Il club di Jane Austen – Pride and prejudice
Written in 1813 by Jane Austen, Pride and prejudice is one of the most popular novels in English literature. Considered by its creator her “dear child”, the book was published for the first time at her own expense under the title First impressions.
The story tells about the meeting between the young Elizabeth Bennet and the rich Mr Darcy, an event that will change their lives and also those of the people around them. The main characters, in fact, dance in a spiral of events and emotions that lead them to grow and to improve, overcoming obstacles and difficulties.
On the surface it may seem that the main subject of the novel is nothing but a love story, but it is through this one that the author talks about very important themes, such as the difference between social classes, marriage and the social position of women in the Regency era, a period in which the events take place.
Elizabeth and Darcy represent precisely the feelings that give life to the title: he possesses a huge class pride and she is guided by first impressions, thus jeopardizing future knowledge. He is shy and taciturn, often embarrassed by the society around him, but in the end, he is good-hearted. She is outgoing and very self-confident, dedicated to reading and walking.
Vices and defects
They are very well defined characters, and with the secondary ones, they represent one of the targets of the author’s irony against the vices of the bourgeois.
In this regard it is to remember the figure of Mrs Bennet, who, exasperating for her continuous complaining about her poor nerves, is unable to think of anything but to marry her daughters with rich gentlemen, not caring about their appearance or her girls’ feelings (think about the affair that involves Mr. Collins).
As his wife represents one of the faults of the bourgeois, even Mr Bennet is described in such a way to represent the indolence. He, in fact, disappointed by the lack of a male heir, does not lift a finger to make things better in his estate, and takes refuge in his own library where books can be an escape from the difficulties of the present, normal consequences of an ill-assorted marriage.
Each character has some serious defect that distinguishes it – and the moral of the novel is precise to not be guided too much by these – but the character that, even in its being wrong, is winning, is Lady Catherine de Bourgh, which plays the most annoying but amusing scenes.
The only negative element that I find in this story is the ending, too hasty in my opinion, although I understand that perhaps for the author was more important to show the journey, rather than the end of the road.
The volume strength, in addition to the story, of course, is the author’s style. Light, simple, fresh, clear and ironic, with the use of the free indirect speech that easily passes from the thoughts of the narrator to those of the characters and manages to engage the reader in the story forcing him to turn the pages one after the other.
Unfortunately, I have to say that the translation of this volume, when compared to the original one or other versions, is really archaic.
It is a book that is worth reading even just for the pure feelings that can transmit through the looks and words of the protagonists. Nevertheless, and perhaps paradoxically, its particularity is to be actual, and this is precisely what makes it special after more than two hundred years.