Having set up the central misunderstanding of the novel, Austen then brings in her cast of fascinating secondary characters: Mr. Collins, the sycophantic clergyman who aspires to Lizzy’s hand but settles for her best friend, Charlotte, instead; Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s insufferably snobbish aunt; and the Gardiners, Jane and Elizabeth’s low-born but noble-hearted aunt and uncle. Some of Austen’s best comedy comes from mixing and matching these representatives of different classes and economic strata, demonstrating the hypocrisy at the heart of so many social interactions. And though the novel is rife with romantic misunderstandings, rejected proposals, disastrous elopements, and a requisite happy ending for those who deserve one, Austen never gets so carried away with the romance that she loses sight of the hard economic realities of 19th-century matrimonial maneuvering. Good marriages for penniless girls such as the Bennets are hard to come by, and even Lizzy, who comes to sincerely value Mr. Darcy, remarks when asked when she first began to love him: “It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” She may be joking, but there’s more than a little truth to her sentiment, as well. Jane Austen considered Elizabeth Bennet “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print”. Readers of Pride and Prejudice would be hard-pressed to disagree. –Alix Wilber –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Who doesn’t love some Jane Austen? Okay, I must be honest, this is the first of her books that I have read. And of course I love it. I already loved all the movie adaptations, which is what made me pick up one of her books. I did have to concentrate a bit more reading this book than others, because I found the language would loose me if I wasn’t paying attention. Not that I have a hard time understanding, but just that in the time that this book was written they spoke so differently than we do now that if I found my mind wandering, I also would find that I didn’t really know what was going on in the book. I must say I was disappointed in the lack of dialogue – in parts where the books seemed to just summarized the events that took place, I wanted to hear the conversation itself. Either way, of course this is an excellent book!