September 2, 2008

Classics Bookclub #1 - Pride & Prejudice

If there were one woman in all of literature I could be, it would be Elizabeth Bennet. I simply adore her...her wit, her loyalty, her intelligence, and, most of all, her spunk. If I couldn't be her, I would certainly like to have a friend like her. I guess that's why I've lost track of the number I've times I've read Pride and Prejudice. It's my favorite. book. ever. In fact, when I was pregnant with CJ, I determined that if I had a boy, his name would be Bennet.

So, you can imagine that I was all a quiver when I learned that this book would be our first selection for the 5 Minutes for Books Classics Bookclub. As if I needed an excuse to read P&P again (well, actually I did, since I've got so many books waiting to be reviewed...but I was willing to sacrifice!)

My good friend Lisa agreed to host the first installment of the Bookclub, as P&P is also her favorite book. Like Lisa, I'm not one to ramble on about character development, subplot, irony and such. I just know a good read when I see one. (And, like Lisa, I admit that Mr. Darcy is reason alone to read P&P over and over, and over again!)

I started reading this time with a couple of Lisa's questions in mind:

Did anything strike you differently this time? Anything you hadn’t noticed in earlier readings?

As a matter of fact, yes. I paid more attention to Elizabeth's relationship with Lady Catherine, particularly the exchange concerning Elizabeth's rumored engagement to Mr. Darcy. I was delighted at the fortitude with which Lizzy, a mere gentleman's daughter of no fortune, responded to Lady Catherine, a real hoity-toity. Considering that class was such a defining measure of a person in that day and time, Elizabeth showed more nerve than common sense. In the end, it got her the man she loved.

Do you have any favorite lines of the novel?

Of course, the Darcy/Elizabeth sparring scenes are sentimental favorites. But I have others:

"You have no compassion on my poor nerves." (Mrs. Bennet)

"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." (Mr. Bennet)

Had Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn from her own family, she could not have formed a very pleasing picture of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort.

"Because honor, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us." (Lady Catherine)

"These are heavy misfortunes," replied Elizabeth. "But the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine."

I could go on and on, but don't take my word for it. Click here to read what others are saying.


Leah in Iowa said...

Browsing my book closet for a great book to bring with camping last weekend, I chose P&P. I read it for the first time last year, and am enjoying it again now. I am considering reading more of Jane Austen after this. What do you recommend?

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I've been missing out apparently, but I really did find it delightful. That's the perfect description.

Nise' said...

Great P & P post! I am still laughing about Mr. Bennet being old friends with Mrs. Bennet's nerves.

Amy Guerino said...

Thanks for the reminder of the Classics Bookclub. So, you don't have a boy yet....? Will you still name him Bennet if you do?
I was inspired to name my child after a character in the book. :)

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