Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

I decided I wanted to reread some Austen before I realized that she was so hip at the moment. I'm still not sure why. I went to see the movie, Becoming Jane, which was good, although played around with history more than I like. Also, I think it did her a disservice, because it made P&P out to be based on her life, taking away the achievement of imagining and creating the story herself.

Anyway, when I saw a copy of P&P lying around at my mother's house, I decided to take it to the beach. It took me a while to get back into the narrative style (so much dialogue!), and of course, it takes a while for the story to pick up. But once I was into it, I really enjoyed humor and social commentary.

One critical essay (Brower, 1951) remarked on Austen's success in combining qualities of sentimental novels with poetic satire, and I agree. The timelessness of the love story keeps the book relevant to modern readers, and the satire prevents the story from drowning in saccharine.

I would have like reassurance that Elizabeth retained her vibrancy and spirit after her marriage to Mr. Darcy. It is alluded to- Miss Darcy in particular is surprised by the liberties that Elizabeth takes with her brother- but, she also seems more sanguine at the end.

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