Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

Da Da Da Da Da I’m Lovin’ It — What makes a classic love story

[Image copyrighted: Bigstock.com ]

[Image copyrighted: Bigstock.com ]

Holy cow it’s Valentine’s Day! Put aside the snow shovel. Say no to the champagne and roses. X-nay on the chocolate-ay. Lets talk “Love”…STORIES.

Just in time for this years fondness feast Book Depository.com has come up with its comprehensive list of  “The Best Love Stories of All Time (As Voted For By Our Customers)” [Book Depository.com].  It is similar to one that Fly High by LearnOnLine put out in 2o12.

As I cradle my hot cup of tea on this cold and snow bound winter morning and contemplate this blog post, I realize that I could produce a score of comparable list, but I wont. I’ll just relish in the fact that my girl Jane  is so well represented here and make a note of the books I need to put on my Kindle. Here’s my combined chart of the Book  Depository and LearnOnLine lists — there was a lot of duplication. (you’re going to have to click on it to read it, sorry).

I guess a romantic lead doesn't have to actually be ALIVE at the end of a story, but for me its always a plus. I'm just happy no Vampires or Shades of Gray made the list.

I guess a romantic lead doesn’t have to actually be ALIVE at the end of a story, but for me its always a plus. I’m just happy no Vampires or Shades of Gray made the list.

It seems to me there are an awful lot of dysfunctional relationships and dead people are  on here. You can thank the Sisters Bronte for that, but they aren’t the only ones. Do we really need death or dysfunction for something to be romantic? I think not.

Do we need friction to make good fiction? Yes! And there’s plenty of that in P&P, North and South, The Princess Bride. But, does it have to tip the scale to melodrama and angst that Jane Eyre and Great Expectations does. Must it, further,  jump over the (heath)cliff into despair as  in Wuthering Heights?

Why does everyone assume that if I love Jane Austen that I'll love Charlotte Bronte too?

Why does everyone assume that if I love Jane Austen that I’ll love Charlotte Bronte too? Bronte didn’t like Austen. I think I can return the favor.

I try to like the Brontes, but whenever I read them (or watch a movie based on one of their works) I find myself wishing for Austen. I LOVE Austen. I never wish I was some where else when I’m with her. Strangely, I really like Elizabeth Gaskell, the author of North and South, Cranford, Ruth, and Wives and Daughters (and lots more). Gaskell was friends with Charlotte Bronte and her biggest advocate. [You can read her biography of Charlotte HERE.] But I find her (Gaskell’s) prose much easier to read.

And I’m not saying a romantic story can’t be sad or end in the death of 1/2 the couple. I think John Green did a lovely job with Hazel Grace and Gus’ love story. And I was glad to see The Fault in Our Stars made the reader’s list.  It just doesn’t have to be overwrought. Neither of those teens would put up with it.

Anyway I’m wondering what would make  YOUR top five romantic novels. (Feel free to cheat and lump all of an author’s love stories into one  pick — like ALL of Shakespeare’s love stories.)

In the mean time I’ll just leave you with this and hope that you’ll consider being my literary valentine…

Tolerable00

Advertisements

OHG (Obstinate Headstrong Girl)

I know this will be kind of a shocker for some of you… but I’m a big Jane Austen fan. And one of my favorite moments from her most popular book, Pride and Prejudice, is when Lady Catherine calls Elizabeth an “Obstinate headstrong girl.”

I suspect Jane was bit on the OHG side herself. (She’d have to be to remain single for her art until she well past her prime. Oh, she had offers, thank you very much. But in the end it was the romance of word on paper that won her heart.)

So today I’m dedicating ritaLOVEStoWRITE to the phrase and to the women, like Jane, who live(d) by it.

flat,550x550,075,f

[Image courtesy: Redbubble.com]

Art work by Yardia [available on Etsy.com]

Art work by Yardia [available on Etsy.com]

Handmade note cards from Turtle Dove [available on Etsy.com]

Handmade note cards from Turtle Dove [available on Etsy.com]

Travel mug available on Cafe Press.

Travel mug available on Cafe Press.

Another sketch for sale by Yardia on Etsy.com

Another sketch for sale by Yardia on Etsy.com

Cover of "Pride and Prejudice (Graphic No...

Cover of Pride and Prejudice (Graphic Novel)

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy...

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy, on the title page of the first illustrated edition. This is the other of the first two illustrations of the novel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Ahhh the Regency Life for me.

Austenland

Hold on to your bonnets ladies, Austenland is almost here. The film, which stars Keri  Russell as an uber  Jane Austen fan who travels to England for the vacation of a lifetime — a chance to live the Regency experience — won high marks at the Sundance Festival  and enjoyed a strong limited release this weekend. While the rest of us wait with bated breath for the film to come to our local movie house I thought I’d take a closer look at what life was really like in Jane’s day.  I was inspired by the August 15 HuffingtonPost.com article by Roy and Lesley Adkins which list 13 Reason You Wouldn’t Want to Live In Jane Austen’s England.

  1. Forced Marriage
  2. Infant Mortality
  3. Fetching Water
  4. Dangers of Fire
  5. Child Labor
  6. Chimney Sweeps
  7. Dubious Medicines
  8. Dodgy Dentistry
  9. Shocking Surgery
  10. Press Gangs
  11. The Bloody Code (Criminal Courts)
  12. Punishment After Death
  13. Injustice After Death

I’d like to humbly add my own warnings to coveting a life in an Empire dress.

An 1833 engraving of a scene from Chapter 59 o...

An 1833 engraving of a scene from Chapter 59 of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennet is on the left, Elizabeth on the right. This, along with File:Pickering – Greatbatch – Jane Austen – Pride_and_Prejudice – This is not to be borne, Miss Bennet.jpg, are the first published illustrations of Pride and Prejudice. Janet M. Todd (2005), Jane Austen in Context, Cambridge University Press p. 127 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First… forget about Darcy. If you are like me  (solidly in the middle class)  you’ve got about as much chance as marrying the Master of Pemberley (or  Donwell or Delaford or Mansfield) as you do of winning PowerBall. As Austen makes perfectly clear MONEY likes MONEY, and if you don’t have it you’re not likely to attract it. Maybe, if you are very, very pretty you might temp an unwary man (assuming there’s not an eagle-eyed sister, mother or aunt looking out for just your sort). However, with out the aid of modern dentistry and plastic surgery I hope that your beauty is God-given.

Be prepared to get sick. The food is going to totally suck. With out the benefit of an Amana French Door stainless steel refrigerator — the Regency cook’s best method  for preserving food is salt. Yum. The water is unfiltered and filled with lovely microbes and the milk is unpasteurized.

Ladies hush your mouth. If children were meant to be seen and not heard, members of the fairer sex weren’t expected to say much more. Certainly they weren’t expected to say anything that contradicted with the men around them. That may make Elizabeth Bennet all the more extraordinary, but don’t you go trying it.

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy...

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy, on the title page of the first illustrated edition. This is the other of the first two illustrations of the novel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granted, it’s fun to don a Regency dress, long gloves and hat every once in a while, but I can’t imagine doing it every day. Summers must have been brutal (and aromatic) with all that fabric and no air conditioning.

Then again…I guess fantasy is part of the appeal of Austen’s novels. And every time I pick up one of Jane’s six novels (or one of the many Austen inspired books on my shelf) I’m a very willing participant in that fantasy…. As I will be when I go to see Austenland… if it ever makes it to a screen near me.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Top 100 Books proves that Jane Austen is the Teacher’s Pet

CLASS lets get reading…

TES (Think, Educate, Share) a website dedicated to bringing the latest teaching news and strategies to educators and the public asked 500 primary and secondary teachers what their top 10 books were. They crunched the numbers and came up with the following list of 100 top books.

It is an interesting list and it ranges nicely from early-ish chapter books — the kind that got us all hooked on reading in the first place, like Dahl and Lewis — to more mature novels like Atonement.

I was glad to see that my girl Jane made the grade (#1, 32, 52, 58). And you’ll recognize lots of other Thought of the Day authors on here too (I put them in italics — if you  are interested in reading the bioBlogs go to the search box to the right and type in their name.)

1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

3. Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling

4. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

5. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

6. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

7. The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien

[Image courtesy Biography online

[Image courtesy Biography online

8. The Book Thief Markus Zusak9. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien10. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald11. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini12. The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins13. The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

14. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis

15. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

16. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

17. His Dark Materials (series) Philip Pullman

18. The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

19. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

20. Life of Pi Yann Martel

21. Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

22. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier

23. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon

24. Lord of the Flies William Golding

25. Matilda Roald Dahl

My Roald Dahl collage featuring some of his most popular characters (as drawn by the amazing Quentin Blake).  Surrounding Mr. Dahl and his pups are: at the top left are: The BFG, Sophie, Dahl with his pups, The Enormous Crocodile, Mr. Fox, James, the Grand High Witch, Willy Wonka, and Matilda.

My Roald Dahl collage featuring some of his most popular characters (as drawn by the amazing Quentin Blake).

 

26. Catch-22 Joseph Heller

27. Millennium (series) Stieg Larsson

28. Animal Farm George Orwell

29. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

30. Persuasion Jane Austen

31. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

32. Kensuke’s Kingdom Michael Morpurgo

33. Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian

34. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

36. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne

37. Little Women Louisa May Alcott

English: Bust of Louisa May Alcott

English: Bust of Louisa May Alcott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

38. One Day David Nicholls

39. We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver

40. The Twits Roald Dahl

41. Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel

42. A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini

43. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

44. Frankenstein Mary Shelley

45. Great Expectations Charles Dickens

46. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres

47. George’s Marvellous Medicine Roald Dahl

48. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

douglas adams inspired "Hitch hikers guid...

douglas adams inspired “Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy” H2G2 http://www.hughes-photography.eu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

49. Room Emma Donoghue

50. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

51. Atonement Ian McEwan

52. Emma Jane Austen

53. Middlemarch George Eliot

54. The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

55. The Color Purple Alice Walker

56. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

57. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

58. Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

59. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

60. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

61. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White

62. Dracula Bram Stoker

63. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

64. A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving

65. The Secret History Donna Tartt

66. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Scanned drawing.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Scanned drawing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

67. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky

68. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

69. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

70. Skellig David Almond

71. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

72. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

73. Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin

74. David Copperfield Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

75. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

76. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

77. Twilight (series) Stephenie Meyer

78. Beloved Toni Morrison

79. The Help Kathryn Stockett

80. Sherlock Holmes (series) Arthur Conan Doyle

81. Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

82. Moneyball Michael Lewis

83. My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell

84. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

85. On the Road Jack Kerouac

86. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell

87. Wild Swans Jung Chang

88. Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

89. Les Miserables Victor Hugo

90. Room on the Broom Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

91. Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo

92. Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman

93. Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee

94. Danny the Champion of the World Roald Dahl

95. Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the cor...

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, opposite the Royal Free Hospital. The bookshop has long gone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

96. The Magic Faraway Tree Enid Blyton

97. The Witches Roald Dahl

98. The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy

99. Holes Louis Sachar

100. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde.

English: Oscar Wilde, three-quarter length por...

English: Oscar Wilde, three-quarter length portrait, facing front, seated, leaning forward, left elbow resting on knee, hand to chin, holding walking stick in right hand, wearing coat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So… what do you think? Did the teachers get an A+ for their list?  Are there any other books that you treasure that didn’t make the top 100?

If you were asked to list your top 10 books what would you include?


Jane Austen at Goucher

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

Dear readers,

I’ve had an article on the Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and the amazing Jane Austen Collection at Goucher Library published in the March/April edition of Mason-Dixon ARRIVE magazine. Goucher has the largest collection of Austen related material (including several first editions of the books) in North America. It was a real treat to sit down with the ladies who shepherd this collection and talk about Jane.

Click here to go to the magazine’s website, then click on the cover to read a virtual copy of the magazine. The article is on page 22.

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

Reading Jane’s Letters [Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

While you are on-line… how about stopping by  “Mason-Dixon ARRIVE” on Facebook to learn more about the magazine and leaving a comment on the article.

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

Here’s a link to the Jane Austen Collection at Goucher.

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]


Its PRIDE and PREJUDICE DAY!!!

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE SILO COLLAGE

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book by my favorite author, upon turning 200 years old, will be written about A LOT in this blog. Seriously I’m thinking about baking a birthday cake today. I’m just that excited.  [YES, I get this excited about Jane Austen, I realize its not everyone’s cuppa, but bear with me. It will be over soon and tomorrow I’ll be back to proper Thought of the Day bioBLOGS. Promise.]

So, as you may have noticed, for the past week I’ve been giving you my take on the major players in Pride and Prejudice. Today I thought we’d take a look at the different adaptations over the years.

The Originals

First the source… the Austenian Holy Grail if you will, the first editions. I was lucky enough to attend a Jane Austen Society of North America meeting that started at the Goucher College Special Collection Library. Their Jane Austen collection is the largest in North America and it houses several first editions and first illustrated editions.

Opening page of a 200 year old first edition Pride and Prejudice.

Opening page of a 200 year old first edition Pride and Prejudice.

These beautifully letter pressed editions came in three volumes and are handsomely bound and typeset. The type size, letter and line spacing, weight and size of the books were perfectly designed for long afternoons when reading was a prime source of entertainment. One look at these beauties and you will never want to read another trade paper back again.

Goucher also has first illustrated editions and the illustrated editions that followed. It is fascinating to see how the look of the characters changed through the times.

An early illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice from the Goucher Library.

An early illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice from the Goucher Library.

The Goucher Library is hosting a special 200th Anniversary exhibit from January 28, 2013 through July 26, 2013 Click Here for more information on Exhibit.   For more information of the Jane Austen Collection at Goucher you can Click Here. And if you are patient you can read all about the Goucher Austen Collection in an article I’ve written for ARRIVE magazine in the March edition!

The Adaptions

Here's my first Austen bookshelf.

Here’s my first Austen bookshelf.

From the original we move to adaptations. What happened BEFORE Mr. Bingley moved to Neitherfield? What happened AFTER Darcy and Lizzie got married? There are hundreds of these books out there and they vary in genre and quality. As an Austen fan I get one or two spin-off books every holiday and birthday. I recommend Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Darcy & Elizabeth  and the trio of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman books for those of you yearning to know what MIGHT happen next.

Here's my second Austen bookshelf

Here’s my second Austen bookshelf.

I’m all for anything that brings new reader to Austen. So I enjoyed the Marvel Comics version of Pride and Prejudice.

Cover of "Pride and Prejudice (Graphic No...

Cover of Pride and Prejudice (Graphic Novel)

I like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies too — I found myself reading along, enjoying the original Austen prose and then BAM Zombies. It was fun.

Oh, here are some more books that didn't fit on those other shelves.

Oh, here are some more books that didn’t fit on those other shelves.

I liked Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and its companion Rude Awakenings for their Alice through the looking glass approach to P&P. And I’ll give a thumbs up the more romance-y Definitely Not Mr. Darcy too.

Others are either on the “To Read” pile or have been read so long ago that I don’t remember them well enough that I can’t give you n review. That’s the problem with a lot of these book adaptations… they don’t stick with you like the original.

The Multimedia

On to film. If you were to gather a table full of Jane Austen fans and ask them which is their favorite film version of Pride and Prejudice you’d probably get a half-dozen answers.

Prideundprejudice

In 1940 Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier starred in a “Hollywoodized” version of the novel. I liked the lead’s chemistry and think they did a good job portraying Elizabeth and Darcy. But the movie takes huge liberties with the novel — from the hoop skirts, to cutting out characters and scenes, to adding new scene (archery any one?),  to rewriting the reason Lady Catherine’s visit to Longbourn.

PrideAndPrejudiceBBCElizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul took on the famous Lizzie and Darcy in the BBC 1980 series. It is my friend and fellow JASNA:MD member Joyce Loney’s favorite of the movies.  She’s a big fan of Garvey’s Elizabeth. And, she writes:

David Rintoul’s Darcy is stiff (okay, some people have called him a stick), but he cracks during the Pemberley visit and he finally relaxes during the proposal scene.  Amy Patterson has a great article (Choose Your Darcy) in the current issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World, and she says that David Rintoul “gets closer than any other to capturing the essence of this wonderful, complicated, shy, angry and passionate hero.”

But Loney’s favorite Darcy, and mine, is Colin Firth. Firth played opposite the beautiful Jennifer Ehle in the A&E mini series in 1995. Ehle is my favorite Lizzie and Alison Steadman and Benjamin Whitrow are far and away my favorite Mr. and Mrs. Bennets.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

At six hours the A&E version fits in almost all the book. And I believe it is the truest film adaptation out there. I could  (and do) watch it again and again. It is a delight (with or with out the wet shirt.)

330px-Bride-and-prejudice

Gurinda Chadha brought a distinctly Bollywood approach to her Bride & Prejudice version in 2004. The movie, complete with colorful blockbuster musical numbers, spans three continents and stars Aishwarya Rai as Lalita (Lizzie), Martin Henderson as Darcy, Namrata Shirodkar as Jaya (Jane) and Naveen Andrews as Balraj (Bingley). Obviously there are a lot of changes from the original novel, but it is fun and bright and they did a great job conveying the heart of the  story.

Prideandprejudiceposter

2005 brought us Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen in Joe Wright’s take on the Novel. Like the Greer Garson version this one leaves out characters and compresses the novel — I guess it has to in order to fit into the 129 minute running time. Personally I had a lot of hope for this version because I love a lot of the actors in it, but, sorry it just falls flat. Tons of style but not so much substance… and when you start with Pride and Prejudice there’s just not excuse for that. There are moments in the movie that are terrific — I thought Macfayden and Knightly were wonderful in the “taciturn” dance and the proposal scene (though why it was in a down pour I don’t understand.) And I give this version the best sound track award. I loved the music. I also really liked Simon Woods as Bingley.

The last adaptation I’m going to cover is also the most current. In fact it is still going on, the brilliant Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The LBD have completely reimagined the story as a video blog circa 2013 LA. Click HERE to go to the home page. From there you can follow the story from the top, explore twitter and tumblr accounts for both the characters and the actors (as well as the producers and director.)

The Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on Pride and Prejudice. I thank those of you who played along and commented here and on Google and Facebook. As always, please drop me a line an let me know what you are thinking.


Pride and Prejudice Characters: Lizzie and Darcy

LIZZIE AND DARCY

Is there anything more delightful than a well written story of personal growth and discovery? Pride and Prejudice, Austen‘s “own darling child,” is a story of first mis-impressions that eventually resolve into true understanding, appreciation and love. The journey to that self discovery is the juiciest part of the novel. And that means that both Darcy and Lizzie must be willing to change the way they look at the world and at each other.

Jennifer Ehle is beautiful as Elizabeth  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Jennifer Ehle is beautiful as Elizabeth in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Elizabeth Bennet is a pretty, charming, intelligent, self-assured 20-year-old. She is the second eldest daughter of the Bennet family. She takes second place to sister Jane in beauty as well, but she bares it well. She has a lively, playful disposition and a good-natured impertinence that is the delight of her father and the bane of her mother.

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the trailer for the film Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lizzie prides herself on being a good judge of character. But when it comes to Darcy and Wickham that is hardly the case.

Keira Knightly as Lizzie in the 2005 Movie

Keira Knightly as Lizzie in the 2005 Movie

Lizzie’s first road block of prejudice is the snub she receives from Darcy at the Assembly Room Ball. At first everyone thinks Darcy is a major catch because he’s tall, handsome and rich. But then

… his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

It was decided that he was “He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world.” The icing on the cake is when he refuses to dance Lizzie, saying“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

Matthew MacFadyen in the 2005 movie.

Matthew MacFadyen in the 2005 movie.

Although outwardly she takes the comment in stride, and even jokes about it with her friends, from that moment on she is prejudiced against him.

Darcy was …haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting…Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence.

(It is a prejudice that Wickham easily manipulates.)

Had Darcy’s opinion of Lizzie not changed it would have been a very different book indeed. But shortly after the snub he begins to appreciate her  “fine eyes,” “light and pleasing figure,” and “easy playfulness.” He tries to shake it, but he falls completely in love with her.

Daniel Vincent Gordh and Ashley Clements tackle the proposal scene in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Daniel Vincent Gordh and Ashley Clements tackle the proposal scene in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

He swallows his pride and familial duty and offers Lizzie the second of her two horrible proposals.  Basically he tells her that he likes her against his will, against his reason, and even against his character.

She refuses him, of course — He’s separated Jane and Bingley and ruined Wickham — how could he think for a moment that she’d accept him.. She calls him on his un-gentleman-like manner then tears into him…

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it…From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, … and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

It is a life changing moment for Darcy. He writes her a letter explaining his position on the Jane / Bingley situation and on his dealings in the Wickham narrative and then he leaves Kent. But he’s also forced to face the fact that he is a snob.

Upon reading the letter Lizzie recognizes that prejudice has colored her emotions to Mr. Darcy. She begins to question her assumption of Wickham’s innocence and his guilt.

Colin Firth, the ultimate Darcy, starred  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Colin Firth, the ultimate Darcy, starred in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

At Pemberly she’s presented by a completely different Darcy. Not only does the housekeeper, Reynolds, praise her master, but Darcy actually seems to have transformed. He is kind and welcoming even to her relatives the Gardiners, who he previously thought himself above.

He completely saves the day with the Lydia / Wickham elopement, and he does it all for Lizzie.

By the time Bingley and Jane reunite both Lizzie and Darcy have come 360 in their feelings toward one another. What was once intolerable is now precious. And all was happily ended.

Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoulin in the 1980 BBC series [This one's for Joyce]

Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoulin in the 1980 BBC series [This one’s for Joyce]


Pride and Prejudice characters: Jane and Mr. Bingley

BINGLEY AND JANE

Ahhh. Jane and Bingley. Of all the characters in Pride and Prejudice these two deserve to be together — and deserve a happy ending — the most. If Austen had been a lesser writer I think Jane and Bingley would have been the main characters in the novel. Pride and Prejudice would have been a more straightforward romance of two beautiful nice people meeting, falling in love, being separated by circumstance and malevolent people, but coming together at the end and, against all odds, getting that happy ending.  Not a bad story. A charming story, no doubt, but not one, perhaps, that we’d still be re-reading 200 years later. (And one, no doubt, that would have had a different title.)

Suzannah Harker in the 1995 series.

Suzannah Harker in the 1995 series.

I have absolutely nothing critical to say about Jane. And I am sure she would have absolutely nothing bad to say about me. She is beautiful, shy, kind, reserved, humble and believes the very best in everybody. She is a most loving sister and devoted daughter. We all deserve at least one Jane Bennet in our lives. (And maybe we should all strive to be a little more Jane like — how’s that for a New Year’s resolution?)

Roamund Pike in the 2005 movie

Rosamund Pike in the 2005 movie

Bingley is a pretty wonderful guy too. Charming, handsome, rich — everything a gentleman ought to be.  He shoots, he rides and I know not what.

Crispin Bonham-Carter played Bingley  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Crispin Bonham-Carter played Bingley in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Sure, Bingley could be a tad more decisive, and have a bit more backbone. But to misquote Jessica Rabbit– he’s not wimpy, he’s just drawn that way.

Simon Woods in the 2005

Simon Woods is funny and charming in the 2005 and in Cranford. If you want to see the other side of Simon check out his performance as  Octavian Caesar in ROME.

Mr. Bennet sums up the couple towards the end of the book with…

“I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income.”

Naveen Andrews and Namrata Shirod Karar as Balraj and Jaya (Bingley and Jane) in Bride and Prejudice

Naveen Andrews and Namrata Shirod Karar as Balraj and Jaya (Bingley and Jane) in Bride and Prejudice

The adorable Cristopher Sean and Laura Spencer as Bing Lee and Jane in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The adorable Cristopher Sean and Laura Spencer as Bing Lee and Jane in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

 

————————————————————————

Blogger’s note: Hey how are your liking these P&P character studies? Drop me a line and let me know. Tomorrow is Darcy and Lizzie and Monday — on the big anniversary we’ll discuss various adaptions of the novel. So please weigh in!

And don’t forget to send in your entry to the Jane Austen “Essay” Contest for everybody. (Deadline is also on Monday.)

Cheers, Rita


Pride and Prejudice characters: Charlotte and Mr. Collins

Charlotte & Collins

For a woman who came from a family of clergymen — her father, two brothers and four cousins wore a collar — Jane Austen certainly enjoys poking fun at them in her novels. And Pride and Prejudice’s  Mr. Collins is her most ridiculous clerical caricature. How on earth does sensible Charlotte wind up with such a buffoon?

A clergyman was a professional, just like a lawyer or doctor. He made his living in the pulpit, not at the bar or in the examining room, but he still needed to be a well educated man. Add to that a vicar needed have a high moral standard, be a good speaker and have compassion for the poor and needy.

David Bamber is Mr. Collins  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

David Bamber is Mr. Collins in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Instead we get conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly, self important Mr. Collins. He is a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, a social climber with a very good opinion of himself and his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

He comes to Meryton to visit the Bennets. As closest male relative he is set to inherit the Longbourn estate on Mr. Bennet’s death. That is something, to his credit, that he feels some guilt over. So he decides to marry one of the five Bennet sisters. Jane is all but engaged to Mr. Bingley so he sets his sites on Lizzie.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Poor Lizzie receives two of the worst proposals  of marriage in literature. The first is from Mr. Collins. He wants to get married because:

  1.  as a clergyman it would set a good example to the parish.
  2.  it will add to his happiness.
  3.  it is “the particular advice “ of Lady Catherine.
  4.  he has a violent affection for Elizabeth

Of course he doesn’t expect a rejected. For one thing he’s SUCH a catch, and for another he’s chosen well. The girls are desperate and he has them in a corner.

He literally can not believe that she declines his offer. Neither can her mother. And for a while Longbourn is long born with strife.

Queue Charlotte.

Charlotte Lucas is plain, pragmatic, good-tempered, funny, sensible, intelligent and unromantic.  She is 27 years old and Lizzie’s intimate friend. She’s such a good friend, in fact, that she comes to the rescue when Lizzie refuses Mr. Collins. She keeps him in good humor by listening to him and, one assumes, diverts him, making sure he’s out of ear shot of the shouting Mrs. Bennet and the giggling Lydia and Kitty.

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lizzie thanks her friend,  but “Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; — its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” With a little encouragement on her part Mr. Collins transfers his ‘violent affections’ form one lady to the next and…

”In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both… he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men… and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.”

Lizzie is surprised that Mr. Collins could so quickly change his mind  and settle on another life partner. But she is astonished that Charlotte could accept his proposal.  Charlotte reminds her however that she is…

”not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”

In some ways Charlotte winds up in same situation as Mr. Bennet in the marriage department. Neither of them respect or love their partners. And both do what they can in daily life to avoid interacting with their spouses Mr. Bennet shuts the door to his library, while Charlotte sits in her parlor and encourages Mr. Collins to work with his bees or visit Lady Catherine.

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

At the end of the novel Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins informing him that — despite warning to the contrary by both Collins and Lady Catherine — Lizzie and Darcy are soon to marry. Mr. Bennet advises Mr. Collins to  “Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.” If Mr. Collins heeds this wise advice he’d shift his alliance to Darcy who would never put up with the vicar’s toady behavior. That, combined with Charlotte’s even handed temper–which (hopefully) would rub off on Collins–MIGHT make him a more tolerable fool.

—————————————————————–

Here’s a clip of the wonderful Julia Cho and Maxwell Glick in a scene from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…


%d bloggers like this: