Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I recently pledged to broaden my reading horizons by reading a few classics. Last week, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I admit that I forced myself to begin this book, and I trudged through the opening chapters. It wasn't long, however, before I was caught up in the tale.

This love story is funny, sarcastic, and witty. It is filled with sisterly devotion, disappointment, familial discord, indiscretions, deception, and, of course, pride and prejudice. After reading the book only once, I will not attempt to provide a literary discussion of this fine work, but I will recommend it heartily.

For those of you who shy away from classics, let me share something I learned about myself. As I read, I realized the reason I usually stick with more contemporary works of fiction; I prefer to read quickly. When reading a text in which words such as precipitance, thither, and insipidity are common, I must slow down and give greater attention to the language and its meaning. What I discovered with Pride and Prejudice is that some stories are worth my time and effort! I would encourage anyone who hesitates to read classics for a similar reason to give this novel a try.

This novel is quite quotable, but I will share one I noticed in the the opening chapters of the book.

"Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, "is a very common failing I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."

So true! Again, I enjoyed this novel, and I plan to read more by Jane Austen. I highly recommend that you do the same.

Review by Lauren, regular contributor

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Sarah said...

I just had to jump in on this thread because I LOVE Pride and Prejudice! I actually have that pride and vanity quote highlighted in my copy.

I love classics. I read modern books as well, but I always have to jump back to a classic to cleanse my palette, so-to-speak.

I think this is a nice book for people who aren't crazy about classics because it is witty, smart and engaging. I also think the themes are surprisingly timeless. The characters are well written and in many cases, absurd and very entertaining.

The first time I read this was only last year. It took me a while to finish the book because I loved it so much, I didn't want it to end. I tried to rectify the situation by only reading a few pages a day and savoring them. I'll have to repeat the process this year as well. ;)

I definitely recommend this book! It is smart, funny, and tender with universal themes.

I think I may have to take it off my shelf right now and spend a few minutes with it. Thanks, Emily!

Emily said...

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorites. I've read it many times and always get sucked back in.
I also love the movies, both the BBC special and the new version.
Huge fan here.

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