The musical ensemble performing at the Netherfield ball in the 1995 BBC miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice includes a serpent. While neither the materials about the making of the series nor resources discussing the film music address how or why the decision to use a serpent was made, they do indicate that the filmmakers cared about historical accuracy and made decisions about other background aspects of the film based on careful research. It is highly unlikely that British filmmakers in the 1990s would have included an instrument that had fallen completely out of use by the end of the nineteenth century had it not been for a successful revival movement started in England by Christopher Monk two decades earlier. This paper explores the serpent’s history, revival among early music enthusiasts, the prevalence of the serpent in Regency England society, and the skillful handling of its inclusion in the miniseries by film makers.
Morrison, Kelsy (2020). How a Serpent Slithered Its Way into the 1995 BBC Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Excellence in Performing Arts Research Vol. 7 7(1) 17-26. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/epar/vol7/iss1/how-serpent-slithered-its-way-1995-bbc-adaptation-pride-and-prejudice
Winner of the Performing Arts Library Colloquium Series’ Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.