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 Pride and Prejudice

   
 

Rereading as Rerevelation!

   

 

  

 

'It 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 Darcy's character.

Elizabeth 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 to happiness. 

James 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.'

"I 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.…"

Wood 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….'

The 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 trunks.'  

 

Read: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen 

 

 

 

 

 

       
 

 
       
     

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