Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice! Published 200 years ago today!
Before my English class broke for the summer (the summer of 1994, a beauty) My class was set the task of reading three classic books by the same arthur over the holidays. Now this was my kind of homework (I didn’t normally bother and most teachers had given up on me by now) So I dragged my poor long suffering mother down to Waterstones in Cambridge to choose my books (the library was clearly not enough for me?) It didn’t take long for Austen to be my choice and I left with Emma, Sense and sensibility and of course Pride and Prejudice.
I saved the delight in reading them till a summer holiday in Menorca, with mum stepdad and younger sister who was then 9. I remember the grown ups spend most of the day sitting very still and this varied between in and out of the sun. Being a shy teenager, Austen’s characters became my companions. I don’t remember having ever watched any of the TV or film adaptations so the stories were fresh to me, something I envy my teenage self.
I loved all of the books, reading S&S first, then P&P and only half finishing Emma before we returned home. Back home I joyfully wrote up my reviews, it might be the one and only time I wanted to do my homework (other than art, of course) On the first day back, the English teacher asked for a show of hands of all those who had completed their homework. My hand was the only one in the air, for the first and last time. I didn’t care about the stick I got, I had found Austen and that was worth it (oh and I was used to it, hello bullies hope your enjoying your very very dull life’s which I watch pass without event on Faceslap)
It was John Keats that brought be back into the Austen fold much later in 2009, leading me to the Jane Austen Festival, one of the many events I get to go to for “work” every year. And in this year, a very special one for Austen fans I have lots of exciting P&P themed projects planned, which I can’t yet reveal. One of the real pleasures of this work has been being paid to reread P&P and see how much of it reflects (or perhaps Influenced?) my life post 15. We have all had our Lydia moments, Most of us have had the dreadful Mr. Collins moment at least once and the lucky few have had the Mr. Darcy Moment, when both Pride and Prejudice are overcome and you see true happiness is looking you in the face.
If you have not read the book (however many adaptations you have watched) I urge you to do so, and envy you in the pure joy you will inside…
Right I’m off to spend the rest of today Tweeting P&P quotes J (@costumiersaurus)