This is considered the Jane Austen masterpiece and is one of the most popular books of English literature (approx. 20 million copies sold till date) that has been successfully casting its spell on generation after generation of readers. Written by her as “First Impressions” and later published with the title “Pride and Prejudice“, this is one of the best love stories you would ever come across. It’s a tale of two strangers meeting, disliking, misunderstanding, hating, knowing, admiring and finally loving each other in that order. The book has inspired countless number of stage adaptations, TV shows and motion pictures.
|Boook||:||Pride and Prejudice|
|Publisher||:||Rupa & Co. (10/01/1999), Ubs Publishers’ Distributors (p) Ltd.-new Delhi (1999); and others|
The story starts with arrival of a handsome and young eligible bachelor Charles Bingley in neighbourhood of the family of Bennett’s comprising five sisters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty & Lydia and their parents. Mr. Bennett is an intelligent and witty but indolent man who likes to derive pleasure from everything that’s ridiculous in his surroundings while Mrs. Bennet is a silly and fretful woman with the sole aim of her life being the marriage of her daughters. Jane is the most beautiful of the sisters with a very gentle and compassionate nature while Elizabeth is pretty and intelligent and there is a very strong bond between these two sisters. Rest of the girls are silly and shallow with the youngest Lydia being the most thoughtless and insolent. The Bennetts are a well-to-do family but with no fortune to spare for any of the girls on their marriage and their family estate is entailed on a distant male cousin.
The Bennetts meet Mr. Bingley, his sisters and his rich and handsome but arrogant friend Fitzwilliam Darcy at a ball, where Elizabeth, hearing a slighting remark for herself from Darcy, takes an instant dislike for him. Jane and Bingley soon starts admiring each other and after a short duration and a no. of social meetings, Darcy starts admiring Elizabeth, but without her knowledge. And now comes Mr. Wickham (as a part of the militia regiment residing in the neighborhood), handsome and charming, he almost instantly befriends Elizabeth and tells her a story about how his life has been ruined by the ill-tempered and proud Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile, Elizabeth also receives a proposal of marriage from her cousin Mr. Collins, a pompous, conceited fool who is the heir for the Bennett family estate and a clergyman, and rejects him, thus displeasing her mother. Mr. Collins marries Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte instead. Bingley suddenly leaves for London, and persuaded by Darcy stays there, and Jane is left without any further communication from him.
After marriage, Charlotte invites Elizabeth to her home, where she once again meets Darcy. It is here that after no. of days, Darcy, no longer able to control his emotions, confesses his feelings for Elizabeth and declares his love for her. She is taken by a complete surprise and refuses, and in a bitter argument tells him about her dislike for him because of his being the reason for ruining Jane’s happiness and Wickham’s fortune. Next day, Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter explaining about his conduct, but their stay is over and they are separated again. Through this letter Elizabeth learns the truth of his character, and her dislike for him is removed. She comes home and learns that Wickham is soon leaving the neighbourhood with his militia and refrains from revealing his villainous character to anyone except Jane. Lydia is also invited and is going to accompany her friends of the militia to Brighton.
Elizabeth once again leaves her home for a tour with her maternal uncle and aunt. And chance once again throws her into the path of Darcy. They meet again, and he is such an altered man! But before this good acquaintance is continued, Elizabeth is forced to return home due to unhappy event of Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. It is at this point, when she realises that now there is no possibility that Darcy would ever love her, she also realises for the first time that he is the kind of man she could have loved and could have been happy with.
What happens then? Will fate that has been bringing them together again and again, give them another chance? Will Darcy go back to the woman who has once rejected him and belongs to an objectionable and inferior family? Will Jane and Elizabeth find love and happiness ever? You must read the book to get the answers.
Elizabeth is one of the liveliest and strongest characters that Jane Austen ever created and was her own favourite too. It is not possible not to love this pretty, charming, intelligent girl, human enough to make mistakes and learn from them. “Pride and Prejudice” brings to life set of such vividly portrayed characters that seem so alive and so generic yet so different in their disposition and behaviour. The rainbow of human nature and behaviour is at a wonderful display here with each shade adding to the ultimate effect of the book.
It is simply not possible to read this book and not love it, whether it is the story, the characters, the dialogues, the events or the surroundings. This is the Jane Austen magic at its best.
Don’t miss it…