The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Volume II: Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Hardcover, 1988




Oxford University Press (1988), Edition: Reissue, 432 pages


Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML: Mr and Mrs Bennet have five unmarried daughters. When the amiable Mr Bingly moves into the neighbourhood, Mrs Bennet therefore feels entirely sure that he is meant for one of her girls. Her eldest Miss Bennet captures his attention, but Mr Bingley's proud friend Mr Darcy does not approve the match and takes his friend away to London. Though not before losing his own heart to the second eldest, Lizzie. With an indolent father on one side and a nervous, ignorant mother on the other, the girls soon find themselves in the middle of a disaster which throws them back in with the two gentlemen. All parties must re-think their pride and the prejudice of first impressions. Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's most famous novel..… (more)

Media reviews

"Orgullo y prejuicio" de Jane Austen, publicada en 1813, es una novela clásica que explora temas como el amor, la clase social y las expectativas de la sociedad en la Inglaterra de principios del siglo XIX. La historia gira en torno a Elizabeth Bennet, la segunda hija mayor de la familia Bennet.
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Los Bennet, una familia respetable pero con problemas económicos, están ansiosos por casar a sus cinco hijas. La trama se pone en marcha cuando el rico y codiciado soltero Charles Bingley alquila el cercano Netherfield Park. Bingley viene acompañado de su amigo, el orgulloso y adinerado Sr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. El comportamiento reservado y aparentemente arrogante de Darcy provoca tensiones iniciales, sobre todo con Elizabeth. Sin embargo, a medida que se desarrolla la historia, los lectores descubren el verdadero carácter y las motivaciones de Darcy. El tema central de la novela es la evolución de la relación entre Elizabeth Bennet y el Sr. Darcy. Al principio, ambos personajes tienen prejuicios el uno contra el otro, pero a medida que sortean las expectativas sociales, los malentendidos y el crecimiento personal, llegan a comprenderse y apreciarse mutuamente. La novela es célebre por sus ingeniosos diálogos, sus comentarios sociales y las agudas observaciones de Austen sobre la sociedad de su época. "Orgullo y prejuicio" es una obra atemporal que ha sido adaptada a numerosas películas, series de televisión y obras de teatro. Sigue siendo apreciada por su exploración del amor, el crecimiento personal y los entresijos de las relaciones sociales a principios del siglo XIX.
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5 more
[Recensionen gäller en nyöversättning gjord av Gun-Britt Sundström] ”Stolthet och fördom” är en glad roman, tack vare Elizabeth Bennets frejdiga humör och relativa frispråkighet. I Gun-Britt Sundströms nyöversättning ges gott om utrymme för tvetydigheten i hennes repliker,
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för skrattet som bubblar under ytan.
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[Recensionen gäller en nyöversättning gjord av Gun-Britt Sundström] När jag läser Sundströms översättning blir det för första gången tydligt för mig hur skickligt Austen tryfferar romanen med små överdrifter, sarkasmer, nålstick av spydighet, utan att läsaren för den skull
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tappar engagemanget i intrigen. Humorn gäller särskilt gestaltningen av bokens karikatyrer, Elizabeths ytliga och giriga mamma mrs Bennet och den fjäskige och inbilske mr Collins, den släkting som aspirerar på att överta familjegodset.
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In Pride and Prejudice, Austen turned up the dial that controls the temperature of comedy, giving it some of the fever of what we would now call romance... For Elizabeth Bennet is the most frictionlessly adorable Heroine in the corpus – by some distance. And, as for the Hero, well, Miss Austen,
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for once in her short life, held nothing back: tall, dark, handsome, brooding, clever, noble, and profoundly rich...No reader can resist the brazen wishfulness of Pride and Prejudice, but it is clear from internal evidence alone that Austen never fully forgave herself for it...

Pride and Prejudice suckers you. Amazingly – and, I believe, uniquely – it goes on suckering you. Even now, as I open the book, I feel the same tizzy of unsatisfied expectation, despite five or six rereadings. How can this be, when the genre itself guarantees consummation? The simple answer is that these lovers really are ‘made for each other’ – by their creator. They are constructed for each other: interlocked for wedlock. Their marriage has to be.
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Satírica, antirromántica, profunda y mordaz a un tiempo, la obra de Jane Austen nace de la observación de la vida doméstica y de un profundo conocimiento de la condición humana. Orgullo y prejuicio ha fascinado a generaciones de lectores por sus inolvidables personajes y su desopilante retrato
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de una sociedad, la Inglaterra victoriana y rural, tan contradictoria como absurda. Con la llegada del rico y apuesto señor Darcy a su región, las vidas de los Bennet y sus cinco hijas se vuelven del revés. El orgullo y la distancia social, la astucia y la hipocresía, los malentendidos y los juicios apresurados abocan a los personajes al escándalo y al dolor, pero también a la comprensión, el conocimiento y el amor verdadero. Esta edición presenta al lector una nueva traducción al castellano que devuelve todo su esplendor al ingenio y la finísima ironía de la prosa de Austen.
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George Henry Lewes
I "would rather have written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels"

User reviews

LibraryThing member jeff.maynes
I, like many others, first read Austen and Pride and Prejudice while in high school. I hated it. I found it to be an indulgent and silly romance amongst the landed gentry of England - a lark wholly unconnected from real injustice and struggle. After all, despite its focus on meaningful
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relationships in place of relationships of expediency, two of the main characters end up marrying into the aristocracy. Reading it again now, I am struck by how much more rewarding the novel is. My follies of youth not withstanding, Pride and Prejudiceis a beautiful and biting novel, one well worth a spot in any collection.

What is worth noting about the structure of the plot is that Austen is playing with the notion of femininity here, especially insofar as it relates to love. Elizabeth, an absolutely wonderful character, is intelligent, witty and confident. While she nevertheless has a keen understanding of the manners and expectations of the day, she refuses to be self-effacing and empty in pursuit of a husband. It is not (as I had thought when I first read the novel) that Elizabeth buys into the traditional notions, but that she succeeds in spite of those notions. The happy ending may be less dark than one in which Elizabeth is ground under like her friend Charlotte, but it is no less an indictment of tradition for it.

It is the conversation with Lady Catherine de Bourgh towards the end of the novel which demonstrates this point. In particular, I was struck by the following passage:

"Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude', replied Elizabeth, 'have any possible claim on me, in the present instance. No principle of either would be violated by my marriage with Mr. Darcy. And with regard to the resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the former were excited by his marrying me, it would not give me one moment's concern - and the world in general would have too much sense to join the scorn" (338).

In particular, it is the last bit. The first point - that Elizabeth does not care to defy tradition - is what we might expect out of this sort of novel. We might expect the plucky heroine to defy the traditional forces arrayed against her and choose her own happiness. It is the last part, though, that seems to better reflect the force of the novel. It is a challenge to the reader. It is not merely that Elizabeth is willing to take that action, but that it is irrational for us (say, as the traditional reader) to oppose it. It's this appeal to reason that is particularly interesting and thoughtful. Rather than simply appealing to our own emotional connection to Elizabeth, Austen challenges us to defend the tradition by the force of reason. It is this challenge which the entire book has developed.

The characters that inhabit this world are also wonderfully realized and really interesting people. Consider the case of Mr. Bennett. His lines are, by and large, the funniest in the whole novel (along with Mr. Collins, for quite different reasons!). His cutting wit, particularly when used against his wife, is simply fantastic. Yet, he is also a heavy character. His wit is a sign of disengagement. He recognizes the injustice of his daughters' status (unable to inherit his estate), and feels impotent to change it. The result is that he is constantly commenting on the world without being in a position to improve it. The reader cannot help but be sucked in by him for his wit, which makes these complexities of character far more interesting.

I was struck by a comment by Peter Conrad in his introduction to the Everyman's Library edition of the novel. He points out that not only is Austen giving us an ironic treatment of high society and the role of women in it, but that irony is part of how Mr. Bennett, and indeed Elizabeth, relate to the world. While Mr. Bennett's irony fails him and becomes detached, Elizabeth is better able to challenge the order of the day by finding someone who appreciates her intelligence and strength of character which breaks down her ironical detachment. In that way, Austen is both using irony while at the same time critiquing its power as a mode of effecting change. This is a thought-provoking point well beyond the context of the novel. It is something I wrestle with in terms of contemporary politics, and it was delightful to find such a fascinating treatment of it here.

The obvious contrast with Mr. Bennett is Mrs. Bennett. She is silly, inane and all together annoying. Yet, she is entirely focused on ensuring that her daughters are provided for in life. While Mr. Bennett may better understand the injustice of this situation, it is Mrs. Bennett who is more active in trying to work within it. To a modern reader, who has no assumption that all women must be married off, she is irredeemably silly. Given, however, that the Bennett daughters ran a real risk of destitution, she is a far more sympathetic character than it seems at first glance. We see this again clearly with Charlotte, who elects to marry the pathetic Mr. Collins to protect herself. While this plays out in terms of Elizabeth's disdain for Charlotte's decision, it is far from clear that Austen is entirely unsympathetic with the plight of these women even if not the decisions they make.

Austen's prose and style need little additional commentary. She is masterful. Her innovative use of free indirect speech is used to play with the reader's perceptions by aligning them with Elizabeth's, but in a way that is not immediately obvious. If we were simply told that Elizabeth thought x and thought y, we would be more likely to be skeptical. Yet, we are simply told x and told y, not always cognizant of the fact that this is Elizabeth's perception playing out through the narration. Austen uses this to great effect to draw us into the same misapprehensions that drive the novel. The dialogue is sparkling, but Austen also regularly steps out of the discussion itself to return us to the emotional give and take of the conversation. This nicely juxtaposes the wit and formality of the conversation with the underlying emotions which are hidden at times. This comes to the fore in one of the final conversations between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

This is a beautiful, thoughtful and engaging novel that deserves its place in the English language canon. From the love story, through the wonderfully crafted prose, to the biting social criticism, this book is rich enough to satisfy any audience. Apparently, except my high school self. It is clear, however, that he had no idea what he was talking about.
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LibraryThing member brenzi
530 reviews on LT alone. What in the world can I add that hasn’t already been said about this classic? Probably not a lot. First I will admit sheepishly that I lived to be (ahem) a certain age without ever experiencing any desire to read Jane Austen. My woeful public education, obviously, never
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presented the opportunity and, as an adult, I never felt the urge to pick up one of her books. But here on LT I find myself reading books I would have never considered in the past, wonderful books, not to be missed books, ‘why did I wait so long?’ books. So one day while in Barnes and Noble, I found myself standing in line with “Pride and Prejudice” in my hand.

So I finally opened it and settled in to see what all the fuss was about. Oh my, it didn’t take long to see that this was going to be one book that lived up to the hype. The one thing that surprised me greatly was the humor in this book about the landed gentry in the 18th century English countryside. I never expected to be laughing out loud at biting humor, shared in the proper style of English manners:

“Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton where he had made a tolerable fortune, and risen to the honour of knighthood by an address to the king during his mayoralty. The distinction has, perhaps, been felt too strongly. It had given him a disgust to his business and to his residence in a small market town; and, quitting them both, he had removed with his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, denominated from that period Lucas Lodge; where he could think with pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in being civil to all the world.” (Page 19)

Austen ridicules this class struggle at every turn, but does so in the most proper manner. Her development of the main characters, the fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennett and the aloof but kind hearted Mr. Darcy, is brilliant. But for me, it was the development of some of the more minor characters that flawlessly revealed her opinion of the classes: Mrs. Bennet, trying desperately to claw her way to the upper class to assure her daughters of a proper marriage; the pompous Mr. Collins, so overwhelmed by those of wealth that he can hardly contain himself; and his benefactor, Lady Catherine, so full of herself and her position that she actually believes she can forcibly convince Elizabeth not to marry Darcy, since she is so below him, that had me laughing out loud again and again.

There’s nothing more I can say except, “Will someone please point me to the next Jane Austen book?” Very higly recommended.
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LibraryThing member browner56
Given its reputation as the quintessential 'chick lit' novel, I purposely avoided reading this classic for more than three decades. That was a huge mistake. Indeed, this book has everything that you can reasonably expect from a literary experience: an engaging story, memorable characters, and
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surprising insights into the human condition that transcend its 200-year old setting.

On top of all that, there are parts of the novel that are very, very funny. Despite feeling like I already knew the story before I started reading—there have been countless adaptations of this work, such as Helen Fielding’s hysterical "Bridget Jones’s Diary"—I still found myself eager for the answers to the book’s main questions (e.g., Can Darcy overcome his pride and Elizabeth her prejudice (and vice versa) long enough to get out of their own way? What makes Collins such a sycophantic toady? What’s the deal with Lydia?).

While it may take me another 30 years to get around to reading "Sense and Sensibility," "Emma," or any of Austen’s other works, next time the delay will not be because of my own prejudice.
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LibraryThing member JimmyChanga
I must admit, I had my prejudices going in (pun intended), but this turned out to be an excellent book. Not only was it hilarious throughout, it was also insightful, very well-written, and a page-turner. I'd be the last person to care about propriety, marriage, or class-consciousness, all themes
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that are contained herein, but I was relieved to find out that Jane didn't care about them either. In fact, the book made an effort to poke fun at these ideas at every turn, and the people who espoused them. This was a completely pleasant read because all the characters who I disliked were total fools, to the point of great entertainment and laughter, and all the characters that I DID like were really poignant in their observations, witty in their dialogue, and not so perfect as to not have faults (thus, the title). Plus, the whole thing so intricately falls in place that it feels a little bit like a rollercoaster ride, and a little bit like a chess game.
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LibraryThing member AdonisGuilfoyle
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everybody should read 'Pride and Prejudice' because it is a classic, or failing that, have a lively appreciation of the characters from the miniseries. Unfortunately for Mr Darcy, my first official introduction followed too soon after making the
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acquaintance of John Thorton (North and South, Gaskell), so neither his pride nor Lizzy's prejudice have swayed my indifference to the author's work.

That said, this is an enjoyable comedy of manners, and discovered at a younger age, perhaps, it would be easy to fall in love with, and ever after treasure, the antics of the Bennet family and the romance of Lizzy and Darcy. I have not found overcoming my own prejudice of Austen as easy as Darcy altering his opinion of Elizabeth, however.

Lizzy is an amusing and very forthright heroine, answering back with her father's brand of sarcastic humour and standing up for herself and her family, and Darcy is droll and abrupt with her because the Bennets are dysfunctional, but I didn't really get a sense of them as sympathetic personalities. I just didn't believe in them. The romance was also lacking, because Lizzy seemed to sacrifice too soon and too readily her independence, and spend the rest of the novel building 'gratitude' into love. And Darcy is heroic and noble, but I liked him better when he was sneering at people.

The subplots, or separate threads of the main story, are entertaining - I was charmed more by Bingley and Jane's tender romance - and the formal language adds a subtle edge to the dialogue, particularly between Lizzy, Darcy and Lady Catherine, but I wasn't captivated by this almost legendary story, sorry to say.
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LibraryThing member sarah-e
I am glad I avoided this book as a teenager. It wouldn't have meant as much to me as it does now. As a teenager, I would have read the story and thought "Oh, love is wonderful! I wish this would happen to me!" I thought that about plenty of other books I read as a teenager, so Pride and Prejudice
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would have faded into the background. I'm about ten years down the road from that time of life, and I get so much more out of it now.

Now I see Elizabeth - a strong female character who is not either too strict or too playful, but who is sure of herself and able to speak her mind without shyness - that is where her most genuine beauty lies. I want to be like Elizabeth. I also see Darcy - a man who may at first be undeserving of our heroine's affection, but who works very hard to overcome himself and various scandals to present himself to her as a worthy partner. That is love.

P & P is surprisingly readable, modern, practical, and insightful. It isn't fussy, the language isn't difficult, and it isn't hard to follow. Read it today if you haven't read it before. I know I'll be reading it again and again.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This was one of my favorite books well before the miniseries and film made that trendy. Maybe too trendy. It used to be my rather smug secret that a classic of the kind assigned in school was actually so fun--such a winning blend of romance and humor. And God, the awful professionally published
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fanfic that's popped up since the Austen films like Berdoll's cheesy novels--never mind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But the worse part of Austen's upsurge might be what Pride and Prejudice has become in the popular imagination, so that one of my friends doesn't want to read it because she has this idea of Darcy as the perfect romantic hero and that rather nauseates her.

Yet in so many ways Pride and Prejudice is the opposite of so many romantic conventions as well as transcending it. It's at the opposite end of the temperamental spectrum from Wuthering Heights. Yes, this was written and set in the Regency era. Yes, there's a Cinderella quality to the tale given Darcy's wealth and the Bennets more modest circumstances. But what I love so much in this story is that it's far from love at first sight. Darcy is rude when we first meet him and earns every bit of disdain which Elizabeth originally feels for him. And his initial opinion of her? Not pretty enough to tempt him as a dance partner.

The original title of the novel is famously First Impressions and the way this novel credibly develops the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth from their initial mutual contempt is a marvel. It's why this is so much more than a love story--it's a novel about perceptions, assumptions and prejudices and how they can be reversed and in the process of which cause characters to grow. That's why I see Austen as the opposite of Emily Bronte--love as a force for and as the result of growth--not destruction.

Beyond the central love story this novel has so many wonderfully memorable characters. I love the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and her father; his own marriage makes an interesting foil for the other pairings in the novel. Mr Collins is a comic marvel--as is his "patroness" Lady Catherine de Bourgh. So much of the novel is laugh-out-laugh funny, so much of the dialogue memorable and quotable. One of those novels that can be read and read again and discussed and you keep finding new things in it.
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LibraryThing member neverlistless
This story is wonderful. It focuses on Elizabeth Bennett, the second oldest of 5 girls, who has a mother that is absolutely focused on getting her daughters married. As Jane, Elizabeth's eldest sister, is being courted by a new man in town, Elizabeth meets his friend, Mr. Darcy. He is a seemingly
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rude, proud, and condescending man. Everyone immediately dislikes Darcy and writes him off as being unworthy of attention.

As the story progresses, heartbreaks follow. Jane's courtship falls through and their youngest sister, Lydia, runs off to a marry a militia man who has a good reputation, but is found out to be quite shady. Through all of this, Elizabeth learns more and more about Mr. Darcy and discovers that he isn't so proud, but actually shy and a little bit socially awkward.

This is a very simplistic explanation of a very complicated story, but it is wonderful to read how Elizabeth processes new information and her seemingly steadfast view of an individual changes over time. In addition, Elizabeth herself is already such a strong character and speaks up for herself and those around her at the risk of being "unladylike." Wonderful book and such a wonderful character!
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
Almost ten years ago, I read this, my very Jane Austen novel, and I was completely in love with the book. In the ensuing years I gobbled up every other single book of Austen’s I could get my hands on.

Recently my book club decided to read Pride and Prejudice and I was shocked to learn that I was
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the only one in the group who had read anything by Austen. Keep in mind, I’m the youngest in the group by a solid 30 years. How had they missed the brilliance of one of my favorite authors?

Anyway, the book club’s decision prompted me to re-read my second favorite Austen novel (Persuasion is still my fav). It was such an incredibly rewarding experience. The first time I read it I mainly focused on the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. Second time around I noticed everything else, and there’s so much!

**If you haven’t read the book, fair warning, the plot is pretty well known, but I do discuss things that might ruin it for you if you really don’t know how it ends.**

For one thing, Austen’s wit is unmatched. Austen is sometimes considered boring because there's not a lot of action, but she's so funny and you can't forget the characters she creates. The stuffy Lady Catherine, the pious Mr. Collins, the insufferable Miss Bingley, the utterly unlikeable Mr. Darcy, who of course becomes so lovable; they are all such divine creations.

Elizabeth, our heroine, can be stubborn and judgmental, but whatever her faults, her love of her sister Jane supersedes all else. I love that Jane’s happiness is more important to her than her own. It says a lot about her that she puts someone else’s welfare above all else. If there’s one thing that Austen could truly capture, it’s the love between two sisters.

“Elizabeth instantly reads her feelings, and at that moment of solicitude for Wickham, resentment against his enemies, and everything else gave way before the hope of Jane’s being in the fairest way for happiness.”

It’s easy to forget that turning down a marriage proposal was a huge deal during that time period, especially when you had no other prospects. Lizzy doesn’t just turn down one proposal, she turns down Darcy once and then Mr. Collins multiple times. And Collins isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. After Eliza turns him down four times in a row, he still thinks she’s being coy and says, “You are uniformly charming” and is convinced she will still accept him.

A wonderful example of Austen’s famous social commentary is the section which talks about the public opinion on Darcy and Wickham. First everyone loves Wickham, then they hate him, they hate Darcy and then they love him, but it’s rarely based on their actual experience with the individuals. They are swayed by the merest whisper of a scandal or controversy.

“…everybody was pleased to think how much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy before that had known anything of the matter.”

One of Darcy’s main objections to Jane (as a possible wife for Bingley) is her family, which can be a bit embarrassing. I loved reading the section that chronicles Elizabeth and Darcy's dinner at Lady Catherine’s house. The pompous old woman (Darcy's aunt) is blatantly insulting Lizzy and he is mortified. It’s a great reminder that everyone has family members that they aren’t always proud of, but you can’t judge someone because of that.

“Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill breeding, and made no answer.”

Charlotte’s role in the novel completely changed for me this time. When I first read it I was only 18 and I couldn’t believe she settled for Mr. Collins. Now I’m 27, the same age she is in the book, and I understand her decision so much better. She was making a huge sacrifice. She had no prospects, she was getting "old" and she knew she would just be a burden to her family. I still wouldn’t have done it, but now I really get it. It was a different time and she knew this might be her only shot at having her own household. Her decision also underlines how unusual Lizzy’s decision to turn down Collins was.

Another interesting element is Mr and Mrs. Bennet's relationship. Although she is a fluttering idiot and at first glance, he's hilarious and likable, I found myself really frustrated with him by the end of the book. He completely ignores Lizzy’s warning about Lydia’s behavior. He doesn’t take it seriously and doesn’t realize his mistake until it’s too late. He didn't think ahead and plan for his daughters' futures, thus putting them in a horrible position. He also treats his wife with utter disdain. Even though she incredibly annoying, he should at least show her some affection or respect because she's the mother of his children.

Lizzy’s views of married life are rooted in her own parent’s unhappy marriage. It’s the only real example of how a husband and wife interact that she's witnessed for her whole life. She’s particularly horrified by Charlotte’s marriage because she sees it as the joining of two people who are so different in intelligence and temperament, just like her parents, and she’s worried it will lead to unhappiness for her friend. That’s why it was so important for her to end up with someone who was her intellectual equal; she needed a partner she could respect.

“Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father’s behavior as a husband. She had always seen it with pain; but respecting his abilities, and grateful for his affectionate treatment of herself, she endeavored to forget what she could not overlook, and to banish from her thoughts that continual breach of conjugal obligation and decorum which, in exposing his wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly reprehensible.”

The problem with watching too many movie and miniseries versions of P&P is that I sometimes forget what is and isn’t in the book. It always bothered me that in the movie versions, Elizabeth and Wickham seem so buddy-buddy in the scene where they chat at the end, but I’d forgotten that in the book she’s still seething inside. She just acts nice so she can get out of the conversation.

“…she had walked fast to get rid of him; and unwilling for her sister’s sake to provoke him.” P. 264

I’d also forgotten that there’s a whole section where Lizzy has fallen in love with Darcy (after learning what he did for Lydia, etc.) and she thinks there’s no way he still likes her. They’re at a party together and she follows Mr. Darcy around the room with her eyes, and then gets mad at herself for being so silly. I love that we get to see her a bit vulnerable and girlish. She’s fallen for him and so her defenses are down.

I love how the end of the book gives a summary of what happened to everyone in the following years. Jane and Bingley move closer to the newly-married Darcys. Lydia tries to weasel favors out of the Darcys, but gets turned down (ha). Kitty is improved by Jane and Lizzy’s new positions in society and is kept from Lydia’s company. Lizzy and Darcy’s sister get along so well, and Elizabeth maintains her spunk and ever shocks her new sister-in-law with how she talks to her husband, just brilliant.

A few things I had forgotten about P&P:

1) Elizabeth goes by Lizzy and Eliza too, I love that.

2) Kitty’s real name is Catherine

3) Mr. Collins is described as “tall, heavy-looking” and is only 25. Because of the movies I had begun to picture him as short.

4) The book says about Mrs. Bennet, “Eliza was the least dear to her of all her children,” – ouch, even if you don’t get along well with your mother, that’s still pretty harsh.

“There are few people whom I really love, and fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.” – Elizabeth
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LibraryThing member Nandakishore_Varma
If somebody had told me that I'd love a romance before I read this book, I would have laughed derisively.

In my late teens, romance was just not my cup of tea: it was meant for (yechch!) - girls. I was happily reading about those brave and hardy men who blew up German castles (during World War II)
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and evil Communist strongholds (after the war). The only women in those books were beautiful spies or dangerous adventuresses.

A few years later, my aunt pointed me to this book, after I had rather enjoyed an adaptation of it on Doordarshan (the Indian TV channel). I opened the book, read the first couple of sentences, and was hooked.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

By God! You can't be more true to life than this...

[personal interlude]

Scene: Myself at a marriage reception, strutting about rather proudly having recently landed a job.

Mother calls: "Nandu! Come here for a moment."

I go rather reluctantly, because I know what is about to transpire. It is like I dreaded: there is another female with mother. My mother presents me to her proudly.

The lady looks me over with an appraising eye, and my knees are already weak.

She says in a wondering tone: "My! How tall your son has grown!" (I'm all of five-feet-six-and-a-half inches.) "When I last saw you (this to me) you were only so tall..."(and she holds her hand the appropriate height from the floor. This is not surprising, because when she last saw me, I was only five years old.)

She turns to my mother, and says the dreaded words: "He's employed now. Isn't it time he settled down?"

Uh...oh. I sidle away, because I know what's coming next: she knows of a "nice girl" who would be the perfect match for me...

[end of interlude]

Oh, Mr. Bingley and Darcy, I sympathise with you from the bottom of my heart!


Elizabeth Bennet was the first girl I hopelessly fell in love with. Unfortunately for me, she existed only on the pages of a book, so my love was doomed from the start.


"...Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." - Charlotte Lucas.

Being married to the same wonderful woman for more than twenty-three years, whom I did not know at all before our marriage was arranged, I can vouch for the veracity of the above statement.


Wonderful book. Read it!
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LibraryThing member ErisofDiscord
I've been so wrong. I tried reading this book when I was freshman in high-school, and I only made it three pages without understanding any of what I had read. My first impression of the book was that it was dull, disinteresting, and the language with which Austen wrote was incomphrensible to my
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brain. For a few years I was smug in my conviction, content with "never getting Jane Austen" and satisfied that I had at least tried to read Pride and Prejudice.

Little did I know that I was afflicted with the same problem as our spunky heroine, Elizabeth. My first impression of the book when I was a freshman might have been justified, given that I was not yet mature enough to fully appreciate Austen's wit and the world that she wrote about. However, I let that first impression build a prejudice of sorts about Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen.

For that, I am sorry, Jane Austen. I apologize for ever doubting your writing abilities. I now gift thee with the status of being one of my favorite writers. There. I'm sure you're very pleased. Be happy, Jane Austen, for it is all YOUR fault that I lost many hours of schoolwork and sleep time because I couldn't put down your bloody book.

Well, I'm happy that I'll finally be able to watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and actually understand what they're all talking about. And now I'm going to probably be reading all the Jane Austen books I can get my grimy paws on.

What have I gotten myself into?
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LibraryThing member BookAngel_a
This is one of those classic books that's become so enmeshed in our culture, most of us know the basic plot.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet for the first time, and it does not go well. He is proud and slights her, and she becomes prejudiced against him, ready to believe anything bad of him. As events
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unfold, both of them find out how wrong they were. He regrets his pride and tries to change, and she regrets her unfair prejudice.

But it's about more than Darcy and Lizzie. We see how life turns out for Elizabeth's entire family, and her close friends. Readers also get to experience the delightful way that Jane Austen presents English society of her day. She both honors her world and makes fun of it at the same time. Readers will find lots of wit and humor here...making it one of the easiest, funniest classic works to read. Many Jane Austen fans say that this is their favorite book of hers; it's definitely her most well known.

I read this book as a teenager, and now I've re-read it as an adult. It holds up well. I enjoyed it even more now than I did the first time. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes old fashioned books, or anyone who has never tried Jane Austen before. I look forward to my 3rd read of this one day!
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LibraryThing member pingdjip
At first, I thought of this book as just a pamphlet of the lesser gentry, directed at the rich nobility: oh please let us in, we’re not all as impolite as mrs. Bennet!
But gradually I fell for it because of everything that everybody’s always talking about. The tension in Darcy’s and
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Elisabeth’s conversations, their determination to cut eachother down to size and the gradual changing of their feelings. The very girly closeness of Elisabeth to sister Jane and her intimite conversations with mrs Gardiner and Charlotte Lucas. The hilarious jokes of her father that only Elisabeth seems to get. The embarrassment that Elisabeth feels over her mother. The sometimes serious and attentive, at other times mercilessly mocking observations of people and their interactions. And yes, also suspense: will they end up together or not? You know the answer, but (to her credit) Austen makes you feel Elisabeth’s anxiety anyway.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Pride and Prejudice was my first foray into the world of Jane Austen, an author who - despite the sincere recommendation of friends - I had avoided throughout my adolescence. I think, all things considered, that this was probably for the best, as her subtle brand of humor would have been lost on my
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sincere - and VERY earnest - younger self. Like some other readers, moreover, I would have balked at the idea of reading an entire novel devoted to marriage-obsessed young ladies of the English landed gentry.

However that may be, I finally decided to read Miss Austen's magnum opus in December of 1995, in preparation for the release of the much-anticipated television miniseries (starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) in January 1996. How fortunate that I did! Captivated from the very first line, in which Austen ironically casts her domestic tale in heroic terms - "It is a truth universally acknowledged..." - I quickly discovered that here was an author of lightning-quick wit and sly wordplay, whose keen observations of the world around her are as relevant today as when she first wrote them in 1812.

The tale of judgmental Elizabeth Bennett and stiff Mr. Darcy, two stubborn souls who eventually learn how to accommodate one another, plays out against the backdrop of an England just on the cusp of sweeping change. The slow disappearance of bloodline as the sole means of determining social status is just beginning to be felt, a reality best exemplified perhaps, by the figure of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who represents an earlier generation...

Here is no sweeping social commentary, ala Dickens; nor any of that Gothic rebellion to be found in the Brontës. Rather, Austen simply observed the people of her own time and class, and in setting down those observations, created a portrait of the human condition in miniature.
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LibraryThing member sammylinn
I LOVE this book!
LibraryThing member kristi25
Not much happens during the book. Mostly they sit around and talk, but the characters and dialogue are what make this book so enjoyable. They are so rich, and although they set in a story 200 years ago, they are still relevant. We all know people like Mr. Collins the incredibly annoying social
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climber, Lydia the silly boy-crazy girl, Mrs. Bennet the overzealous embarrassing mother, and Lady Catherine the condescending know-it-all aristocrat. They are all so irritating in the book but in a way that helps you appreciate Austen's wit. Most of the humorous passages deal with their ridiculousness.

I love Elizabeth Bennet's and her liveliness. Her banter with Mr. Darcy is so refreshing when compared to many of the other stuffy characters. I also love Mr. Darcy (I think I may have a crush on him). He was prideful at the beginning, but I think he is greatly misunderstood. I think he is simply shy. He even says in the book that it is not his talent to converse easily with those he has recently met. I feel his pain. I am incredibly shy and when I first meet people, I think they get the wrong impression of me. Many mistake shyness in social settings with arrogance. Trust me; it's not.

I would recommend Pride and Prejudice to everyone. Much is said of the romance aspect of this book, but I think people sell this book short when they focus on that. The social commentary and Austen's subtle humor add additional layers. It is by far my favorite book and I will read it again and again.
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LibraryThing member Cecrow
I've dodged this one for years but I grew tired of losing at the trivia questions. I don't find Jane Austen's work as immediately likeable as I do Charlotte Bronte or Dickens so it requires more patience, but once I'm in the water's fine. Characters aren't introduced quite smoothly and it strikes
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me there's a bit of awkwardness in getting the plot rolling but this is because, similar to the way "Emma" began (the only other Austen I've read), there's a practically invisible shift from the opening omniscient narrator toward third-person that you just don't see done anymore. It was probably conventional at the time of writing. I'm a little irked when Austen skirts away from dialogue, summarizing it instead of sharing it with us, and in some key moments no less.

I fully anticipated a story about who's making eyes at who, but I didn't even have time to smirk before I was immediately engaged by Mr. Bennet. In the midst of all this fuss he's entirely sympathetic, first for having five daughters, second for his worldview that is admirably tolerant and disengaged from pressure to see his daughters well married before being happily married. Given so much riding on how his estate is obliged to be disposed of for lack of male offspring, he's refreshingly cavalier and keeps his priorities straight. His daughter Elizabeth would like to see him to take a stronger hand in the family, but she ought to be grateful he's the way he is. And he's a hilarious scene stealer.

Elizabeth Bennet does not at once have the spotlight on her, but she soon emerges as the daughter to watch and from whose viewpoint the story is being told. She's another pleasant surprise, filled with self-confidence and determination, though still careful to observe proprieties. She and her sister Jane are sharp as tacks and strive to be fair when guessing the motives and feelings of others. When they overlook something, it's not for lack of trying. I like a level-headed heroine, one who isn't swept off her feet by the first fellow to bat an eye. Much as I like Elizabeth, I question the realism. Contrast with her friend Charlotte's mindset: "Marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want." I suspect that's the reality of the times stated plain and Elizabeth's life is the fantasy, but it's Elizabeth we better sympathize with these two hundred years later. That's good news for us, and for Jane Austen's legacy.
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LibraryThing member Smiler69
What can I say? At the beginning of the book, I felt like I was reading Sense and Sensibility all over again, only without all the amusing bits about John and Fanny Dashwood. I failed to be captivated by the hysterical Mrs Bennet and her indifferent husband, and the arrival of Darcy on the scene
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was underwhelming at best. Jane and Elizabeth's time at Bingley's became more interesting by degrees and I was especially thankful for the arrival of Mr Collins, a wonderful caricature of obnoxiousness which livened things up quite a bit for me. By the time Elizabeth was off visiting Charlotte and her cousin, I finally started to understand what all the fuss about this novel was about, and thought that Austen's portrayal of the unbearable Mrs Catherine de Bourgh was simply perfect. Followed Darcy's letter to Elizabeth explaining himself, in which the cardboard cutout with the word "Pride" printed on it, finally started becoming a man. All things went quite well after that, until all the fuss about Lydia began.

I understand perfectly well that early 19th century England had vastly different moral standards than our own. I frequently read authors from (admittedly later) in that century and never question that fact, but I couldn't help becoming more and more annoyed about all the fuss that was being made about Lydia, and all the talk about the unbearable shame brought on to the family. At this point, I made a comment on my thread which was perhaps a small cry for help; it was something along the lines of not giving a flying *you-know-what* about what happened to the girl. Shortly after that, aggravation became complete exasperation when I tried with great difficulty to wade through several passages of prose so convoluted that I couldn't make heads nor tails of it, which is when my temper got the better of me and I promptly hurled the book across the room, only to have it bounce right back at me. So I picked it up again and made myself finish the book in one sitting. By the end, I was willing to make peace with Jane Austen again.

All's well that ends well, right? Wrong. Because seriously, do I need yet another dysfunctional relationships in my life, and with an author who's been dead for nearly two hundred years at that? I guess the only way to know for sure whether or not I'll ever get complete satisfaction from her books is to keep trying again and again until I either: a) Become a hard-core Jane Austen devotee and earn the approval of her legions of adoring fans or b) Throw myself off a bridge, because really, is life worth living if I don't have it in me to enjoy such a fantastic author? or c) Decide once and for all to stop trying so hard; I doubt Jane Austen will be spinning in her grave because this humble reader doesn't get what all the fuss is about.
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LibraryThing member rizeandshine
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man (or woman) in possession of a good mind must be in want of the book Pride and Prejudice.However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, this truth is so well fixed
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in the minds of the surrounding Jane Austen fans, that he is considered as having joined their ranks before ever having finished Chapter 1."My dear Mr. Grimm," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Pride and Prejudice is one of the most entertaining and humorous books ever written, not to mention one of the earliest romantic comedies?"Mr. Grimm replied that he had not."But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."Mr. Grimm made no answer."Do not you want to know what it is all about?" cried his wife impatiently."You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."This was invitation enough."Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that the book is about about the five Bennet sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia and how their lives are changed when a handsome young man and his friend come into the neighborhood.""What is his name?""Bingley.""Is he married or single?""Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for those girls!""How so? how can it affect them?""My dear Mr. Grimm," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.""Is that his design in settling there?""Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must read the book as soon as it comes.""I see no occasion for that. You may read it, as you are a much faster reader than I, while I prefer to take my time over more manly tomes, such as Bleak House, by Charles Dickens.""My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of books, but I do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now. When a woman has two grown teenagers, she ought to give over thinking of her own reading enjoyment and become taxi driver for her children.""In such cases, a woman has not often much time to think of.""But, my dear, you must indeed read Pride and Prejudice when it comes from Amazon.""It is more than I engage for, I assure you.""But consider your children. Only think how wonderful it would be for you to discuss the novel with one of them. Eva has already read the book and I do believe is half in love with Mr. Darcy herself. Of course, she did see the movie with Colin Firth in a wet shirt, but that is neither here nor there. You owe it to your children to discover the importance of social class in the novel, male and female attitudes toward relationships and the social criticism of the era’s view of marriage. Indeed you must read it, for it will be impossible for us to discuss the novel at length, if you do not.""You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Pride and Prejudice will be a wonderful reading experience for you; and I will send a few lines by you to Amazon to assure other readers that this book is not one to be missed.""Mr. Grimm, how can you abuse me in such way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves.""You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.""Ah! you do not know what I suffer.""But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many wonderful novels of 400 pages come into the house.""It will be no use to us if twenty such should come, since you will not read them.""Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty I will read them all."Mr. Grimm was so odd a mixture of German heritage, sarcastic humour, electric orange shirts, and beekeeping, that the experience of one and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develope. She was a woman of impatience, little information, and Facebook. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get everyone to read her favorite books; its solace was reading novels herself and watching Russell Crowe movies.(My apologies to Jane Austen)
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LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
I finally got around to reading this book - I tried reading it a few times, but couldn't get past the language. Then I saw the BBC production, finally figured out what was going on, and reread the book. I had a greater grasp of what was happening.

This book is much better than the BBC Version, and
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the BBC version is awesome. What makes this book so good is the restraint that Darcy and Lizzy show towards their family, friends, and acquaintances while at the same time commenting on exactly how silly those same people are behaving. Austin might create long winded paragraphs, but so much is said in described that you get a very clear picture of exactly what is happening, and how the characters feel about it. My one and only complaint is Mr. WIckhams motive with Lydia - she has no money, but comes from a respectable family. He is also intends to marry a women with money. So why would he go off with Lydia - there would have been all sorts of loose women that would have settled his needs without the trouble that Lydia Caused.
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LibraryThing member Stewartry
It had been some time since I read Pride and Prejudice (I just found a books-read list from 2007, so apparently four years), and my pleasure in reconnecting with the story via audiobook outweighed a somewhat inadequate reader. I listened to a Librivox recording as hosted by the Craftlit podcast (to
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which I was referred by Chop Bard), and I actually gave it up after part of the first episode. But I like Heather Ordover quite a lot, and her comments are part of why I went back – along with, simply, Jane. And Lizzie.

I really did try not to complain about the reader. But by the halfway point I couldn't stopper it up any more. Since this is a Librivox recording, which means it was read by a volunteer, I'm not about to call out the reader by name; she's not a professional, and she was doing this as a service, and that's terrific, and I'm not going to have my complaining pop up if she or anyone else searches her name. This is also why I tried very hard to be charitable toward her. And her enjoyment in reading the story came through frequently, which made up for a lot. Unfortunately, the lack of professionalism was glaringly obvious, and the issues seemed to mount up as the book went on. There were odd cadences to her reading – emphasis placed on utterly wrong parts of a sentence, sometimes even to the point that the meaning was skewed. An increasing number of words and names were mispronounced (for example, taciturn and profligacy) or pronounced oddly (such as DeBourgh); she seemed flustered every time she encountered one of Miss Austen's Regency-Era "—Shire" and "Colonel —" and such. (I'm curious about how other readers handle that little conundrum.) Also, she seemed easily confused when reading a conversation between two characters, which led to confusion in the listening: in a few scenes where two people for whom she used different tones (in a couple of cases a man and a woman) were discussing something, suddenly the two voices switched – she lost track of who was saying what, and the result was a marked lack of sense. And for several chapters she seemed to have bronchitis, to the extent that I wondered why she didn't just hold off recording till she could breathe again.

The book, however, was a delight. Of course. It's Pride and Prejudice. There are very few things in life that live up to the hype. Partly due to the infamous clinging-wet-shirt incident, and partly due to Keira Knightley, P&P is the flagship of Austeniana, the one even non-Janeites will have a flicker of recognition for. I've never heard too many people say they don't like it – apart from Mark Twain - and it's hard not to take against someone who does say so. Even Mark Twain. Because it's Pride and Prejudice. It's that good. It's not my favorite - Persuasion is that – but it's almost as close as makes no difference. Lizzie Bennet of the fine eyes and the sharp wit, and Mr. Darcy of the taciturn nature and concealed deep feelings (and ten thousand a year!); Jane of the sweet and retiring nature and Mr. Bingley of the big heart and small affection for books… And there has never been a more finely drawn picture of a realistically socially inept family. Everyone knows someone like at least one of the Bennet ladies.

It still always gives me pause when Mr. Bennet is included among the family members who could not do more to humiliate themselves and Lizzie and Jane if they tried. It's the films' fault, I think; he is so obviously so much more sensible than his wife that it's rather easy to overlook his abruptness, his impatience with the social graces which allows him to say whatever he thinks and pleases without regard to how it might be received. He is almost presentable – but not quite.

It also gives me pause to realize that some of Mary's pompous utterings sound an awful lot like me:

To this Mary very gravely replied, "Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures! They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. But I confess they would have no charms for me—I should infinitely prefer a book."
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LibraryThing member DBJones
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is perhaps the ultimate romantic creation, and unlike many of the men in romantic or other fiction is (like most men) a bit of a d*ck. While women's literary fancies switch between Highlanders, Vampires (sparkly and traditional), rugged cowboys and untamed natives, knights,
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dastardly lords and more, Mr Darcy has the staying power to have been lusted after since he was first published and will continue to be.

The novel itself, Jane Austen's most famous work, is a very funny look at the dating habits of her time and like all her novels, the characters are all wonderfully realistic and are as relevant today as they were when the book was first published.
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LibraryThing member crazybatcow
I read this in tandem with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in order to determine just how well the latter had been blended into the former.

I certainly would not have enjoyed this book on its own as it's very, err, slow. And classic. And foreign. And I don't really care about nice white middle class
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women's dilemmas over which nice white upper class man they are going to marry.
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LibraryThing member mkschoen
Re-reading from what, high school English?As a 16-year-old I *hated* this book, and the Brontes, and my junior year British literature class. But wandering around the house with nothing to read I decided to try again, and I'm pleased to discover that either the book got better (not likely) or I've
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matured, and this is a delightful book, and I love Mr. Darcy. (But after a similar attempt with Wuthering Heights, I still want to punch Heathcliff in the face.)
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LibraryThing member silkypumpkin
I was very surprised that I loved this book. Usually romance is not my thing but it was funny and interesting and kept moving. I satisfied my girly urge to gossip. Any girl who likes gossip and romance will love it, anyone who doesn't like those things will find it boring.


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