It took me over three months (and the whole team much longer) to make one of the greatest books of all time into a small digestible edition for learners of English at an upper intermediate level. Let me tell you, it was no easy task to shorten the narrative, condense the dialogues and simplify the grammar, syntax and vocabulary, while also retaining all of Austen’s realism, subtle irony and superbly described characters.
When I was told that I had to reduce approximately each six chapters of the original to five pages for the new version, I admit thinking that the task was either impossible, or only possible at the expense of the true beauty and complexity of the novel. So as I prepared myself to butcher my beloved Austen, I did not expect the job to be as smooth as it actually turned out to be. It seemed Austen, as smart as she was, knew that I would later be coming with my sharp knife and wrote in a way that every scene in the book is compact and can be sectioned off. This carefully composed narrative made it then possible for me to eliminate scenes which were not necessary for the adapted version and still make sure that the overall plot would not suffer that loss.
What was, however, impossible to lose were the characters. So beautifully described and so vital to the plot, every character has an essential role in moving the story along and highlighting traits of the key figures, like Elizabeth and Darcy, that would not otherwise be so evident to the reader. There was no way that a character like Charlotte Lucas or Kitty Bennet could be eliminated, as the story would lose much of its original warmth and irony.
The overall result is, in my opinion (of course, duh?!), a well condensed Pride & Prejudice text, with edited dialogues that can be tackled by a non-native audience, where no characters have been eliminated and Austen’s realism and ironic flair have been preserved. My hope is that anyone with an intermediate knowledge of English will pick up this little book and feel like they can enjoy the enchanting world that only Jane Austen knows how to create without the tough obstacles that 18th century English can present.
This book has also been enriched with activities designed to check the reader’s understanding of every chapter, extras to give context and fun trivia, as well as beautiful illustrations by the talented Ottavia Bruno.
As for my part – I can easily say that I have realised my childhood dream of having my name published next to that of Jane Austen, and none of it would have been possible without the expert supervision, input and encouragement of the irreplaceable Gill Hammond, for and to whom I am truly grateful.
Liberty’s Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen is now available to order on Amazon.it here.