It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is a bomb-ass book.
Today is the two hundredth birthday of one of the most seminal novels in all of history: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And even though this is a YA blog, I feel compelled to celebrate this momentous occasion, because few books have ever personally affected me like Jane Austen has.
I may have mentioned this once or twice or a million times, but I am an Austen nut. And the amazing thing is, so are so many people. There are thousands of Jane Austen inspired Pinterest boards, fanfiction accounts, novel series, movies, crafts, going literally on and on forever. I mean, Jane Austen herself is on FACEBOOK. The thing about Jane Austen books is that people don't just read them and enjoy them; they want to crawl inside and live them. It's not just me, either: series like Lost in Austen prove this is a fantasy for a lot of people. We even like it with zombies added.
It's not just the world, though. People are still drawn to the story even when it's taken out of historical context, because P&P is probably the most brilliant and plotty of all of Jane's novels (I say Jane like we're best buds, BECAUSE WE ARE), which is way updates such as Bridge Jones' Diary and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries exist.
People argue that Jane Austen's books were too light, too narrow, too limited.
But boy, do I think they're wrong. It's a different kind of passion, a clearer, more realistic view of love, dealing with the only themes that mattered at all in Jane Austen's time: getting married. One could argue that the tiny, understated actions that Mr. Darcy takes-- inviting Elizabeth to meet his sister, plunging off to London to hunt down the perfidious Wickham all in seeeeecret-- are some of the most romantic moments in literature.
Plus, Jane was quite a modern lady. She was modern, and witty, and while hardly a revolutionary, not only depicts strong ladies of character, but social mobility in her novels. True, it's all gained through MARRYING UP, but still. There's a reason Elizabeth is the most beloved of all her heroines (and the inspiration for my middle name. Now you know what the e in my url means! Because some evil alt-Gillian Berry out there was already using Gillian Berry dot BlogSpot.). It's hard not to love a spunky, brilliant, flawed character who's willing to grow even in the most painful ways. We all want to be Elizabeth. We all learn with her. She's not a bland, idealized heroine, like most female characters were in that era (see Camilla, Pamela, etc.). She's real.
|Plus she likes book so obviously she's the best|
And then there is the delightful Darcy. Sigh. Misunderstood, painfully shy, yet full of pride both necessary and excessive. Tall, rich, beautiful, and OH. SO. IN. LOVE. I think that's what truly so appealing about him-- how much he loves Elizabeth, his opposite in nearly every way. He's really just but a big old socially uncomfortable softie under that brooding exterior.
So that's only a little sliver about why I love Pride and Prejudice, besides the fact that it taught me to read, bonded me with my mother, and inspired MANY A CRAFT PROJECT that I maybe will share when my camera gets in working order. Here are some links to help you celebrate this special day and this special book. Even those of you who have yet to read it can enjoy these.
Pride and Prejudice told through Facebook
12 Facts you probably didn't know about Pride and Prejudice
One of many Jane Austen-inspired Etsy shops, and my personal fave (I WANT those Darcy proposal mugs)
My Jane Austen-tatious Pinterest board! Still in its early stages.
The BBC recreated the Netherfield ball and I am bummed I wasn't there.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Who is your Definitive Darcy? (I'm Team Firth). And Elizabeth? (I like Kiera). Why do you love P&P? Why do you not? Why haven't you gotten around to reading it yet? How many copies do you own? (Five. Yes, FIVE.)