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Pride and Prejudice: 200th Anniversary Edition Paperback – 28 Jan 2013
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For the Bennet family, with five daughters, and the family estate entailed so it is imperative that at least one or more of the girls makes a good match in the marriage market, so as to support the rest of the family when Mr Bennet dies, and Mrs Bennet is certainly set on doing all that she can to assist in this. Thus, when Mr Bingley rents a house so all the women with eligible daughters in the area make a bee-line straight for him, even more so when he is accompanied by Mr Darcy, who is even wealthier, and also single.
Of course, as we all know Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are the main stars of the book, but there are a number of memorable characters here such as Mrs Bennet, the nefarious George Wickham, and William Collins, who would marry any woman who says yes, to name but a few. Always a pleasure to read (as are all of Jane Austen’s novels) so this is a book that most of us have read numerous times in the past, and always come back to as it is such a good read.
It is rather ironic though that these days such a book as this is considered women’s fiction and for the ladies, because as those who know their social history will know, in the period Miss Austen wrote men were the biggest buyer and readers of books. The reason for this being that it was believed that women couldn’t cope with fiction that well, as their poor little brains were not usually able to differentiate between fact and fiction. With this in mind, and if like me you are male but have so far avoided this book, then please read it, there is so much to enjoy and think about here.
I won't review the story, as that is for the reader to find out. However I will say that Jane Austen's portrayal of early nineteenth century Society is wonderful to read, I adore Elizabeth, and especially how she is quite set apart in her ideals from other Women of that time.
The book is a delight to read, I have tried to limit it to lunchtimes in work to make it last, and find myself excited to read the next part. Would definitely recommend.
This is such a well-known story and has been made into films and television series so many times that you'd think that reading it would be a yawn. On the contrary, it is subtle and charming and wise and thoroughly enjoyable, in my opinion Jane Austen's greatest novel. How much I'd have missed if I had simply watched this on tv! One really understands why Elizabeth and Jane's embarrassing relatives - their parents and siblings, were such a drawback to making a good marriage, as well as why their father's conduct was a reprehensible as their foolish mother's. What I loved was the realism - the explicit way in which women recognised that their only route to a secure and comfortable life was to marry the right man, and that actually falling in love was an optional extra. Elizabeth's plain friend, Charlotte, trades herself off to a foolish man whom she does not love in order to have a home and family and her painful predicament is completely understandable. Elizabeth is determined not to marry without love. Will she succeed? She learns many lessons in her journey to happiness, as does Darcy, and this is what gives the plot its movement forward. A lovely book!
What is apparent in the book, but downplayed in the film, is her callous attitude towards her daughter. Where in the film it seems she has her daughter's best interests at heart, though managed in a ruthless and rather desperate way, in the book her motivation is entirely selfish. Indeed, Lady Susan in the book could even be read as psychopath: charming, manipulative, and devoid of a conscience.
The book is unfinished, ending with a Conclusion that sketches out further events. The film's end-scene echoes this but adds a definite note of triumph for Lady Susan.