“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Two hundred years ago today, Pride and Prejudice was published. It’s amazing to think a book that was written so long ago is still so popular today. It’s also my favourite book so I had to mark the occasion with a post.
“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.”
I first read it in my early teens. My first experience of Jane Austen was the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I watched it on TV with my mum and was enchanted by the costumes, the courtship, the balls, the Bennet sisters and, of course, the romance between witty Elizabeth Bennet and dashing Mr Darcy. And I don’t think any of us can not enjoy the lake scene
That adaptation kicked started my love of all things Austen. I went to Winchester for the day and brought my first Austen novels – Pride and Prejudice, of course, and Sense and Sensibility. I loved the books as much as the TV show and I was hooked. I read all of her novels and became a fan – although I was less sure of Mansfield Park as we had to read it for English Lit A Level and studying a book sometimes lessens my enjoyment of it. Through the years I’ve re-read them all and what I enjoy changes each time, there seems to always be something new to discover. I have even learnt to enjoy Mansfield Park!
“My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
I have not only enjoyed the books and the numerous TV adaptations there have been of Austen since. I have also visited her house in Hampshire and marvelled at the pretty cottage where she wrote many of her books. I also went to Bath, where she lived for many years and which appears in her books. They have a museum there and the whole place seems steeped in Austen history. I am constantly fascinated by the world her characters inhabit.
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
Yet my love of Austen always comes back to this book. It’s the one I have read the most and I love it as much as I did the very first time. It’s hard to explain why I enjoy it still. Perhaps it’s the study of human nature, the transportation back in time, the well rounded characters, the humour or the romance. Perhaps it’s the fairytale story of a love that sparks across social divides. Perhaps it’s the language. Perhaps it’s the wit and irony. Perhaps it’s the age-old story of opposites attracting. Most likely, it’s all of these things plus the mysterious X Factor that favourite books have. You can’t fully explain your love because love itself is unexplainable.
“Till this moment I never knew myself.”
So happy birthday Pride and Prejudice and thank you Ms Austen for writing it. You have given me the most enduring love of my life so far.
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Tell me – what’s your favourite book?