Pride and Prejudice is 200 years old

Pride and Prejudice was published January 28, 1813. 200 years ago Jane Austen created a book that has lived on (and mocked as boring) for generations. It has been the basis of spin offs, fan fiction, movies, and a book about zombies that I wanted to like better than I did.

For people who know my general genre preferences, it may sound shocking but I do enjoy Jane Austen’s works. (My favorite is Persuasion.)  I have often noticed people who complain that this book is boring actually have not read it. The protagonist Elizabeth Bennet is lively, sarcastic, and often judges on first impressions.  She is from a poor but genteel family and the novel is about how her relationship with Mr. Darcy and her family problems through the novel.

I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was eighteen, slightly younger than the main character’s age. However I was going through my first (and only) serious romance, I was distancing myself from my family as I was graduating high school and engaged to be married.  As I often do when I read, I identified with the protagonists and felt embarrassed for Elizabeth and Jane as their mother and their youngest sisters were incredibly bad mannered.

I read it again in my mid-twenties and my husband purchased me a lovely hardback volume of all Jane Austen’s title.  What was amazing was though I did not identify with Elizabeth as much as I did the first time, I did find new aspects to the novel that I missed. I believe this book has stood the test of time, because Austen wrote about the life that she knew. It rings true 200 years later.

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice!

 

6 responses to this post.

  1. Jane Austen is amazing…and so is Pride and Prejudice!

    Reply

  2. I agree, Thanks for commenting!

    Reply

  3. Hi Elizabeth, to be honest; i haven’t read this. Partly because i do tend to find what we call ‘classics’ rather difficult. As a male reader, i often find it hard to empathise or sympathise with these types of protagonists. I have read Jane Eyre (Bronte i know, not Austen) but found it to be extremely long-winded and slow going. What is your take on other contemporary authors of that time period?

    Reply

    • Well work of the era was generally slower paced than today’s novels. However I will say that I never re-read any of the Bronte sister’s works. Austen’s pacing is better, however less happens. At their core, all of Austen’s works are family dramas that end in a happy marriage for the virtuous protagonist. There is also generally a “bad” girl who will be unhappily married or shamed in some way. If you chose to read one, I would suggest Persuasion, because the protagonist is 28 so does not often act as girlish as Austen’s other protagonists.

      As for similar work: I enjoyed Silas Marner by George Eliot, though I was disappointed by the ending even though it makes sense for the era in which it was written. I also enjoyed Middlemarch, but it’s even slower as her focus was realism. I have also read William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair which probably would have seemed more satirical if I read it a century ago. I just felt sad for Amelia and Becky.

      I did enjoy Frankenstein.

      Reply

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