I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. The reasons for it being a classic are quite clear, all of which I will explain.
It has a plot which, on consideration, is actually quite extensive, and I won’t attempt to plan here. However it is to be found at: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pride/summary.html
A number of points need to be raised with relation to this work, not least the flowing voice of Jane Austen as a writer. She livens a relatively dull and mundane subject to something that I couldn’t stop reading with her enticing and active writing style. It should also be noted that this handy tool of intriguing the reader is probably the reason why it is so widely read today, even though it was published in 1813.
Austen lightens the load of old-fashioned text with familiarity and an observant writing style. Although initially, the voice seems childish and simplistic, it develops into a coursing river of literature which carries the reader all the way down to the last page.
This was quite a good read, and taught me a lot of the situation for similar people in similar times. I can certainly say that I have a better grasp of early 1800s society than I ever had before, and all thanks to Pride and Prejudice. All though I wasn’t there at the time, and have no PhD, I would assert that this novel can be used as a historical text as well as a recreational read. It certainly tells us a lot about what life was like then, and perfectly captures the intrigues and vices of that time.
Whether the works are accurate or not, Jane Austen describes them in a way which is keenly observant and flowingly descriptive.
There are definitely some patriarchal themes in the work. When Darcy has to step in to save Lydia from disgrace is a good example. But I have no problem with this, as I can tell that a) patriarchy isn’t always a bad thing, and b) Austen was only writing within the context of the times, and is in no way to be faulted for mirroring the world she knew in her novel.
The story is, I think, a perfect size, and another twenty pages would have made it tedious to finish. I read the ‘Penguin Popular Classics’ issue, and the copy was 299 pages long.
I found it to be a splendidly written and charming novel which I was happy to spend time reading.