Oh my – I started reading Longbourn by Jo Baker – it’s a 21st century take-off of Pride and Prejudice and goes through the same events except from the point of view of the servants. I figured I could probably get through it with only my memories of the book which are probably 20 years old. I reviewed a summary but …
When I got to where Mr Collins proposes to Elizabeth Barrett I had to do it – Yes, gentle reader, I got a new copy of Pride and Prejudice in both Kindle and Audio formats – ridiculously cheap – and promptly started reading.
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
1813 / 254 pages
read by Rosamund Pike – 11h 35m
rating: 10 / classic of classics
(read and listened)
Oh yes, (sigh) I remember most of what “happens,” but Austen’s humor is always so sly and delightful and her insights so on the mark.
On the prejudice side it’s a satire concerning the hypocrisy (manners, actually) of society at the times. On the pride side it’s about the way people really feel inside. (Although Darcy is turned inside-out at those times when he looks so bad while he is doing what is right.) That inside/outside analysis of the title in relation to the narrative might not be exactly right at all but it’s mine – even if someone somewhere has said it before. (I don’t know.)
I won’t go into the whole story of how Mr and Mrs Barrett, a couple of very middling means and up-scale desires (especially on mom’s part), need to get their 5 daughters properly married off in order they may be provided for properly. Elizabeth, the intelligent, quick-witted second-eldest, is the protagonist and the one who thinks for herself. It gets quite complex and imo, each development of any character and every plot twist deserve all the study that’s been done on them. It’s a masterpiece.
I know why the nay-sayers dislike it – it’s narrow in scope because what about the problems in France and elsewhere? What about society as a whole? Is this marriage and money business all there is to life? – Pish I say – laugh and look inward and enjoy it for what it is.
For me, I loved it again and imo, Jane Austen produced one of the most remarkable English novels ever written, If you haven’t read this book, get thee hence and remedy that. Now.
Historical context: https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/node/1765