"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Thus begins the most well-known and beloved of Jane Austen's work. Now, I know that Pride and Prejudice is not on my official book list this year, but I also seem to remember vowing that Jane Austen would show up on every book list for years to come. So even though I didn't pencil it in on the book list, I had every intention of reading it at some point this year. I guess that point came sooner rather than later. After making it through the first 200 pages or so of John Adams, I decided to take a quick break for the rather silly Bennet family, the proud Mr. Darcy, and the oh-so-lovable Bingley.
Pride and Prejudice was the second of four novels published anonymously during Jane Austen's lifetime. It was well received and garnered favorable reviews very soon after being released as a three-volume set in 1813.
If you're not familiar with the novel, well, that's a shame. It centers around Elizabeth Bennet who, throughout the novel, learns the error of making hasty judgments about a person and eventually comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial versus the essential qualities people possess.
While Elizabeth Bennet herself is not someone I would want to model my life after, her always-seeking-the-best-in-people sister Jane is one of my favorite Austen ladies. And while Mr. Darcy is not a man I'd necessarily want to be married to, I'll always be a little in love with the charming and affable Mr. Bingley. Even though Jane and Bingley's love story is somewhat secondary to Elizabeth and Darcy's in Pride and Prejudice, they are probably my favorite of Austen's couples and, by far, the most perfect for and deserving of each other.
I know I've hinted on this blog before that Pride and Prejudice may be a bit of a cliché place to start in the world of Jane Austen, but to be perfectly fair and honest, it's her most popular and beloved novel for good reason. It's absolutely wonderful, and I've only ever talked to one person (my brother Oakie) who found fault with it. I've also suggested on this blog that Sense and Sensibility is a good introduction to Austen--and I stand by that suggestion--however, Pride and Prejudice is certainly more manageable for the person who may be a bit intimidated by 200 year old British literature.
Any way you spin it, I highly recommend reading Pride and Prejudice at least once in your life, and if you're only ever going to read one novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is the way to go. It pains me to even say that, but I do realize that not everyone out there is going to read all her work just because I said so. I guess she doesn't have to be everyone's favorite.
Have you read Pride and Prejudice or anything else by Jane Austen? Who is your favorite author of all time? Do you have a favorite Austen novel? Because I absolutely can't decide. Every single one seems to be my favorite while I'm reading it although Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey do tend to stand out from the rest in my mind. Speaking of which, I've noticed a lot of hate towards Northanger Abbey in recent internet discussions I've been a part of, and I just don't get it! What is wrong with people?? I jest, but seriously. Let's end this post before this tangent gets out of hand. Happy Monday, y'all!