is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'
With that marvelous and familiar first line Jane Austen sets off
on her wittiest, most sparkling literary journey. To reread Pride
and Prejudice is to take pleasure in 'rerevelation,' the slow
peeling away of layers to display the 'stable essence' of what
lies underneath - the familiarity of the novel, the true nature of
Bennet's problem is an old story in literature and goes all the
way back to Oedipus Rex, to Othello - a character's
discovery of the difference between appearance and reality.
Jane Austen is at her wittiest best in Pride and Prejudice,
character study imbued with glancing flashes of humor. And
unlike in Oedipus or Othello, discovery here leads
Wood, the literary critic, and New Yorker writer, has said:
'Elizabeth Bennet, at the end of Pride and Prejudice,
finally sees Darcy as he really is, not as she mistook him - that
is her triumph; she does not learn anything really decisive about
herself. She is, perhaps, less proud and judgmental, but she
has hardly transformed herself.'
did not know before," continued Bingley immediately,
"that you were a studier of character. It must be an amusing
study." [Elizabeth] "Yes; but intricate characters are
the most amusing.…"
calls Austen's work hermeneutical: 'someone who understood other
people, who attended to their secret meanings, who read people
properly, might be called hermeneutical' and that 'like her
heroines, she saw things more clearly than other people and
therefore pitied their cloudiness….'
peculiar pleasure of rereading something familiar is all the more
pleasurable because the revelation again of what we already know
is like finding one's bearings all over again, as we simulate the
process of mental rearrangement in the novel that F. Scott
Fitzgerald called '…the moving about of great secret
and Prejudice, Jane Austen