm, aromatic irony. Here is a sample of the homages and parodies that have been produced in its honor. We’re hoping to build a nice collection so please add more via your comments below. Movies, TV shows and published sources only, please! We will have a reader competition with our own variations later.
This little gem comes from Bridget Jones Diary (2001):
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.
The TV series Lost in Austen (2008) started with the slightly hammy but nevertheless accurate:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that we are all longing to escape.
Bride and Prejudice (2004), reviewed in this post, did without the graceful language and gave it to us straight with:
All mothers think that any single guy with big bucks must be shopping for a wife.
Pride and Prejudice; A Latter-Comedy (2003) goes for a parody which is both more long-winded and more vague (preferring to transfer the irony to its use of the word ‘comedy’ in the movie’s title.) It opted for:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl of a certain age, and in a certain situation in life, must be in want of a husband.
The 2009 novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is reviewed here, starts with a little more bite, offering us the following pearl of wisdom:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.
Finally, Belinda Roberts begins her 2009 novel Prawn and Prejudice with the enticing:
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a yacht must be in want of a female crew.
Which, dear Reader, is the most deserving of your good opinion? Which is the most insufferable? Please also let us know about any others you come across. Of course, you can never beat the original – unless of course the original is Star Trek – but there are sure to be a few more worthy of a mention.
Yours in anticipation