Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reading Diary #299- Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice (FINISHED)

The other day at work a copy of the 1997 Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Guide mysteriously appeared on the counter. I loved flicking through it and reminiscing about the Matthew visit and other attractions of the island's so-called 500th year. It occurred to me that if time travel existed such out-dated travel guides would be as good as the present day ones. Think of the possibilities: Fodor's Ming-Dynasty China Exploration, Frommer's 15th Century France, and so on.

As my description implies at the top of my blog, I often treat books this way: like travel guides. That might be part of the reason why I couldn't get into Pride and Prejudice. I would simply never want to visit early 1800s England, or at least Austen's version. As a travel destination it ranks just behind present day Vegas (no offense to those who love the place, it's just not my scene at all).

But negativity aside, I did enjoy the 2nd half of the book a little more. As Ms. Place pointed out in my first post about this book, the characters are richly drawn and as the story progresses I was able to respect that a lot more. At first, everyone seemed pretty much one and the same, but differences eventually seeped through and sometimes the worst of the bunch were also the most entertaining. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is perhaps the best example, and it's hard not to relish the scene when she tries in vain to convince Elizabeth to reject any possible proposals from Darcy.

To say Pride and Prejudice is a romance brings up connotations of flaky literature without any real value asides from cheap entertainment. That's not true. There's a lot more going on in terms of social commentary, character development, and perhaps more. Personally, I never really connected to see what else it had to offer and I also felt it dragged too much in the beginning, but I can see why it has its supporters.

6 comments:

Imani said...

An admirable attempt. ;) I do wish I could have access to the uncensored version though.

John Mutford said...

Imani: You could always write that one. I smell best-seller!

Carrie K said...

I'm still gobsmacked to have present day Las Vegas and Jane Austen's England in the same category.

Granted, the category is Places John Mutford Would Rather Not Be but still.

Dewey said...

I've loved this book since my best friend first passed it on to me when we were 15. :) Such nice memories! Anyway, I would love to visit that time and place, but I'm with you on the Vegas thing. Flashing lights, desperate people and 110 degrees? No thanks!

John Mutford said...

Carrie: Let's throw Kandahar into the mix for a really eccentric list.

Dewey: Yet some people are into it. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Imani said...

I actually intend to post about one aspect of her novels I find troublesome, but it has as much to do with how people describe her books than anything else.