Skip to main content

The Pleasures of Pride and Prejudice



The title page from the book's first edition in 1813



It’s been years – decades, really – since I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, and since I’m currently between books (I try to always have at least one on my nightstand for bedtime reading) I decided to pick it up again. And I'm glad I did.

Over the years I’ve seen many TV and movie adaptations, especially the 1995 television mini-series featuring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (who is still my favorite Mr. Darcy) and the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.  

There have been even more television and movie productions of Jane Austen’s story that I haven’t seen, plus some I'm likely to skip, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a comedy/horror movie based on a book of the same name. This film is due to come out later this year and will star Lily James, better known as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey. I’m sure it will be a great production. I’ve just never been able to stomach zombies (too much blood and brains for me).

So, like many people I know the basic story of Pride and Prejudice fairly well. But I’m finding it’s truly delicious to read about Elizabeth Bennet and her family in Jane Austen’s own words. 

Jane Austen, an 1869 engraving based on a sketch by her sister Cassandra


Here are some things I forgot about this book that I’m rediscovering:


  • The chapters are short, making the plot very brisk and easy to read.
  • Though the words were written over 200 years ago in England, there’s nothing old or musty about the prose. Austen’s gifts as a writer and her knack for pacing and character development make the story as fresh as anything written today.
  • It’s fun!

For an unusual introduction to this novel, click on this episode of Thug Notes, an American educational video series. The makers of Thug Notes aim to take classical literature out of the academic realm and make it more accessible and relevant to a wider audience. So far the series includes 67 books, and it’s had over 8 million views on YouTube. 





I should warn you - some of the language is bleeped, and other parts probably should have been. But I believe this short video is a worthy addition to the reams of books, films and other media that Austen’s work has generated, especially if it draws new readers in. What do you think?


Comments

  1. Okay, well that was entertaining! I wonder how many people will be persuaded to read Pride and Prejudice after listening to Thug Notes?

    Anyway, I've always really loved this story, and most of Jane Austen's other books. So thanks for taking it down off of the bookshelf and shedding some new light on it. I might be tempted to read it again myself!

    I saw Matthew Macfadyen's portrayal of Mr. Darcy first, and I really fell for him. But, you're right, nobody comes close to Colin Firth's
    Mr. Darcy for pure hotness!

    - Momma Cat

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment! I wonder if the" thug" will draw in new readers, too! But I think it's pretty amazing that Jane Austen's work is still being talked about two centuries after she wrote it - most books are forgotten long before that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved Thug Notes--what a hoot! I learned a thing or two, and it was entertaining too. Thanks for another fun blog post, Maureen. I had just been thinking about your blog, wondering when you'd write a new post next, and there it was. :-) xo Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. I'm glad you liked my post. I'm looking forward to reading a new Plushpussycat post, too, the next time one comes to my mailbox :)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Macaroni Men and Yankee Doodles

The Spirit of '76  (original title Yankee Doodle ) by Archibald Willard, painted in the late 1800s November is a month that here in the United States is defined by food, culminating in a huge Thanksgiving Day feast. It's also the month we honor our military veterans. So I'm going to focus on both food and patriotism - especially an Italian pasta product that became synonymous with a controversial English fashion and developed uniquely American associations. "The Macaroni"- 1773 During the 18th century, it was all the rage for young men of the English nobility to take a trip through Europe to soak up its art and culture. It was called the Grand Tour. In Italy, these privileged lads discovered a pasta dish far removed from their usual British fare. It was called maccaroni , and they raved about it when they got back home. The travelers became known as the Macaroni Club, though there is no evidence an actual club ever existed. But it

The Cato Street Conspiracy

The Cato Street conspirators getting arrested Conspiracy and treason go hand in hand. Throughout history, conspirators have huddled in back rooms and dark corners in secret, concocting schemes that are both dangerous and illegal. So it’s no surprise that their plans often spiral out of control and end in disaster.  A good example of a conspiracy plot gone wrong happened during the Regency. It’s been dubbed the Cato Street Conspiracy because of where the conspirators were caught. This is a tale that, according to historian J.B. Priestley (author of The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency) “begins in absurdity and ends in horror.” The year was 1820. Though the Napoleonic Wars were over, Britain had paid a heavy price for its victory against the French. The costs of the war had strained the country’s economy. The working classes were hit hard by periods of famine, rising food prices due to the Corn Laws, and high unemployment, the latter driven by soldiers returning from th

The end of the Holy Roman Empire, or what happens when the Empire doesn't strike back

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang  but a whimper T.S. Eliot wasn't actually describing the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire when he wrote those words in his poem, “The Hollow Men.” Nonetheless, his words are an extremely apt way to describe the end of the Holy Roman Empire, which ended quietly with a stroke of a pen exactly 212 years ago in August of 1806. That’s when the last emperor decided it was his duty to abdicate, letting the ancient dominion under his protection dissolve rather than allow Napoleon to usurp the role of Holy Roman Emperor and everything that came with it. Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor By that August the end of the empire had become inevitable. Napoleon’s victory over Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz in December of 1805 and his formation of the Confederation of the Rhine the following July (after he convinced 16 German princes to renounce their allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire and join him)