Curiosity drove me to read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a few years ago. I wanted to know how much charm and humour in the screen adaptations was the work of the adaptors and how much the work of Miss Austen.
I was astonished, as perhaps only a naive non-literate could be, to discover it was the latter.
As a result, she’s now a definite guest at my theoretical ideal dinner party, though she may struggle to strike up conversation with the more sports-related invitees.
But it’s not all humour and charm in P&P. The title of this website, for example, draws on the quote from Mr. Darcy:
My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.
His conviction seems to mirror the belief that people can’t change. A belief many of us hold, sometimes using it as a convenient crutch or excuse for poor behaviour. A change of state, as physicists will tell you, consumes energy. It’s hard work to modify character, but it can be done. So I can’t identify with Darcy (plus I don’t have the looks).
However, Darcy’s quote is positively uplifting compared to Elizabeth’s:
There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.
I shall have to seat the wonderful Jane next to the Dalai Lama.