Look. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books where if you haven’t read it, can you really call yourself a reader? The Austen fan club is enormous, and spans across centuries. What is it about Austen’s work that makes it so unforgettable? Many a romance has been based on Pride and Prejudice, which is essential hate sex in its most gentle form. Elizabeth, proud and strong and independent, hates Mr Darcy because he’s— quiet? Socially awkward? Rich? All of the above? And then somehow, Mr Darcy proves himself to be anything but the prejudices Elizabeth has placed upon him.
By “somehow” I mean 300 pages of frustration because COME ON, LIZ. Get it together.
I’m currently taking a class on Jane Austen and what I’ve learned in the first 3 weeks is that Austen’s literature is much darker and much more sexual than what appears to the eye. It’s no secret that Austen’s works are hard to get through: her style and narrative form (free indirect discourse in abundance!) make reading her novels tough. There is little action: the novels run on emotion and thought alone. The setting and plot feels so far away from us, but are they really? Clearly not, because these stories are being told and retold over and over again.
Pride and Prejudice is a great novel, but I want to discover is what makes it so great. What is it about this story that makes people want to tell and retell it over and over, in one thousand different forms, and in every fandom ever.
P & P is one of my favourite love stories, yet I still don’t understand it. Do we identify with Elizabeth, or Darcy, or both? Is Pride and Prejudice a universal truth, or is there something playing underneath the surface, something subconscious that draws us in?
Say what you want about Austen’s style, but I think it’s impossible to call her anything but genius.