“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
I have never been a big fan of love stories, but when, for school reasons, I had to read “Pride & Prejudice”, I changed my mind, not all the “pink” genre is to be discarded. There are stories that go far beyond simple sentimentality, that get inside, that transmit us so much that we want to reread them.
And so, it was with Austen’s novel, which I reread over and over until I could almost recite it from memory. Love stories are usually almost always the afflictions of little girls, attempts at emotional pornography when compared to the social anthropology that Austen develops novel after novel.
For two hundred years Jane Austen has been the mistress of our hearts, a teacher of words and emotions.
She has written about women of extreme intelligence, even if hidden behind a veil of pride and obstinacy.
And reading her novels helps develop the imagination. Elisabeth Bennet’s character is definitely closer to the women of the last century than to those of the period of the book’s setting. A cheerful, sociable, brainy, humorous, curious girl, a lover of knowledge, not disposed to submission towards other socially higher characters. To read and fully appreciate this book you need to immerse yourself totally in that reality that symbolizes the nineteenth century, and which did not allow women to confront the world on an equal footing.
Austen is considered one of the first to tell about the condition of women and the difficulties she encounters in wanting to be free from the usual patterns, the first to incriminate the fact that knowledge was exclusively male prerogative and how marriage was the only beach assigned to women to have respect and a certain self-sufficiency.
It should be read even just for this reason, but in reality, it is precisely for the love story that this novel continues to be “a great classic”. One cannot fail to be fascinated by Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, as their initial confrontation gradually turns into something else.
Mr Darcy is the ideal man of many women, despite his being quiet and stubborn, and also arrogant, but his charm, wealth, and above all his chillingly romantic speech of love make him the prototype of the Ideal Man . The dark one who melts, the selfish who redeems himself … the dream of every woman with nurse syndrome.
Although not my role model, I admit to having had quite a few dreams about my personal Mr Darcy.
“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
It might seem an exclusively female novel, but it is not, because the experience of reading is universal and because “Austen is one of the few novelists who has really created a world”, a true literary microcosm populated by wonderful characters, manifestation of a thousand facets of the human soul, in which we all, in every place and in every time, identify ourselves. “Austin is one of those writers who need to be read slowly: a moment of distraction can neglect a sentence that has primary importance: art of nuances, ambiguous art under apparent simplicity“
“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”