BOOK REVIEW | Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

TITLE: Pride and Prejudice
AUTHOR: Jane Austen
PAGE COUNT: 480 pages
PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
GENRE: Classics, Fiction, Romance

SYNOPSIS: Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was so excited to finally get to my first Jane Austen novel after wanting to read one for many years. The genre was always so intimidating to me but I decided to participate in the #ClassicsCommunity reading challenge to push myself to get to them.

This book was amazing. It was so well written and the descriptions were beautiful. I can understand why so many people love the author’s books. I found the characters so real, as if I was there with them.

What definitely helped was that I watched the film before reading the book so that I could put a face to each character. I find that with classics, I tend to get a bit confused at times. It really helps to have a clear picture of who is who.

The only thing that I had trouble with, is that I got a bit lost and confused here and there. As it is only the start of my classics-reading journey, I accept that the writing style will take some getting used to but overall, I can understand why it is such a well-known and highly-talked-about book.

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” 

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

“Angry people are not always wise.” 

“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.” 

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” 

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” 

“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” 

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” 

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” 

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” 

“You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” 

“We are all fools in love.” 

“We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.” 

“Till this moment I never knew myself.” 

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” 

“A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then.

It is something to think of.” 

“Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her.” 

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

“The distance is nothing when one has a motive.”

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.” 

“One word from you shall silence me forever.” 

“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.”

“We do not suffer by accident.” 

“I dearly love a laugh… I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” 

“She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both: by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.” 

“Mr. Darcy began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.” 

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.

With everything going on in the world, I find it hard to focus and find the words to write blog posts. But I am keeping busy with writing, painting and reading. I sincerely hope you are all doing okay under the circumstances and that you are all safe and healthy.

Keep on reading, stay safe and never stop telling stories. 

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