In April my book club read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice again. Rereading it is like reliving a delightful vacation. The characters and events become more vivid this time ’round.
This time when I read it, I was more aware of Lydia’s selfishness and cluelessness. (I’ve gotten that before, but this time it rang louder.) I think watching so many current movies, set in any era, I’ve subconsiously bought into our era’s feeling that “oh, it’s okay to impetuous.” Though Austen’s writings aren’t overtly religious, her message is clear that Lydia’s going to have a rough life and that foolish decisions don’t just turn out okay. Our society seems to have lost that notion. (Yep, I guess that observation shows why I’m so at home in Austen’s world.) I also read with a keen view to seeing when Darcy falls for Lizzy and vice versa as that was a question I’d read in a list of discussion questions.
I do wonder how it was that Darcy’s love wasn’t crushed after Lizzy refused him and wounded his pride so. Yes, he changed her view of him with his letter, but he didn’t know that. I’ve seen the series with Colin Firthand the film with Matthew MacFayden and like them both. The BBC production with Firth is longer and can cover every scene in the book, while the film left things out. I am fine with any traditional adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Just spare me anything with zombies.
My heart always goes out to Charlotte. I just could not have made that choice. I don’t have or even want to have the patience to marry for security. She was practical and no one made her marry Collins. After reading about book club member Cortney’s footnotes in her annotated version, I went over to my library’s website and did some research. I found an interesting short article that hypothesized that Lady Catherine’s social standing wasn’t what she presented or that at least at one point in life her ideas about class weren’t what they are during the novel.
Rosings, as Austen says, is a modern—that is, Georgian—building, and its glazing came at Sir Lewis de Bourgh’s expense. It was not uncommon for the daughters of nobility, like Lady Catherine, the daughter of an earl, to marry wealthier men of lower social rank but higher economic standing. In fact, her late sister, Lady Anne Darcy, did just this: she married Darcy’s father, who came from the “honorable [. . .] though untitled” (394) family that owned Pemberley, which is obviously not a “modern” building, as its library holdings are “the work of many generations” (41). The wealthy commoner husband certainly gained prestige by marrying a wife who retained her paternal courtesy title, as Ladies Catherine and Anne did.
When Lady Catherine visits Elizabeth to command her not to marry Darcy, she states that both the Darcys and the de Bourghs are “ancient” families (394).4 But is Lady Catherine’s veracity to be trusted? In her angry hysteria at this moment, she also insists that her nephew, Darcy, and her daughter, Anne, “are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses” (394). Yet Darcy himself neither believes this promise nor chooses his life’s mate with regard for any such promise. Moreover, the convivially chatty, even gossipy, Colonel Fitzwilliam never mentions any intention of his cousins to marry. Indeed, when the Colonel tells Elizabeth that Darcy is procrastinating on their departure from Rosings, he has no idea why and never surmises that it has anything to do with a potential de Bourgh–Darcy marriage. Even if the de Bourghs are an “ancient,” extremely wealthy family, as Lady Catherine insists, Austen suggests that they did not have a great country house until Sir Lewis de Bourgh built Rosings. Not only does the narrator undercut Lady Catherine’s pride by giving her a “modern-built house,” rather than a distinguished older house, but the man who paid for the house’s original glazing and the man who brags about its costs do, too.
RAY, JOAN KLINGEL. “Pride and Prejudice: The Tale Told by Lady Catherine’s House.” Explicator 2008: 66. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 2 May 2012.
I do wonder what happens to these characters after the story’s end. I haven’t read any of the modern sequels expecting that none would meet my expectations. Has anyone else read any of them? Any recommendations?
- The Cult of Lady Catherine de Bourgh (thechristianreader.org)
- The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, by Regina Jeffers – A Review (austenprose.com)
- Pride and Prejudice Review/ Analysis (gentelmansblog.wordpress.com)
- More Pride & Prejudice 🙂 (aerykah.wordpress.com)
- Mr. Darcy’s Proposal, by Susan Mason-Milks – A Review (austenprose.com)
- The Journey, by Jan Hahn – A Review (austenprose.com)
- When Mr. Darcy First Spoke to Me (reginajeffers.wordpress.com)
- Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton (ov099.wordpress.com)
- Week 6 – Research Post – Before Colin Firth……… (austenuvu.wordpress.com)
- Austenesque Author of the Month – Laura Hile: Guest Blog & Giveaway! (austenprose.com)
- Regina Jeffers’ Interview and Excerpt from “The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy” (reginajeffers.wordpress.com)
- The Three Colonels Blog Tour with Author Jack Caldwell & Giveaway (austenprose.com)
- PD James, Death comes to Pemberley (Review, sorta) (whisperinggums.wordpress.com)
- Pride and Prejudice, the Web Diary Edition (newsfeed.time.com)
- Pride and Prejudice Ch. 30-40 (marihatesreadingbuttries.wordpress.com)