Tuesday, April 18, 2006

#30 - Pride And Prejudice

"There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."
-Lizzie Bennett to her sister Jane

For some reason, I thought I had read this book already once in my lifetime. After seeing the latest movie version and umpteen other related films (Bride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones, etc.), I guess I knew the story so well I just assumed I'd already read the original.

I was completely mistaken. From the first delicious sentence, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife," I realized that I'd never been down this path before. Now, I'm hooked. All I want to read is Austen, non-stop Jane, just like The Jane Austen Book Club, but obviously more interesting than that silly book.

Now, I know there's nothing new I can say about Pride and Prejudice; I'm not even going to attempt to because I'm sure everything worthy about the novel has already been said. What I will say is that reading Pride and Prejudice was an experience of unadulterated bliss. I spent every spare moment over the Easter long weekend with my head in the book, much to the detriment of my poor RRHB.

And one thing I did not expect was how funny the novel is, quite like reading Restoration comedies; I actually laughed out loud on more than one occasion. And despite knowing the story backwards and forwards, I exclaimed, "Oh, no, Wickham!" when Lydia ran off, squeezed out a couple tears when Jane and Bingley finally got together, and gasped when Lizzie saw Darcy on her visit to Pemberley. Imagine that—a book written two hundred years ago might just be one of the best books I've read all year. It has so thoroughly influenced modern fiction, and especially genres like chicklit, that I'm so glad I actually got around to realizing that I'd never read the original. Ahem, I guess there's good reason why it's called a 'classic.'

1 comment:

Zesty said...

OMG! I have her ENTIRE collection if you ever want to read more. Absolutely stunning works, and so funny you choose that excerpt to start with. I've been thinking the same thing lately! Funny how some things never change. The only one I haven't read yet is Northhanger Abbey.