In a little under 12 hours on Sunday, Nov. 3, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was read aloud, cover to cover, at Samford University. The reading marathon kicked off a five-day 200th anniversary celebration of the beloved novel.
Over the course of 11 hours, 31 minutes and 21 seconds, 16 Austen enthusiasts took turns reading portions of the 19th century novel of manners in an event sponsored by the Samford English department.
The marathon, which began at 1 p.m. and ended shortly after midnight, was "an out-of-the-ordinary event" for the Samford community, said English professor and anniversary organizer Dr. Geoffrey Wright.
Readers included Samford English professor and former Howard College of Arts and Sciences dean Dr. Roderick Davis, who read the first passages, and senior English major Taylor Burgess, who, Wright said, gave a "rousing performance of those final, happy chapters."
"The event was a success, but my big takeaway is that it was something meaningful beyond the classroom in which the students and others could invest themselves," said Wright. Participants also enjoyed an Austen-inspired tea party with homemade scones and other British snacks during the reading marathon.
The anniversary celebration continues with more programs on Austen's life and her book that was number two on the British Broadcasting Corporation's 2003 "Big Read" list of best loved novels of all time. Co-sponsors include Sigma Tau Delta English honor society, Samford Film Club, University Fellows and Samford's Wide Angle literature and film journal.
The complete Pride and Prejudice anniversary schedule includes:
Monday, Nov. 4, student and faculty-led panel discussion sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, Christenberry Planetarium in Propst Hall, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 5, student-led Regency (Austen-era) dancing, Harry's in Beeson University Center, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 7, Film Club screening of the 2005 film adaptation of the novel,followed by discussion, Brooks Hall auditorium, 7 p.m.
The public is invited to any of the events free of charge. For information, contact Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org