Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: A Third Reading

Several days ago I picked up Pride and Prejudice again and spent a number of late nights reading it. I am trying to figure out why I enjoy reading the novels of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. Not everyone likes Pride and Prejudice. From the back matter of the book, I note that Mark Twain, referring to this book, found it not "to his taste". And yet...and yet...when I pick up the book, it is two hours before I set it down again.

I suppose it is because when I read the book I am getting reacquainted with old friends. Fascinating old friends, witty and articulate, some fabulously rich, some charmingly beautiful. And of course, you fall in love with one of them. In the end, justice is done, and life turns out happily.

And when the book ends, you wish you could continue in their company. Which I suppose you could do by revisiting your favorite parts of the book, or perhaps reading it in its entirety after a while. It's bittersweet at the end - you have enjoyed your visit, have not regretted your time spent there, but must now depart from that world. Until the next time you open its covers.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”


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