Pride and Prejudice: Anybody for some humble-pie?

*Just to clarify: I have NOT watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I do plan on watching it at some stage, but for the moment I have too many TV series taking up my precious screen time.

Since coming to university, I have realised that I am not particularly in love with Jane Austen’s literature. I’ve read most of her books and there is something about the slow tempo of her novels, combined with the mixture of frock-ridden drags, old crocs, and rich snobs that makes me want to gag slightly. Poor feisty girl meets “I sat on a pinecone and liked it” Darcy and in the end they all live happily ever after.

I know I shouldn’t complain. I am an unrealistic idealist in the sense that I like happy endings. There is something lacking, however, in Austen’s stories. The laborious description of her characters and their surroundings, combined with the not-so-subtle social disparities of characters like Darcy and Lady Catherine all culminate in a rather tiring reading experience. The love between Jane and Bingley is so mild it reminds me of very milky, tepid tea (urgh)!

The romance between pompous Darcy and Elizabeth is about the only thing that endeared me to the book. Elizabeth had just enough spark and sarcasm to make me endure the stifling pace of the storyline. Darcy, on the other hand, was arrogant, haughty, and broody to the point of being interesting. His disdain had a bitter edge to it, but it at least had some flavour. If there is one thing that irritates me in a book, and this is purely my own sense of preference, it is a lack of passion between people in love. It would be unfair of me, however, to label Pride and Prejudice as a dispassionate romance because it is not. The passion in the book is merely restrained to the point of suffocation by the social requirements of the times. The characters noticeably bear the burden of ‘propriety’ and it just about kills all the depths of emotion that are apparent in characters like Elizabeth and Darcy.

Those are some of my own thoughts and concerns with the book. Feel free to disagree with me. I suppose I should conclude my feelings toward this novel as somewhat confused. I love it in a restrained way. 😉

What then do I think of Joe Wright’s film adaption of Pride and Prejudice? I absolutely and unequivocally love this movie! Kiera Knightley was a perfect choice for the character of Elizabeth Bennet. She was brazen enough without being improper, and she stayed true to the character. Dame Judi Dench, as Lady Catherine De Bourg, was utterly electrifying. I was completely engaged and thought that she nailed the regality of her role down to a tee. Those two actresses really stood out to me, but all in all I thought the movie was well-cast.

It was a beautiful film. The English countryside, the soundtrack and the clothing all screamed period piece, which I loved! There were obviously changes that were made to the storyline, but they were effective in creating a visually coherent counterpart to the book. There was just something about watching the movie adaption of Austen’s novel that made it more charming to the eye. My only critique of the movie was that it failed to bring across some of the wit in the dialogue of the book, which was slightly disappointing. All in all, however, the movie was like a breath of fresh air, and this was because it didn’t stick to the dusty verbatim of the book- an enlivening experience to say the least.

See! Who said a movie could never beat its book? I certainly didn’t!

Interesting Quick Fact: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was published in 2009 and written by Seth Grahame-Smith. It is a mash up of Austen’s novel with elements of modern zombie fiction. I have not read this book but if I ever come across it I will definitely give it go. It looks kind of funny, haha, anybody else read it? Opinions?

Advertisements