It is a truth more and more universally acknowledged, that the reading of Jane Austen is pure delight!
Much scholarly critique of Austen and her works has been written through the years, and countless book reviews by writers and critics, as well as by humble reads as witnessed in the recommendation sections at Amazon.com and other online book venues. My own musings will scarcely add anything new or ground-breaking to this ever-growing interest in Jane Austen's writings than is not already known. But I will share some of my impressions...
Of her five complete novels, Pride and Prejudice remains the great favorite among readers around the world and among many Janeites. In Pride and Prejudice, we have Austen's best-known and best-loved tale of boy meets girl...and instant dislike follows! A series of events that include the family and friends of boy and girl continually bring them together only to further the misunderstanding and bewilderment between them. Every now and then there is a tiny gap, when the frost between them may be cooling...But sensibilities, character, class distinctions and social circles keep them apart almost to the end! Thus is the tale of the famous romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful social portrait of an age peppered with satire and humor. A study of manners and society classes. And a picture of women and their roles and expectations in their social spheres.
There is much politeness in the works of Jane Austen. In an age where politeness and good manners sometimes seem to be eroding faster and faster, it is refreshing to read the five Austen novels for all the civility and graciousness expressed by the characters. And the modern reader will find no profanity--what a novelty! Clean classics...I like that! Much is to be learned when reading these "oldies but goodies".
The lasting power of Jane Austen's works, Pride and Prejudice among them, are her exceptional story-telling skills, pacing of plot, excellent balance of narrative and dialogue and delightful characters that we long remember after closing the covers. And there is the often bittersweet and good-humored look at the comedies and tragedies of life and of human nature. Sparkling dialogue and repartee between characters is also a hallmark of Jane Austen. And it is in Pride and Prejudice that the more finely tuned wit is demonstrated:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Chapter 1)
"And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody."
"And yours," he replied with a smile, "is willfully to misunderstand them." (Chapter 11)
"...What are men to rocks and mountains?..." ( Chapter 27)
"I might as well inquire," replied she, "why with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you like me..." (Chapter 34)
"...Oh! my dear, dear Jane... I was sure you would not be so beautiful for nothing!" (Chapter 55)
I do not recall my very first meeting and reading of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. It was probably in my very early teens. During school years, I often felt the class curricula was lacking, and so sometimes was teachers' enthusiasm. I often took stacks and stacks of books home from the school library and local library to read what felt missing. I was an omnivorous reader and plowed my way through many of the classics during my teenage years. Reading everything I could get my hands on--classics and modern classics alike. It was when I slowed down a little in my early 20's and took time to re-visit many favorites in the English literature realm, that I discovered a-new Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice no less. And since then I've been visiting again and again, at regular intervals, the five novels. Simply, I cannot get enough of these stores! I love them all equally, each having their own particular charms. And nowadays with so many excellent film adaptations of Austen's novels, these make great excuses to view and then pick up the books all over again...
As a reader in a hectic, and often times troubling modern world, I feel that stepping into Pride and Prejudice offers a kind of sweet escape. To a time past, which though hard in its own way at its time period written, gives the semblance of a gentler time. Where fine manners and better behavior prevailed among good people. And not least, and best of all, where a taste of romance blooming takes me to the end pages where the heroine and her hero come together. And there is a hint of happily ever after...I'm a happily-ever-after kind of girl! Definitely a Janeite! ;o)
I hope that some of you have maybe taken the month of January to read Pride and Prejudice too. Please share any thoughts or feelings you have about the book.
Continuing our classical music listening in our year of classics, Dear Husband and I will be listening to Jean Sibelius. Please see the right sidebar for more details on our latest reading and listening.
And now the moment you've all been waiting for...The Valentine Giveaway! After putting all the names in a random generator, I am very pleased to announce that the winner of my pair of love birds is: Dyan of Where Ava Dreams!! Congratulations, Dy!
Many thanks to all who participated in this giveaway fun!
Whether you are taking time out to read, listen to music, be with family and friends...whatever you do, wherever you are, I wish you all a very lovely weekend! We are off on a little outing for some fun... See you next week... :o)