Austentatious Book Club: Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Booktuber ReadByZoe has recently started the Austentatious Book Club, reading none other than Jane Austen herself for the next six months! This month we read Pride and Prejudice. 

I read it once before long ago and I have watched the adaptations so many times I know them by heart so I was very excited to begin. I have really enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice this month. As much as I love the BBC adaptations, the actors can only convey so much in a longing glance whereas the book goes into so much detail about what the look conveys. Austen really understands the temperaments and motivations of different types of people.I love all the rich descriptions of Longbourn and Meryton and their inhabitants. 

One of the reasons I love Jane Austen so much is not just because of the romance but because of the way she portrays the relationships between sisters. Like Lizzie Bennet I have 4 siblings (three of them are sisters). And when I was first introduced to Pride and Prejudice I marvelled at how alike our family dynamics were. I particularly like this passage from Chapter 6: “Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, was always impatient for display” (38). In the scene Lizzie had just finished playing for the party at the behest of Charlotte Lucas and was well received by the guests and immediately Mary steps in to show off her superior skills. The passage later goes on to say that although Mary is more accomplished “Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been listened to with much more pleasure, though not playing half so well” (38). The way Mary is quick to show off after Lizzie has the spotlight reminds me so much of my siblings and I. We are a very loving family and get along well but there is always a underlying layer of competition to the things we do. When we were younger we were always measuring ourselves against the other, often struggling to distinguish ourselves (which is even more difficult in the case of my sisters Melanie and Allison who are twins!). Now that we are all ‘grown ups’, I try to put that sense competition in the past, but like Charlotte Lucas I am 27 and unmarried and feel like I have catching up to do to my older sister who is married with two children.

Besides the relationships between the sisters, I am really reading Jane Austen for the romance. The initial dislike between Lizzie and Darcy which grows into admiration and love is wonderful to read. 

I love Pride and Prejudice but it is not my favourite of Austne's novels. My favourite of her books has to be Sense and Sensibility. I was first introduced to Jane Austen through the film version of Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet when I was eight years old and my older sister was nine. Although we had a little trouble following the storyline, we were captivated by the manners and the clothes of the characters, and we marvelled at the similarities of ourselves to the two elder Dashwood sisters (Amanda is a total Marianne whereas I am more like the quiet Elinor). 

I had a lot of fun reading Pride and Prejudice this month and look forward to reading another Austen classic in September. 

(me pretending to write some correspondence like a Jane Austen heroine)

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  1. I adore pride and prejudice! Who doesn't love mr Darcy ;) I want to re read it to.... If I can find the time maybe I'll join you.... Eleanor!

  2. Well, Marianne, there is a very good audiobook on youtube you can listen to if the girls won't let you sit down and read ( the reader does accents and different voices and everything!


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