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Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) Reissue Edition
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Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she's a completely hip character, who if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. The point is, you spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up?
"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste."—Virginia Woolf
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After reading on I said, "Wow! How could I be so interested in such characters?"
Getting toward the middle of the book, I was hoping that it would never end.
By the end of the book, I fully realized what a magnificent piece of writing I had just read.
"Pride and Prejudice" is one of the best sociological studies about early nineteen century British loyalty and society I have ever read - where title, rank, fortune, and good looks are in many ways the requirements of an approved marriage, much, much more than love. In fact, this wonderful book might not be as relevant today as two hundred years ago, but there are still many traces of such societies throughout the world, today. It was not all that long ago in America, where marrying outside of your religion, or ethnicity, was looked down upon.
The book is full of wonderful characters, but Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet is, in my opinion, the star. Her character is so wonderfully and fully realized that at times I felt her jumping off the page and directly into my life.
Liza, a fellow member and friend on Goodreads, informed me that she had read the book twice and still was not sure if the ending was 'sad' or 'funny.' To me, it was funny and exceptionally rewarding but sad to think that a lady's livelihood depended more on the wealth and rank of your partner than love.
Quite an amazing book.
I must confess I have been known to express an antipathy for anything written or set before 1900. I just cannot get down with corsets, outdoor plumbing and buggy rides. Whenever someone dips a quill into an inkwell my eyes glaze over. This is a shortcoming I readily own up to but have no desire to correct. So I admit to not starting this book with the highest of hopes. I did really enjoy Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility" however and so when my friend threw the gauntlet down I dutifully picked it up.
Boy did I hate him at first. To get anywhere with this book one has to immerse oneself in the realities of life and marriage in the nineteenth century. At first all this talk of entailment and manners just left me cold. I liked the language to be sure. Austen's dialogue is delightful through out but dialogue alone (no matter how delicious) does not a great novel make.
A hundred pages or so in though I started to see what a shrewd eye for character this Austen woman had. Mr. Collins was the first person I marvelled at. His character springs forth fully formed as a total but somehow loveable ass. From that point on I found much to love about this book. I was so into it by the end that I was laughing at some characters, sympathizing with others and clucking my tongue at an unhappy few. In short I was completely absorbed.
In conclusion I must now count myself a fan of Miss Austen's novels (and not just their fim adaptations) and do so look forward to acqauinting myself with more of her work in the future. "Emma" anyone?