Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Pride and Prejudice" Again and Again

Once again, I savored every word of the novel. I laughed in recognition at favorite parts; I was eager for the story to continue; I appreciated bits that I have read and heard many times but just now suddenly focused on as if for the first time; I loved every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. Yes, readers, I have just listened yet again to the beloved novel I have read and listened to on tape or CD so many times that I have completely lost count: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” I re-read all of Austen's novels many times, and never tire of any of them, but most especially I never tire of this one. I know this extreme fandom is completely unoriginal; the novel has had millions of readers and admirers over the years, from scholars to fans known as Janeites. And on the surface, it is hard to explain why this novel is so great, and why I love it so much. Yes, I am an Anglophile, and yes, I enjoy novels about women’s lives and relationships. Yes, Austen is incredibly psychologically and socially astute and aware of how people think and behave, with every little foible and self-delusion noted. And yes, her witty observations and dialogue are unmatched. But none of that explains Austen’s novels’ appeal adequately. I have tried to explain a bit on this blog – see my posts of 1/25/10, 10/31/10, 12/16/10, 2/15/11, and 2/27/12, for example – but I know my words have been most inadequate. In any case, I will keep re-reading and re-listening to "Pride and Prejudice" for the rest of my reading days, and it will always be an unfailing and thorough pleasure to do so.

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