Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen

ISBN # 1853260002

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics

First Published: 1813

288 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 8/10

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Austen seems to enjoy offering up heroines that are slightly different than one might expect from a romantic novel of this period - they are witty, intelligent and fearless in their choices much of the time. They also seem to buck the trend of social propriety, even if it may cause them to lose their good name, happiness and position. Elizabeth, like Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, seems intent on throwing off the constraints of society, preferring to walk several miles across muddy fields to visit a sick sister and arrive looking dirty and disheveled, rather than wait at home for news of her welfare, or be taken in a carriage over an easily walk-able distance. She actively seeks to be out of doors and unfettered by the presence of others who might hem her in and press her to act in a manner more "fitting" to a young lady of her standing. In this case, that Elizabeth and her sister Jane have turned out so well is more to do with their own nature than that of their parents, especially their mother, whose only goal in life is to see her daughters married and comes across as a very silly and unintelligent person.

The hero, Mr. Darcy, is at first presented as an unlikely romantic lead - he is disagreeable, curt and rude to the heroine, yet throughout the course of the story, he is revealed to be completely different than Elizabeth's first impressions of him. Indeed, her first impressions of another young man, Mr. Wickham, are also poorly judged and she is forced to re-evaluate her feelings of them both.

This is a highly enjoyable novel with more than enough social interaction, betrayal of trust, and witty badinage to entertain anyone with half a mind to give it a try.


Post a Comment

<< Home