A note on Pride & Prejudice

Just found this blog-surfing…  food for thought; weigh in and comment if you will; I just couldn’t let this slip by:

From David Ottewell’s blog, quoting David McNulty’s blog:

[McNulty] I finally got round to reading Pride and Prejudice. It’s brilliant in all the ways people say it is, but there were points about three quarters of the way through when I was thinking – get on with it. Am I just a philistine or could she have done with a good editor?

[Ottewell] Great stuff. Actually, when it comes to Pride and Prejudice I am sympathetic to the fictional diarist Adrian Mole, who (from memory) was sacked from a library for moving the collected works of Jane Austen from the ‘classics’ section to ‘light romantic fiction’…


I think P&P is a bit of a girl thing!!

Posted by: Kate | December 11, 2008 11:46 AM

Yeah, maybe. But I honestly think – and stop me if I am going to far – that Jane Austen is nothing more than an witty, perceptive chronicler of the dull and pointless mores of dull and pointless people, at a dull and pointless time. With a couple of Neighbours-style will-they-won’t-they sagas thrown in to keep people reading.   Posted by: David Ottewell | December 11, 2008 12:01 PM

I guess Austen’s tales contained some of the original love/hate will/they/won’t they plotlines (A Lizzie Bennett and Darcy-style relationship is a chick flick staple) so I think dismissing them as ‘Neighbours style’ is a bit harsh!! Sense and Sensibility is a gorgeous story of sisterly love and romantic redemption and has for P&P, well, without it we would never have had that Colin Firth wet shirt moment would we?

Posted by: Kate | December 11, 2008 01:50 PM

Taming of the Shrew? Pamela? (Both of which are rubbish, anyway.)

Posted by: David Ottewell | December 11, 2008 02:12 PM

Actually, thinking about it, I think Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing are the best will they/won’t they pair (and early than Lizzie/Darcy). Especially as they are old foes, and get tricked into falling in love.

Posted by: Kate | December 11, 2008 02:38 PM

I’ve often felt that the YES campaign’s stream of statements saying that they are outraged and demanding that people apologise to them had the whiff of an Austen character.

Anyway David, 24 hours from the biggest political event in Manchester’s recent history and you’re offering lit crit on a one-on-one basis to your readers. Impressive multi-tasking.

Posted by: Nigel | December 11, 2008 04:01 PM


Hurray for Kate, whoever you are! 


One thought on “A note on Pride & Prejudice

  1. Some off-the-top-of-my-head reactions:

    I wonder: What ‘stall’ in the action caused the reaction? What happens (or didn’t, for this reader…) about 3/4 of the way thru??

    Am reminded of a couple Mozart operas – CUT at your peril! The plots move along on finely-greased wheels.

    I do, however, take exception to the idea of ‘dull and pointless people’ – she IS writing of the everyday. People like you or me, for whom there is seldom anything earthshattering happening. The very fact that they are based in such true-to-life situations is (I firmly believe) what makes them come to life for people living decades, as well as centuries, after they were written.

    We can never enjoy the novels (note: I speak not of the films at all) with the fresh minds her first readers had. For us what seems dated or done-before feels that way because of what came after. Boy-meets-girl IS the staple of cinema and chick-lit – but it is the quality of the author/narrator’s prose that will always keep readers coming back to Austen’s novels. Otherwise, most of us would say ‘know the plot and remember the end’ and never want to read it again. If a reader glosses over the prose to get from action to reaction, plot device to plot device — well, that reader is missing a lot of the JOY to be found within all of Austen’s novels.


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