Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that I have needed to read this book for a long time. One friend really liked this book in junior high, the other said it was way overrated. I may have abstained from reading it just to keep on good terms with both of them- and also because I couldn't bring myself to complete other romantic-ish classics like Anna Karenina and Wuthering Heights.

Given it was published in 1813, it's true that there is a lot of archaic writing to be had in this book. Long sentences are almost assured on every page, but I grew to enjoy the style (and the pacing that goes with it). I have to disagree with the many articles that have been written on the reading length of classics like this: some of them say this book will only take 2-3 hours to read. I guess if it's a reread (for the 3rd or 4th time) that might be true and very feasible. However, for the modern reader, this will take a fair bit longer, unless you've got a doctorate in English literature (in which case, why would it be your first time reading this???).

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'"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.'

Among the reasons I read this was that it was recommended for my personality type (INTJ- or so the myriad of internet crash courses/pop psychology tests tell me). Mr. Darcy is supposedly INTJ, and also an antihero. When you start reading the book, it's clear he's the sort you wouldn't be paid to associate with- he's got an excessive amount of pride. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has an excessive amount of prejudice, which sometimes is revealed through her judgy judgy thoughts and actions.

As Sheldon Cooper and the writers of the Big Bang Theory put it:

From Pinterest, but likely stolen from someone else,

In some ways, this book is absolutely a masterpiece. However, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, perhaps due to my excessive viewing of Pride and Prejudice adaptations, or perhaps due to something else entirely. It's difficult to know now, but I know in some ways I was absolutely irked with Elizabeth's attitude. She was constantly trying to find fault with others, to the point she alienated me. People, much like characters in a book, are never perfect- I try to see the best in others, in order that they may someday see the best in me.

Pride and Prejudice is not a modern love story- and that's perhaps why it has withstood the test of time. There is one scene in the book that nearly brought me to tears- a rarity in four star reads. But, in others, I was rolling my eyes at Elizabeth's superiority complex and counting the sentences/paragraphs until her scene was over. If you are a fan of classics, this is a must read, just for the purposes of intense discussion- Pride and Prejudice is a treasure trove of social maneuvering and thought, which is why I think it shouldn't be read in a few hours.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a classic that is equal parts love story and guide to social manipulation.

Content: Ages 12+ for advanced wordplay, people who make cow eyes at each other (okay, it wasn't mentioned, however, I read between the lines), and the pursuit of an honorable courtship.

Page Count: 210 pages in my paperback edition


  1. The first time I read this, when I was in high school, I didn't like it very much. When I read it again, years later, I loved it. I see the influence of this book in so much else I have read over the years--and seen.

    1. Yes, absolutely! There are so many arts (even beyond writing) touched by this book, that without it, we wouldn't probably have. I am glad I read it, so I'll be able to spot more of that now than I had when I just watched the film/series/other adaptations.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Wendy!
      ~Litha Nelle

  2. I have tried many times over the years to read Austen, and I still can't finish one. I to, however, love the moves and miniseries I have watched. :)

    1. Yes! That was me as well- I've watched all the adaptations, and tried reading, but I never finished... until now. It took some doing (her sentences sometimes seem like they're miles too long), but overall I enjoyed the experience.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, La La!
      ~Litha Nelle


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