Pride and Prejudice

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 27th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:39 PM, local time.

Ok, so, sorry guys, I’ve been a little lax this week in keeping up with the blogging. I claimed I would be doing better. But, I’m trying. I’m just weak. Baby steps, right?

Several months ago, I was convinced that I should watch the Pride and Prejudice movie (the 2005 version). I had never read any Jane Austen novels, thinking they were just for girls, or whatever nonsense you pick up here or there about such things. So, I watched the movie. As many people know, I’ve long been a sucker for simple romantic comedy, which is, I guess, how I would categorize the movie. I enjoyed it. Thought it was pretty good. I enjoyed the arguments between the main characters, thought the scenery was pretty good, and really like the piano music in the background.

So, between watching the movie, countless recommendations from some of my friends, wikipedia articles, and a couple other secondary sources, I thought I would read the novel. Barnes and Noble’s had the Jane Austen collection on sale, and there was a copy of Pride and Prejudice in the “Everyman’s Library” hardcover edition, which I collect. So, I bought them both (it’s a problem, I know) and read Pride and Prejudice. Then I read it again.

Spectacular. I gotta say, had I known that authors from the 1800s could write like that, I would have read more of them beforehand. The dialogue is superb. The characters were very well drawn, and by and large, you could not wish for a better book. It is an easy, quick read, and there really is no reason whatsoever to not read it at every so often. It just goes so quickly!

When I first read the book, I was very much gladdened that the character of Mr Darcy was much larger in the book than in the movie. By no means was he the main character, but at least in the book, there were many times where you got to see things from his point of view, and you could see the basis for some of his actions before Elizabeth got to interpret them and skew them to something despicable. I was very pleased. It was nice to have a strong male hero to, not necessarily counter, but certainly complement the wonderful heroine, the younger Miss Bennet.

Very recently, I decided that since I enjoyed the book so much, and had enjoyed the movie when I first saw it, I should watch the movie again, to better compare it to the book. I had recognized before, after reading the book the first time, that the movie didn’t have a lot of the scenes in it that the book had, but didn’t think too much about it. It was a movie, after all. They do that sort of thing. But, when I saw it the second time, I was almost disgusted at the amount of stuff that was left out. There was a lot of characterization that was simply not there. Whole scenes, whole characters, whole conversations, etc., etc. Not only do we see nothing from Darcy’s point of view, but we see nothing of the “relationship” between Elizabeth and Mr Wickham develop, and we see nothing of the real awkwardness of Elizabeth meeting Darcy’s sister for the first time. These things are key to the book, really!

In comparison to the depth and, dare I say, majesty, of the book, the movie is a collection of short quick sketches, each merely outlining a portion of the masterwork that is the book, “Pride and Prejudice”. The only redeeming qualities the movie really keeps is the wonderful piano music, which really, by the way, prompted the blog post about background music a few days back. And Keira Knightley is hot. But we already knew that from Pirates, and you could just watch that to get your fill. (And sorry to mention her name, I just am really curious about how much google PageRank that will earn me.)

Anyway, for all my complaints, its not a bad movie, and I must respect the initial impression it had on me, that led me to read Austen’s various novels. I have now read enough of them that I would like to compare and consider each of the greater pieces here in my blog, but that is a larger task for another day.

Almost entirely unrelated from that, other than I used the word in this writeup: dialogue. Not dialog. Seriously people. It’s bad enough when I see it everywhere, but to have my own spellchecker refuse to accept the correct form of the word, and suggest the improper bastardization, is downright unacceptable. At least there exist proper dictionaries online and in print yet that use and promote the correct form.

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  1. Becky said,

    June 28, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Three cheers for Jane Austen! I recently got myself the annotated Pride and Prejudice, which was highly enjoyable. Aside from the fact that a lot of the notes were simply redefining certain words as they would have been used then, there were quite a few fun cultural facts and tie-ins to Austen’s life (apparently in her letters she decided the fate of Mary and Kitty as well). Alright, basically it was an opportunity to re-read the book, but anyone is welcome to borrow it.

  2. PAM said,

    June 29, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Jon you rock. You should watch the BBC miniseries one. It too is rather interesting. But no Keira, sorry to disappoint… on the bright side it does have Colin Firth. Well, for me at least.

  3. Darcy said,

    June 29, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    All her novels are really really enjoyable.

  4. JaynaZan said,

    November 6, 2007 at 12:01 am

    I have the BBC version on DVD with Colin Firth (and I have to agree with Pam that, that is a bright side.) Let me know if you want to borrow it. After my mom watched the BBC version, she commented that you don’t actually need to read the book if you watch that version, since virtually nothing is left out. Also, P&P IS my favorite Jane Austin book. Sense and Sensibility is my second favorite, if you were going to read another.

  5. me said,

    November 6, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Since this post, I’ve seen the BBC one as well, and it is rather good. I’ve read Sense and Sensibility now, too, and although it is OK, I rather think Emma is my second favorite, much to everyone’s disgust, surely. :)

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