The Classics Club: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Countless people have read this during their schooling, many more people have watched one of its multiple adaptations, and pretty much everyone has encountered one of the many spin-off characters and stories this book has inspired. So why have I not read this book till now?! Of Austen’s other work I have read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and most recently Persuasion. I knew as soon as I joined The Classics Club that Pride and Prejudice would have to be my next Austen read.

Pride and Prejudice follows the life of Elizabeth Bennet the second of five daughters born to a country gentlemen. The Bennet family comprises of the foolish Mrs Bennet, the eccentric Mr Bennet, and their five daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine (Kitty), and Lydia. As the Bennet’s have no son their country estate will go to a distant male cousin, fretful her daughters will be left destitute Mrs Bennet has become obsessed with seeing them all well married. With Jane and Elizabeth being the eldest most of their mother’s attention is on them. It is through the eyes and experiences of Elizabeth and Jane that we are shown the complicated nature of society and of finding a husband during the Regency period. The catalyst that starts it all off is the arrival of the young, handsome, and wealthy Mr Bingley to their small community, who brings with him his handsome, wealthier, but not so agreeable friend Mr Darcy.

I have been on a comfort read mission recently after finishing off the delightful Georgian mystery The Deathly Portent I was keen to stay in the past and so reached for my ultimate comfort read author. Even though Austen’s work can often be quite heart-breaking there is always that moral cushion and lively characters to lift you up. My expectations were high as I picked up Pride and Prejudice for the first time, there was nothing to fear though I simply loved this book! After the opening lines I was pretty much hooked and would happily have not emerged until I had finished the whole book. Unfortunately work, eating, sleeping and so forth got in the way and did have to be parted from this charming tale a few times. I do find it funny how a book with very so little live action could be so gripping? I think the use of letters was one of the key elements to keeping the reader gripped, just as much as the characters who were waiting for news. It is a wonderful look into how frustrating it must have been waiting for important news without the aid of phones, mobiles, and the internet!

My classic reading seems to be taking somewhat of a theme as my last classic read was Little Women which followed the four March sisters while Pride and Prejudice of course follows the five Bennet sisters, however these sisters aren’t that much a like. For one I did not love all the Bennet sisters like I did the Marchs. The eldest sister Jane is kind, well-mannered, beautiful, and always see the best in others (sometimes too much). Elizabeth our main protagonist is attractive, witty, intelligent, but can suffer from her pride. Mary is rather plain and so makes up for it by being well read, intelligent, and multi-talented. Then we have the two youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia who are just as foolish as their mother, vain, silly, and selfish. As you can see I wasn’t a huge fan of the youngest sisters. I think Jane was probably my favourite sister, not that I didn’t love Elizabeth but I thought she had more faults to deal with during the book. By the end of the book I loved Elizabeth just as much as Jane.

There is of course also the love interests and potentials husbands to consider in Pride and Prejudice. I find I never found myself falling into the trap of adoring Mr Wickham and despising Mr Darcy like Elizabeth does. From the start I thought Mr Wickham was a bit impertinent, and while Mr Darcy was aloof he was much better mannered. If I’m honest I was rather more charmed by Mr Bingley who I thought was just as lovely as Jane. I won’t say anymore though otherwise I will have given it all away! Needless to say Elizabeth’s and your own opinions on the key men of this story go through continual evolution during your progress through this book.

Overall I thought that Pride and Prejudice was a wonderful tale of young women trying to find their way in the world, and I think it really is full of universal truths that do not change during the ages. This book is as relevant today as it was then. I highly recommend this novel to those who are also interested in working their way through the classics. Of Austen’s work I now only have Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park to read.

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32 thoughts on “The Classics Club: Pride and Prejudice

  1. Unlike you, P&P is the first Jane Austen book that I’ve read. And I haven’t read any of her other books yet. I’m kind of afraid because of the standard that was set by P&P… Lizzy and Darcy are still my ideal hero & heroine up until now. It’s really hard to beat.

      1. Now, you make me feel excited, too. I might start my classic club or something, too. Since my blog is new and haven’t figure out what to focus on yet since I have a lot of things that I like aside from reading. haha.

  2. Aww, I’m happy you read and enjoyed Pride and Prejudice! If it makes you feel better about waiting, I read it when I was about twelve, and it took me another twelve years to come back to Austen at all. I’ve been trying to do one or two Austen a year recently, and hope to get to Northanger Abbey for the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. 🙂

  3. One of the Austens I have not yet discovered but the ones I have are good, and I loved Northanger Abbey more than Mansfield Park!

    I think because I have seen it on the screen both big and small so many times I am put off reading it.

    1. Ah interesting to hear from another Austen fan who hasn’t read this one Jo. I can see what you mean though this one has been adapted to death. From what a lot of you are telling me looks like I need to read Northanger Abbey next.

  4. I’m a little jealous of you getting to experience P&P for the first time so recently. 🙂 Emma was the first Austen I read as well, then P&P. When you get to Northanger Abbey, note that it’s supposed to be somewhat of a parody of Gothic novels. I didn’t get that the first time I read it and didn’t like it, but after I learned that I reread and LOVED it. It’s quite funny. After reading The Mysteries of Udolpho years later (one of the Gothic novels that comes up quite a bit in NA), I got a lot of humor even more.

    1. Aw Lindsey I’d never thought about it before but it must be a little sad to see someone experience one of your favourite books for the first time. Thank you for the warning though I didn’t know that Northanger Abbey was a parody. Has made me even more intrigued to read it now though. Love books with layers and references that you discover more of each time you read it again.

    2. I knew that Northanger Abbey was supposed to be a parody when I read it, but I may have been too young to appreciate exactly WHAT she was parodying. I plan on reading The Mysteries of Udolpho at some point, maybe I’ll re-read Northanger Abbey after I’ve done that. I’ve heard Udolpho is a hard slog though!

  5. This is certainly one of my favorite books. Good review! I’ve been wavering on joining the Classics Club because although I know I can read 50 classics in 5 years, I’m not certain I want to read 50 SPECIFIC classics. But it certainly looks like a lot of fun!

    1. Hello Rachel, thank you for stopping by and commenting. A lot of people seem to cite this as their favourite Austen. It is really interesting to hear your thoughts especially as this book is new for me. Definitely give the classics club a go you can always change your list as you and your reading change.

      1. I’m currently in the process of some re-reading the Austen books, and I started with Pride and Prejudice. I read the Norton Critical Review, though, and I haven’t finished some of the critiques yet…so my review is waiting for me to finish those. 🙂 It’ll be on my blog at some point.

        I decided I would join The Classics Club after all…and I can just sneakily remove books and substitute others as I read, I guess. There are some that I definitely want to finish in 5 years, but others that I say…”what if I go off on a tangent and start reading a bunch of Gothic novels, for instance? What then?” I’ll work it out. Thanks for the support. 😉

  6. well done for finishing this Jessica. I read about 100 pages and I am not really into the story yet. Perhaps I have been distracted. I hope it gets better!

    1. Thank you JoV! Have you read much Austen? Because I did notice this book had a slower start than previous books of Austen’s I’ve read but I love her style so much it didn’t really bother me. I do hope the book gets better for you 🙂

      1. P&P is my first. I’m ashamed to admit as the whole world seems to rave about Austen. So by hook or by crook I have to jump into the bandwagon fast! 🙂

    1. Hello Jillian how interesting that you didn’t like this the first time you read it. I must admit I was instantly hooked but then I again this was not my first Austen read. My first was Emma which a lot of fun to read so that made the read a lot easier.

  7. Seeing this in my feed reader made me smile. Interesting that you read three of her other books beforehand, though I reckon most are good introductions. You’ve said exactly what I often think – how can a book with little action be so gripping? I reckon it doesn’t work so well with contemporary fiction but that due to the period and society of the day, and let’s face it Austen is only describing the sorts of things that really happened, it works because it’s representative of reality back then. I’d agree that the letters help.

    I can remember all the sisters, but I don’t think there was enough about Mary to really recommend her beyond basic descriptions of her character, that and the others are just so lively. I feel bad to admit that though, considering Mary is musical and a reader.

    1. I’m glad to have made you smile Charlie. I didn’t really ever think through what order to read Austen’s work in it just happened. My friend at university lent me her copy of Emma so that’s where I started. I then moved on to Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion as I in turn picked up cheap copies of both.

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