I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as a teenager – and I loved it. Since then, I watched the A&E movie multiple times, and then last year I watched the newer movie, which was OK. I felt it was certainly time to revisit the novel itself.
I was not disappointed. I loved it even better now.
I listened to the Librivox recording of Pride and Prejudice. While the narration was amateur, I still enjoyed the words and found it far better to experience the novel than to experience the movie(s), much as I enjoyed them. There is something about Jane Austen’s language and character development that cannot be fully contained in a full-length movie – even a six-hour version as the A&E movie is. The book wins, hands down.
Who What When Where Why
In rereading the rest of this post I wrote, I realize it won’t make much sense if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice. Sorry. I guess I’m assuming that most people have. So here’s a brief rundown for those who haven’t read it. The rest of this post probably contains spoilers of the ending. Much has been omitted.
Who? Elizabeth and Jane Bennett and their three younger sisters; also, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley.
What? Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hate each other (or do they?); Jane and Mr. Bingley like each other (or do they?); somehow, they all need to fall in love and get married.
Where? Meryton in Hertfordshire, with side trips to Kent and Derbyshire
Why? Because Elizabeth and Jane must get married soon; they will be old maids at 23!
The best part of Pride and Prejudice is the characters. I think Elizabeth is the perfect headstrong girl – what I always wanted to be: someone who didn’t put up with the “flightiness” around her, who won’t settle for the sleazy “Mr. Collin’s” of the world.
But like Elizabeth, I’m judgmental when I first met people, and I can see myself reacting in similar ways to the people around me. That is not necessarily a good thing; what I’m saying is that I could relate to the character.
I also sincerely love Mr. Darcy – and it’s not because I picture Colin Firth from the A&E movie, who I’ve decided is not all that handsome. Darcy is the handsome man.
No, that’s not it. Instead, I love Mr. Darcy because he is the ideal imperfect man. I really can’t explain why that is. When Elizabeth hates him and he secretly loves her, they have this conversation, Elizabeth teasing him:
”I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. He owns it himself without disguise.” [said Elizabeth.]
”No” — said Darcy, ”I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. — It is I believe too little yielding — certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. — My good opinion once lost is lost for ever.”
”That is a failing indeed!” — cried Elizabeth. ”Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. — I really cannot laugh at it; you are safe from me.”
”There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
”And your defect is a propensity to hate every body.”
”And yours,” he replied with a smile, ”is wilfully to misunderstand them.”
I just love that scene: it perfectly illustrates the “pride and prejudice” in those characters. When Elizabeth later comes to realize that they are perfect matches for each other, the tenderness of their subsequent conversation just makes me sigh.
I’m a cheesy romantic. And I seriously love this book.
Amanda recently compared the two movies to the book, and as I listened to the book, I found myself doing the same. I have to agree that after reading/listening to the book again, Mr. Collins in the A&E version is a bit overdone. The actor was a very good slimy character, but Mr. Collins in the book wasn’t quite so slimy. I still like the A&E one because the other one is far too short, omitted far too many details and characters, and felt rushed. The A&E one felt like there were seasons changing.
But the book is better than either movie. Even listening to it via amateur narration was just wonderful. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?
A special note for P&P fans: someone rewrote Pride and Prejudice for facebook. I personally don’t like Facebook but still — this turns Facebook into a genius!
This review seems rather disjointed and unhelpful. I wrote most of it last night and I guess I was too tired to think clearly. Maybe one of these other reviews might help you get a better idea of the novel.