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TODAY   |  March 05, 2013

The lasting legacy of ‘Pride and Prejudice’

In 18th century England, Jane Austen wrote a story about love, marriage, and heartache that remains one of the most romantic novels ever written. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports on the enduring impact of “Pride and Prejudice” on modern society.

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>>> marking its 200th anniversary this year, jane austin 's novel " pride and prejudice ." as keir simmons explains, it's more popular now than ever.

>> reporter: in 18th century england, jane austin wrote a story about love and marriage and heartache. pride and prejudice " is still one of the most romantic novels ever written, with one of the most famous opening lines in english literature . it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man.

>> possesses the good fortune.

>> must indeed.

>> reporter: an era when manors and money counted.

>> mrs. bennett, you are very welcomed.

>> reporter: is it very different today?

>> people can identify with her and the characters that she writes about. because everybody knows somebody that jane austin has depicted in one of her books.

>> reporter: the pushy mother.

>> you will stay where you are. everyone else to the drawing room. now.

>> reporter: the daughters, desperate to marry mr. right. self centered men, who find it hard even just to say the words, will you marry me?

>> against my better judgment, my family's expectations, the inf inferority of your birth to ask you.

>> i don't understand.

>> reporter: and " pride and prejudice " with zombies. jane austin dance classes, an escape into a more romantic era .

>> it was hard just finding someone to marry.

>> it was and this would be how you do it. you dance.

>> reporter: jane austin herself, who never married, thought her era was not so romantic. she saw it as a little ridiculous.

>> pretending to be somebody else. people were looking for wives, women were looking for husbands. it was all there because she saw it and she was telling it how it was. she's laughing at them, but very cleverly, very cleverly.