A couple of months ago I watched a 2005 film production of Jane Austen’s classic, Pride & Prejudice, and then blogged about it very favorably. After reading my post, a friend/law-school classmate in Austin told me that he had liked the movie so much that he watched an earlier BBC-miniseries production of the book and then actually read the book, both of which he highly recommended to me.
Well, I was certainly willing to watch the BBC production, which brought fame to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but I doubted that I had the willpower to read a 1813 book described by Wikipedia as a “novel of manners.” Then last week, my reading queue got low, and I decided to give the book a chance.
My Austin friend, who called the book quite romantic, was absolutely correct. And although I thought the 2005 movie focused on four distinct romances, the book is more centered on the Cinderella story of one person – Elizabeth Bennet. Her story, which occurs more than 100 years after the original Cinderella, is exceedingly well conceived and well executed through a wonderful blend between the narrator and lengthy dialogue.
The intimidation factor in reading an 1813 “novel of manners” was greatly ameliorated by procuring a heavily annotated edition of the book from the SA library. The annotations not only provided definitions of unfamiliar words, but also provided context for unfamiliar situations. And best of all, it provided some critical analysis of the book. Although I often blog about books and movies, I have no background or study in how to critically analyze them, and that is something that I need to remedy in the future.