Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen. T. Egerton. London. 1813
The Cheapest Therapist
It is a truth particularly denied that I don’t agree with any of the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I beg you pardon Sirs, but although I’m conscious of not being in a position to consider whether those depictions are good I dare say that they don’t suit me. Nevertheless: they can help!
I’ve read the novel just on time, because I didn’t want to miss its 200 Anniversary, because lately I’ve been talking about its author, her followers and admirers and also because I declare myself a huge fan of most of the film adaptations that have been done about it. I was proud of that.
If you’re used to read this blog, you should already know that I’ve studied English Philology. During that period I had the opportunity to choose between Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. Obviously, I didn’t choose the former and the influence of the story of Catherine Morland still remains on my brain: she read and figured out a world in which those ghost stories could really happen; she got to be kind of obsessed with the uncanny, unheimlich thing…
Chances are, by the age of 21 I was not interested on social appearances, neither on the achievements of love but, fortunately, ten years later I’ve made up my mind and I’ve chosen the story of Elizabeth Bennet to comfort my soul on a bad weekend.
As it was stated in the beginning, I don’t agree with Elizabeth or Fitzwilliam: they lose their heads on a world of complicated manners which I don’t understand. They fight like cats and hide their sincere feelings because of money and honour matters.
I had a prejudice about this novel. It was surprising for me to find a protagonist that had been so many times transferred to the cinema and praised for her feminist ideals, who declares during the last paragraphs of the plot, that she began to love Darcy when she realised how much money he had:
“My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?
It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I most date it from my first seeing his beautful grounds at Pemberley…”
And then it happened that Mss. Bennet the feminist, the strong willed, the queen of the intelligent thoughts… she felt in love with a man just because he had a big house.
That is the truth of the story.
I once heard from a teacher of mine, that one must read Jane Austen “against the grain”. I’ve never seen it so clear as I see it right now.
These days I really needed to immerse myself in that tale of thoughts, feelings and social appearances. Jane understands me and I didn’t know.