Let’s talk about Pride and Prejudice today.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a human in possession of the Pride and Prejudice novel must be in a state of obsession. “
Take it from me, I am living proof. Be warned that this post will just be me singing praises and raving about how magnificent a story Pride and Prejudice is. This entire post could just be me going “eeeeee”, for a thousand words and the point of the post would be exactly the same but I’ll spare you and try to put forth in a coherent manner, exactly why this 200-year-old novel is the best book I have read recently and my new favourite book.
I know you don’t believe me. You don’t get it. (Unless you’ve read it, in which case you do, please comment and rave with me) I have been there. I have had some disdain for “classic” literature over the years, so much so that I even wrote a blog post about it many years ago. Although as I grow older, I have slowly been opening my mind to the idea of re-reading classical literature and giving it a proper shot as an adult. I have also always loved the story behind Pride and Prejudice, never actually having read the original novel in its entirety but being in love with the 2005 movie adaptation of the same for as long as I can remember. Then, I happened to get my hands on the most gorgeous collector’s edition of the novel(As seen on my Instagram reels) and it was meant to be. I was reading Pride and Prejudice, wholly, fully and finally.
Surprise surprise, I absolutely devoured the book. As someone who has been struggling with finding a reading groove, that is insane. I couldn’t help it; Austen’s writing is so gripping and so refreshingly modern! She was so talented and her writing style is so engaging, it keeps you interested the whole time despite the subject matter being seemingly mundane. The book was also ridiculously hilarious and witty with the balance between satire, social commentary and the story itself being just perfect. It was so thoughtful, so surprisingly in-depth! There were no loose ends and it was so well written that I understood why it was a classic. I also learnt that Austen was a rare talent, one of the greats and so criminally underrated.
As a testament to the modernity of the novel, I found myself in Elizabeth Bennet and aspects of her personality in so many ways, even though she is a character I should have nothing in common with; she lives in Regency-era England and I’m in 21st-century India. She is also by far, one of the most well-developed female characters and/or protagonists I have found in literature and had the true pleasure of reading about, despite having been written in the 1800s. If that’s not contemporary writing, I don’t know what is.
Another fact in the same vein is the character of Mr Darcy and the wonderfully written relationship between him and Elizabeth Bennet. He is the ultimate male romantic interest: he admits to his faults, corrects them and is happy to be humbled by Lizzy for nothing to return. His transformation is so amazing and is written in such a nuanced manner, a testament to Austen’s genius. Their relationship also checks off all my boxes and absolutely kills me: the slow burn development, the enemies(ish) to lovers transformation, a healthy and lovely relationship built on so much love and respect. It is, without question, the ultimate ship and the inspiration for so many couples in fiction. Also before I move on, I have to give a shout out to Mr Bennet and his dry quips, they’re my exact brand of humour and I loved them and his character so much.
My next point is going to seem very reminiscent of English literature classes and for that, I apologise. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the sheer genius of the title itself, it’s so so brilliant! It perfectly encompasses the journey the characters take over the course of the story, Darcy viz a viz his pride and Elizabeth with her prejudices while remaining ambiguous enough and not giving the plot away. I am a sucker for a good play of words and even the title of this delightfully written novel is a work of art in and of itself. How rare and special is that?
Now, onto the adaptations; the obvious next step in loving any story. I have seen two and I love both, for different reasons. One is the 2005 movie adaptation by Joe Wright starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, the other the 1995 BBC TV Miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. The 2005 movie is special to me because it’s how I discovered the story in the first place but I also believe it does a wonderful job for what it is: not a faithful recreation of the novel but a contemporary take on it, to present the story to modern viewers. There are some liberties but I think it manages to remain true to the love story at heart. Plus, the cinematography and the soundtrack of the movie are so utterly beautiful. The 1995 BBC Miniseries is on the other end of the spectrum, the absolute gold standard of book adaptations. It is so authentic, almost exactly word-for-word from the novel and you can see how much effort has gone into making as Austen imagined it. It definitely manages to take you back to that time and place and is as proper as an adaptation can get.
Luckily for me, this book is over 2 centuries old and has been in the public domain long enough to give rise to a plethora of adaptations, recreations, retellings and what not. So as I close this post, know that you can find me binge-watching all the Pride and Prejudice content I can possibly get my hands on, for as long as possible and also diving into more Austenian fiction because Jane has made me a fan for life. (Help a girl out with suggestions please!)
THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you read Pride and Prejudice or any other of Austen’s works? How did you like it/them? Comment below with what you think about it, I’d love to hear from you!