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Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

I fell in love with Jane Austen’s writing when I was in middle school. A close family friend loaned my family her VHS copy of A&E’s Pride and Prejudice mini-series. You know the one I’m talking about…the one where Colin Firth plays Mr. Darcy. After watching this adaptation of the story, I immediately set out to read the novel, and loved it even more than the mini-series.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
I should probably consider buying myself a new copy before this one completely falls apart.

While I have read and enjoyed all of Austen’s novels, Pride and Prejudice is probably my favorite. It’s certainly the one that I’ve read (and taught) the most frequently. It also inspired the name of my cat, Darcy. My personal copy of the book is a rather old, somewhat battered, hardback; currently being held together by packaging tape and wishful thinking.

What I love about Pride and Prejudice is not only the plot, which is brilliant, but the way in which Austen’s characters are developed over the course of the story. In the 1998 comedy You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) describes Elizabeth Bennet as “one of the greatest and most complex characters ever written,” and I think she’s right. Elizabeth is not only a character of tremendous depth, but she has many personal traits that I found easy to relate to, both as a teenager and as an adult.

Another reason I like Pride and Prejudice is because even though the book was written in the 1800s, the characters and themes are so relatable that they can easily be appreciated by a modern audience. I’ve encountered a fair number of people in real life who remind me of specific characters from the novel, some of whom were friends or classmates of mine in high school and college.

I could write multiple posts about various elements of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and how much I love the novel. But I think Sheldon Cooper, from The Big Bang Theory, says it best…

“Amy’s beloved Pride and Prejudice is a flawless masterpiece. He’s got too much pride. She’s got too much prejudice. It just works.”

Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
“The Raiders Minimization” (2013)

Which Jane Austen novel is your favorite, and why? You can share your thoughts by commenting on this post, or by voting in my Twitter poll @UnapologBkworm. Voting will be available through Friday, December 20th.

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