Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – REVIEW
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.
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.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice but it still remains a firm favourite and each reading adds another layer to my enjoyment of it. The sparkling wit of Austen’s writing is always a complete delight to read. Every sentence is genius and there are so many quotable phrases and hilariously astute observations about society that still ring true today. The plot of two people disliking each other at first sight, then gradually falling in love, has been used again and again since Jane Austen wrote this book. It’s become a well-used format for romantic comedies and rightly so.
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
One of the many things I love about this book is the sisterly bond between Elizabeth and Jane. It’s such a wonderful portrayal of female friendship, sibling loyalty, and supportive love. Compared to their younger sisters, Elizabeth and Jane stand apart as sensible, intelligent, and respectable. It’s difficult to understand how they both turned out so well in such a negligent environment. It’s incredibly rewarding for the reader to see the sisters triumph and make spectacular marriages to men who respect them.
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
Elizabeth Bennet is one of the greatest characters of all time – she’s witty, intelligent, and prone to making mistakes and snap-judgments like all of us. I always love witnessing Elizabeth’s journey as she realises her prejudices and matures emotionally. Both Elizabeth and Darcy are eventually humbled by meeting the other and it’s gratifying to see how they complement each other with their distinct personalities. Pride and Prejudice is one of my go-to comfort reads and still remains one of my favourite of Austen’s novels.
A timeless classic that sets the bar for all subsequent romantic comedies.
|About the Author
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.