Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Sheila Benson


Lizzie Bennet diaries (Television program); Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Pride and prejudice--Television adaptations; Reader-response criticism; Television viewers;


For hundreds of years, publishers have worked to understand the relationship between a reader and a text. This relationship between a reader and a text has changed dramatically as technology develops, allowing readers to interact with a text in new ways. As years pass, the technology available to content creators as well as consumers changes drastically, often resulting in adaptation of text. One text that has been adapted many times is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The novel has been recorded on tape, made into a television series, adapted for the big screen, and now has been brought to an entirely new medium: YouTube. This new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released on April 9, 2012 and is unlike any other. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a web-based series of videos that retells the story of Pride and Prejudice in the modern era. The project was created by Hank Green and Bernie Su, both notable in the field of web video writing and production. According to the press release for the series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, “combine[s] web video and social media in a way never before seen for a literary adaptation.” The story plays out through video blogs, mainly from the perspective of Lizzie Bennet, a twenty-four year old grad student in the field of mass communications.

These technological changes have resulted in significant change in the interactions between readers, writers and publishers, and the content itself. In order to explain the way these changes have resulted in a new kind of engagement, first I will address reader response theory and the timelessness of Pride and Prejudice itself. Then I will discuss the ways The Lizzie Bennet Diaries provides an experience that is relevant to its modern viewers. I will also explain the way this adaptation encourages interaction with the content, rather than simply eliciting a response. Finally, I will provide evidence to support the assertion that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has provided an experience that goes beyond reader response and instead provides a new, more interactive experience that would be more aptly titled as reader engagement

Year of Submission



Department of Languages and Literatures

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (33 pages)