I always claim that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel. That’s a pretty lofty claim since I read it once in my twenties. Let me paint a bigger picture for you. When I was younger, probably until I hit my forties, I’d have to describe myself as a romantic dreamer. I admit, I lived somewhere up in the clouds always waiting for my ship to come in. My prince to come. Because I was sure both would arrive. Probably together. [insert forehead hand slap here]. Let’s just say, the dreamer woke up. So, with my mature realistic (some would say cynical) view of life I was curious. Would Pride and Prejudice hold up without all that romantic idealism in the way? I decided to test it out and give it another read just to see. To be honest, I was nervous. If it failed what would take its place as my favorite? Here are a few of my thoughts on Pride and Prejudice 40’s edition.
To begin with, I must say, whether you like her stories or not Jane Austen was one talented woman. Ahead of her time. You can tell she was mocking convention and would have been right at home in a more modern world. Her skill of character observation and nuances is masterful. She fully created a whole world of people that I have to remind myself are fictional. Or are they?
I am typing this blog using a keyboard. When I make a mistake all I have to do is delete. I will save it, look over it again and edit it. All fairly easy compared to writing a whole novel – creating a whole world – hand written. What an arduous project. I am impressed with her dedication to write as much as she did in her short life. In contrast, I have written one barely length novel. It is horrible because I haven’t spent much time with it. I just wanted it to be good out of the gate. That’s not how this works. Jane must have spent a good portion of her time writing because she was compelled to write.
In short, yes, the book held up after twenty years. But there was so much more I noticed about it that I didn’t see my first time out of the gate. I appreciated it on a new level and for different reasons.
As an added bonus, I watched the A&E Pride and Prejudice from 1995. It introduced me to Colin Firth. You might be impressed to know I watched it on my old VHS tape set. Yes, you read that right. I still have a VCR and VHS tapes. This held up remarkably well, too. I enjoyed the movie as much as the book.
But all this has led me to ponder one question. Knowing what we know about genetics, how do you think Elizabeth and Darcy’s children turned out? It is quite possible their children inherited Elizabeth’s mother’s genes. Or worse, Lydia’s! How would Darcy handle having offspring that acted like his mother in law? I wish Jane Austen were alive and could answer this question. In her absence, I’d like to get a discussion going.
DISCUSSION: Darcy and Elizabeth’s daughter acts like her Aunt Lydia. How do they handle her?