Friday, March 17, 2006
P & P Is Still a Winner
Last week I needed a comfort read and as a change from Georgette Heyer I picked up Pride & Prejudice. This time, however, I found myself reading it in a much more critical way. We often say that long-dead authors would never be published today because their books move too slowly. I now think that Jane Austen, at least, is the exception. Her story is fast-paced, there's plenty going on and she "hits the ground running" with each new chapter. For me this was a revelation, because I had not read P&P for several years and my memory of it was obviously distorted by the film and tv versions of the story.
Perhaps this is the reason for Jane Austen's enduring popularity: her characters embody traits we still recognise today and they find themselves in situations we can understand. The clothes and manners may have changed in the last two hundred years, but I don't think human nature has altered all that much.