Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues”.
“Pride and Prejudice” is a wonderful story about the 19th Century that focuses on social class status and the moral of marrying for economic reasons, and not only for love. I have always been very interested and impressed by Jane Austen’s unique writing style and after visiting Bath last summer (2014), everything changed for me. I visited the home of Jane Austen, walked in her footsteps, down the small brick lanes and through the beautiful park covered with flowers and nature in blossom.
Jane Austen brings idealistic elements within the character of Elizabeth Bennet, and sympathizes on human values and interpersonal problems. The things that make Elizabeth a truly interesting character is 1) she is never fully formed on page and 2) is considered as a Protean and plays many different kind of roles, and hereby, it emphasizes on the idealistic question that human deals with, which is manifested in the character of Elizabeth. She develops throughout the novel, stands by her own opinion and later rises above it, which makes her see the potential and charming elements of Mr. Darcy. This moral change visible in Elizabeth as a character is often seen in the characters of Austen’s novels: ”Moral autonomy is a striking feature of Jane Austen’s heroines […] her heroines are always required to make sounder judgements than those around them […] or […] to correct their errors through their own experience and not through submission to the advice of others” (‘The Pelican Guide to English Literature’). The protagonists reflect, evolve and suddenly see themselves from another perspective.
“Till this moment I never knew myself.”
Jane Austen’s literary universe conveys many existential questions with it, e.g. gender roles, limitations, possibilities and how the historical aspect influences certain matters, such as marriage and love. As an author, Jane Austen is ahead of her time because of her focus on mostly women and their place in society.
Even almost two hundred years after her first publications, Jane Austen is relevant in a modern aspect and there has been an increasing interest with modern films, TV-series and books, e.g. ‘Longbourn’ (2013) which tells the story of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ from the servants’ point of view. One might wonder what the reason is for this Jane Austen revival and why it is still relevant.
Ever since I started reading Jane Austen’s literary works, I feel I have been blessed with beautiful and descriptive stories of the 19th Century in Britain. There is so much I love about this world that I don’t even know what to write, so I’ll say this;
Jane Austen claims herself that she writes with “a little bit of ivory, two inches wide, on which I work with a brush so fine as to produce little effect after much labour” – and for that, I admire her!