I actually like this 2008 song. It’s a bit too cheesy, a bit too country and a bit too girly-girly for my usual tastes, but something about it makes me sing along to the chorus and get a bit wrapped up in the fairytale. (I also find watching Kanye West parodies very funny.) However, this post is based on a bit of a rumour I have heard being repeated around. Basically, friends of mine have mentioned that Taylor Swift used Pride and Prejudice as inspiration for her chart-topping song ‘Love Story’… but what truth is there in this? And why does it range from people saying she has ripped off 2005 P&P to saying that it’s nice she included Mr. Darcy?
Upon watching the music video, it’s obvious how someone could assume that it was a bit Pride and Prejudice-y. Certainly, if you don’t know much about Regency clothing (it’s actually Renaissance dress in this video, I believe), you could assume that the ballroom scenes were potentially from that time (especially given the style of dance). LoveRomancePassion even has a post called ‘A Regency Love Story- Taylor Swift’. But is every man wearing a cravat supposed to be an embodiment of Mr. Darcy? And was that really what Ms. Swift was getting at?
Wikipedia holds a little bit of a clue as to where this rumour originated. It includes the brief line: “… then there are some video scenes alternating flashbacks and present scenes, which appear to be an allusion to Pride and Prejudice. Taylor Swift, dressed in a ball gown, is seen singing outside a castle while she is waiting for her version of Mr Darcy.” Unfortunately, as you can probably notice from reading the excerpt, there aren’t any actual links or citations to explain where this idea came from.
A random comment in the blackhole of the web said: “I’m simply in love with Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy is an amazing character. However, her choice to play Darcy (Justin Gaston) is not a particular favorite of mine.” I also found that on Yahoo answers someone had responded to a question asking what literature (besides Romeo and Juliet) Taylor Swift made reference to in Love Song, with “Pride and Prejudice”. Even reviews on Amazon have referenced this. So it is becoming a thought that the song is, at least in part, based on Pride and Prejudice, and that much is frighteningly certain.
Interestingly enough, on viewing that supposed Mr. Darcy scene it’s probably the least Pride and Prejudice of the whole thing. The clothes her “version” of Mr. Darcy is wearing are just unacceptable as Regency era. It does, however, seem to be very close to the 2005 Joe Wright scene where Lizzie and Mr. Darcy meet in a meadow together to this sickeningly sweet music. And the guy certainly has this tall, dark and handsome look (both in that sort-of Regency dress, and the modern day clothes we see him in) that we always attribute to Darcy.
Another interesting rumour, which I daresay might have some truth to it, is that the actress who played Lydia in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice (that is, Jena Malone), is in the background of Taylor Swift’s video! This makes a little bit of sense, the girl does look stunning in period costume and has been breaking into the music industry herself (with some weird cool Indie music). Unfortunately, I can’t seem to decide if it looks like her (and I can’t see anywhere on the web that ratifies/argues this point), but I’m actually leaning towards the affirmative after putting together the following photos for comparison:
So what do you think? Do they look like the same person? Jena Malone certainly has distinctive features, so it’s quite possible that they are one and the same.
The entire storyline of the video itself is not at all Pride and Prejudice. Obviously, both lovers fall at first sight (as is atypical for this sort of music). And this stands to reason, because the piece is also based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (very obvious through the lyrics) with a bit of a head-nod to A Scarlett Letter (although this is confused, and criticised by Literary Bloggers from all over as losing the actual meaning of A Scarlett Letter). But, does including these two literary allusions mean that it is more likely for Pride and Prejudice to be lumped in as another romantic text to base a song on? Surely not.
Perhaps the idealistic ending was the PandP inspired part. Certainly that isn’t from Romeo and Juliet. Maybe PandP was a joint inspiration (with her own experiences) for the line: “This love is difficult, but it’s real.” But this link seems far too tenuous to me. Yet despite this, the Pride and Prejudice= Love Story link has been breeding all over the place. Over at The Insider, a celeb news site, the contributor MTZBuzzworthy states that it’s : “Taylor’s stylized, Rapunzel-meets-Pride-and-Prejudice fairy tale” so perhaps it is all a visual thing (as certainly Rapunzel is never even mentioned, nor I imagine dwelt upon in the creation).
Fans of Swift and Austen haven’t failed to notice that there could be a link, and have flocked to make videos using Love Song as the backdrop to Pride and Prejudice mashups all over youtube:
There is, however, hope yet. I have read some comments (particularly on song meaning websites) that have mentioned that it would have been far better if she HAD based it on Pride and Prejudice. That, is real love people. So, is it? Isn’t it? You decide and let me know!