Comparative poverty is a central issue in the world of Jane Austen. In Pride and Prejudice, the greater gentry displays a wide range of passive aggressive behaviors to keep the lesser gentry at bay. Austen intends that the micropolitics of reserve can be replaced by the politics of redistribution and recognition, leading to better relationships between the self and the other. Austen adaptations largely adhere to this integrationist vision, the only exception being Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for Grahame-Smith’s novel and Burr Steers’s film openly foreground the irreconcilable differences between the sadomasochistic gentry class and the anarchistic underclass. As the heritage film genre is updated to reflect the contemporary world order, the cinema of reverence and nostalgic catharsis gives way to the cinema of irreverence and visionary paranoia, foregrounding the anti-heritage agenda and the conspiratorial outlook in Hollywood film culture.
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