04 June 2013

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen


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This book has withstood the test of time for good reason. It is a literary great, made better only with visions of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy ;-)

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As is the case for many, my introduction to Pride and Prejudice (and to Jane Austen - it was the first of her books I read) came through high school English study. I have read it a few times since, but before this most recent re-read, I'd left it a good five years between reads. Somewhere along the way (I think through Nonna), I picked up the 1961 Signet Classic edition pictured above.

It's a happy coincidence that I recently finished reading this book and in the midst of drafting this post, I have come across This Charming Mum's review of Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck by Alex Field. There will probably be a plethora of posts (you know I like alliteration) on this book from bloggers this year, being its 200th anniversary, but I'll happily add my two cents' worth today.

Being already familiar with the storyline and traits of the characters, this reading gave me the opportunity to more fully appreciate the language and literary artistry employed by Jane Austen. The themes which were shoved down my throat in Year 11 and the quotes memorised and regurgitated in essays and exams were now devoured and savoured. Whilst the lifestyle and social niceties appear so far removed from our own, the ideas of growing as a person, family upheaval and the changing nature of relationships are timeless. The few extra years of life experience I've had since I first read the book have aided in my appreciation of the themes.

Here are a few bits I liked.

Being embarrassed by family members
"To Elizabeth it appeared that had her family made an agreement to expose themselves as much as they cold during the evening, it would have been impossible for them to play their parts with more spirit or finer success..." (p89)

Mrs Bennet
Although irritating and mortifying to her sensible daughters, she's good value. I'm sure most of us have met someone a bit like her at some point.

"Not that I have much pleasure indeed in talking to anybody. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! - But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied." (p99)

Mr Bennet
For all his faults, I love his wit.

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. - Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (p98)

Colin Firth Mr Darcy
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." (p161)

"...it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance." (p227)

Elizabeth's fire
"You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner."(164)

"How far your nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs, I cannot tell; but you have certainly no right to concern yourself in mine." (p300)

I am so glad I own this book and can just pick it up off my bookshelf if I feel like reading it. I am sure that the next time I do, I will enjoy it just as much, if not more.

Book: Paperback. I own it - it was given to me.
Rating: I've given this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: It's as popular as it is for a reason. Fantastic book

23 comments:

  1. I adore the Colin version! I've attempted the book and I own it but I haven't read it yet. Hopefully one day.
    I love the crazy mother as well. Very good value.

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    1. Be still my beating heart!

      It's a full-on read the first time with 200-year-old English. Thank goodness for Colin :-)

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  2. I have to say, I am not a fan of Miss Austen nor Mr Darcy...but I do love collecting bits of wisdom (or words that have been crafted in an excellent fashion) to share with the world at large...I also love that books can speak volumes to one reader and nothing to another.

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    1. I think it's the type of genre where you either love it or loathe it!

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  3. I wish I could share you enthusiasim, but alas, I cannot. Give me a good detective/courtroom drama any day of the week !!!!
    Have the best day !
    Me
    PS - like the footy, we can still be friends !!!

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    1. That's right, differences of opinion are what make life interesting!

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  4. I'm going to be terribly controversial, but I actually don't like the Colin Firth version as much as the Matthew McFadyen version (but I love Matthew McFadyen :) )

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    1. I'm now going to admit to you that I've never seen the Matthew McFadyen version. I just couldn't bear to think of anyone other than Colin Firth being Mr Darcy!

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  5. Colin Firth or not - P & P never gets old (unless of course you are Dadabulous who can not understand its appeal given its lack of explosions, car chases and sex scenes)

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    1. Yes, but that must be a male thing. My hubby doesn't get it either.

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  6. I do love me some Colin Firth!! But I also love the newest one with Keira Knightly, I could watch that many times over. I still need the motivation to sit down and read one of Jane's books though! x Karen #teamIBOT

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  7. I do love me some Colin Firth!! But I'm also a big fan of te newest version with Keira Knightly. I still need the motivation to read any of Janes books though. x Karen #teamIBOT

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    1. I did have to gear myself up to read it, but it was an easier read than I remembered it to be this time around - by no means an easy read though!

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  8. I've done the book and the Colin Firth version. I'm pleased to say I have the Colin version on special edition DVD.

    I've also watched Lost in Austen which is a wonderful mini series where a woman is transplanted into the book and swaps places with Elizabeth. Love it!!

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    1. You own it?! Can I come and visit?!

      I have Lost in Austen on DVD - it's fantastic!

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  9. I've never actually read it! Loved the movie though, but not the colin firth one. I'm sorry, I just don't get his appeal!

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    1. It's okay, Jess, I won't hold it against you - we all have different tastes!

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  10. I started researching my family tree last year, only to find that my great grandmother was ... LIZZIE BENNET! Pretty cool huh ;-)

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    1. That is all sorts of awesome, Janet! Now if your great grandfather was Fitzwilliam Darcy, you would have an immediate claim to fame!

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  11. I gotta say I'm yet to read the entire novel, started but got sidetracked by some bloke - silly teenage stuff. I need to see the flick again. As an aside one of my favourite plays is The Importance of Being Ernest, in fact I was in our school's production of it, I'm sure you know of it - no Colin Firth in this though x

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    1. I have heard of the play, but do you know, I've never seen it? I should get my culture hat on and check it out somewhere :-)

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  12. Love love love it! We went to a pride and prejudice party so we memorised quite a few quotes. All night we kept saying "You must take a turn around the room, it is most refreshing"

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    1. Oh wow, that sounds like so much fun!

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