Sunday, May 31, 2020

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen (yet again)

This is the first time I've reread Pride and Prejudice since 2013.  I feel like admitting that might get me hauled away for insufficient Austen fandomness or something.  But it's true.

Anyway.  Once again, this book delighted me.  It made me laugh.  It made me smile.  It made me unaccountably anxious to zip through the last third or so of the book so Lizzy and Mr. Darcy wouldn't have to be separated for too long.  Isn't it amazing how a story I KNOW so very well can still make me want to hurry up and see how it turns out?  Wonderful stuff.

Something that really struck me this time through is how anti-romantic this book is.  Or maybe not anti-romantic, but non-romantic, in the sense that we think of books as romantic today.  The characters who act the way we think romanically inclined people ought to, swooning and going into raptures about handsome men or beautiful women, and feeling lots of physical attraction toward the opposite sex... are all idiots.  Yes, I'm looking at you, Lydia and Wickham and Kitty.  Even Bingley, who is enraptured with Jane's beauty, is... not portrayed as the brightest candle on the cake.  

On the other hand, we have Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas having zero physical attraction in their relationship at all, and that's portrayed as not very ideal either.  But very sensible, if dull and sometimes disagreeable.

But with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, we have a balance.  Two minds that understand and value each other's good qualities, abilities, understanding, and personalities, and also two people who find each other attractive.  Except that, especially for Lizzy, the physical attraction comes AFTER the mental attraction.  Mr. Darcy does admire her fine eyes long before she finds him at all agreeable, but he kept trying to dispose of that attraction because he thought WHO she was wouldn't be a good fit for him.  Still, overall, they're as interested in each other as they are attracted to each other.  I think Austen is trying to show us how very important it is to have both those aspects in a relationship.

Anyway, totally love this book.  I love how, like Lizzy, Austen obviously is diverted by "follies, whims, and inconsistencies," and yet, also like Lizzy, she never stoops to "ridicule what is wise or good" (p. 52).  I can laugh with her in good conscience.

(Mine from my Instagram account.)

Particularly Good Bits:

"Affectation of candour is common enough -- one meets it every where.  But to be candid without ostentation or design -- to take the good of every body's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad -- belongs to you alone" (p. 13).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG.  No violence or smut, but there's a couple who lives in sin for a time, which is alluded to in the most genteel and vague way possible.  No real bad language, but Lydia does like to say "lord" a lot, which could be seen as a profanity.

This is my 47th book read and reviewed for my second go-round with the Classics Club!  Only three to go and I'll have finished my second set of fifty!


  1. Hurrah for P&P! This is my favorite Jane Austen (although it's vying for that title with Emma, which is also amazing), and my family quotes it to each other all.the.time.

    That's a really interesting point about the balance between romantic-ness and no attraction at all, I hadn't thought about it like that before. Hmmm...

    1. That's fun that you love this book too! It ties with Northanger Abbey for my second-favorite Austen. Persuasion is my top fave ;-) And I'll be rereading that one in June!

      Always something new to learn and discover when you read a classic :-)

    2. I haven't read Northanger Abbey yet, but maybe this summer...Persuasion is great too, that one is my mom's favorite, and probably my second favorite so far.

      It's true! They have so many layers!

    3. Northanger makes me laugh a great deal. It's a bit of a spoof on gothic romances, but also lovely in its own right :-)

  2. Eeep!!! This is one of my favorites of all time! It was #3 for a long time before North and South passed it. This book has everything: "enemies to lovers", humor, brilliant lines, and loveable characters. Yep, it has it all. And, I love it so much for exactly the reason you mentioned!

    1. MC, awww, that's cool! North and South reminds me a lot of this one, does it you as well?

  3. My favorite Austen novel. Except for when I'm reading Persuasion.

    1. George, lol. Persuasion is my favorite, but this is my second-favorite Austen... except for when I'm reading Northanger Abbey...

  4. Such a great read and so much new to learn each time. Great points about romance and love!


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