Pride and Prejudice celebrates 200th anniversary!
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
Oh, that opening line, that simply ludicrous opening line. The one that gets me ready to giggle, gasp and shed a few tears as I once again re-read the very worn out pages of my copy of Pride and Prejudice. This was the book that started it all. My fascination with all things regency, with dampened dresses, curled tresses and brooding handsome young men with fortunes of “10,000 a year!!!!”. It was also the book in which I discovered that heroines need not be giggling simpering fools (in fact the simpering among the bunch were usually ridiculed) who fainted and sighed and were “To Stupid To Live” in fact, I’m sure Jane Austen coined the phrase TSTL. I’ll wikipedia it…
Who didn’t want to be Lizzie as she first saw the hallowed walls of Pemberley? As she gave Darcy a well deserved setdown? As she became Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy?
P&P, as us fans like to call it, is the penultimate historical romance. Where wit, fine eyes and a kind heart win out against expectations, fortune and social standing. Jane Austen created a story that has yet to feel dated, that women over generations have been able to connect with. Yet she also created a literary piece that showed the absurdities of her era, some which surprisingly, still exist today. Defying social conventions by taking pen(nib? pencil?) to paper Austen took a major step for all female authors who followed.
And hey, if we got Colin Firth walking out of a lake in a wet shirt as a result – well, that’s just an extra perk.
“I first discovered Pride and Prejudice during my junior year of high school. Our British Literature teacher, Miss Riley, captivated us with her majestic description of the love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. From the first to last page I was enthralled and still am ten years later. I am now a huge Jane Austen fan and enjoy both her written works and the film adaptations of her works as well as off-shoot films such as The Jane Austen Book Club. Pride and Prejudice is a classic that will remain in the hearts of readers forever.”
I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time as part of a school project sometime before my 16th birthday. I was gravely disappointed. My school girl imaginings of love were dramatic and larger than life. The Bronte sister’s with their Byronic heroes so in need of saving; they fed my foolish school girl heart. To my young eyes, love was clearly true if it was some sort of histrionic death match. Anything less, any modicum of restraint, couldn’t possible do.
I revisited P&P again almost a decade later in my mid-twenties and from then on grew my love for the novel. Each new decade of my life would illicit a new appeal for the novel. In many ways Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is a timeless story because the themes are timeless. Who hasn’t made mistakes in love? Or wondered if there were more in store than whatever future they envisioned at that moment? Who hasn’t misjudged a person and later regretted it? And who hasn’t been a fool for love at least once in life?
Let the world have their Cathys and Heathcliffs but leave me my Bennet girls, their family and their friends.
“Mr. Darcy made it almost impossible to fall for any other man. It many years to find a literary male lead that could compare.”
Happy 200th Birthday Pride and Prejudice!!!
And now a little treat… the Lake scene!