Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: A+

From the back cover:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Thus memorably begins Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. From the initial friction between the opinionated Elizabeth Bennet and the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through its interlocking plots to reach an immensely satisfying conclusion.

Filled with highly entertaining dialogue, Pride and Prejudice is, in the words of Eudora Welty, as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”

There isn’t much that I can say in praise of Pride and Prejudice that hasn’t already been said often and better. So, instead I shall just enthuse on various things.

I love that Darcy secretly despises those who constantly court his approval, and loves Elizabeth for her liveliness of mind and playful, unaffected manner.

The writing is snarky and very cleverly wrought, with sentences like: “Their indifference towards Jane, when not immediately before them, restored Elizabeth to the enjoyment of all her original dislike.”

I adore Mr. Bennet, especially his amusement in the foolish behavior of others. Best line (occurring in a scene where his wife expects his cooperation in furthering her aims): “Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

There are many great scenes, but my favorites are possibly those at the Netherfield ball, where most of the members of the Bennet family behave in a highly embarrassing fashion and where Darcy and Elizabeth have a conversation about Wickham whilst they dance. I also quite enjoy his bungled first proposal.

The minor characters are often very amusing. They’re also capable of grating on the nerves, though, especially Lydia and her absolute lack of repentance after her scandalous behavior with Wickham.

So, I find I concur heartily with the quote above. “Nearly flawless,” indeed.

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  1. Agree wholeheartedly with you.

    I advise you to check out the movie staring Keira Knightley (was it? Either way, it was in 2005. I watched it for the book and not for the movie stars, so I can’t be sure of the name.) Also, the 1995 version isn’t bad either. It brings a lot of excitement to the book, which, despite being really REALLY good, has a very olden time way of writing that I’ve always felt despite being witty was never action-packed.

  2. I haven’t seen the Keira version, but I love the A&E adaptation.

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