Tuesday, July 11

Pride and Prejudice (again)

How much Pride and Prejudice does it take to make your head spin and nose bleed and your mannerisms to permanently change? More than the novel, two viewings of the 2005 movie, once with director's commentary, and the BBC mini-series over the course of a week. That is a lot of the Bennets and Bingleys and Collinses and Darcy. Onward with my commentary then.

I may as well get this one over with in the beginning. Pride and Prejudice is not now my favorite novel and probably will never take that position. I'd consider it fortunate to make the Top 10 if I was ever bored enough to make a list, but I certainly did end up feeling as though the time I took reading it was a waste of time. So, I'm not grasping at the opportunity to read anymore Austen, but I'm far from scared off from another try at something of hers. Just in case you, gentle reader, were wondering.

I very much enjoy Austen's dialogue. I rank it up there with Oscar Wilde's as what I'd like to people say like. Everything comes off as elegant and even the fools have a greater eloquency than anyone I talk to. Some consider this artificial, a sentiment I can fully sympathize with, but I prefer to think of it as a very cool ideal. Besides, there's a certain, undeniable element of style, which one can barely hope to attain, to a character that leaves the woman who rejected his proposal of marriage by saying, "Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness."

Also, I know feel better qualified to comment upon the two film versions having read the source material. The BBC is the book on screen. Little is cut or edited from the novel and dialogue is added to fit in more of Austen's commentary. The most recent movie is as much a creation of the director, Joe Wright if I remember correctly, as Austen's. He casts certain characters, most notably Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, in a different light and makes it very much his own. I find this faintly amusing since Tom Hollander, Mr. Collins and Cutler from the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel (almost burst out in laughter at his appearance), said in one of the special features that casting for the movie is difficult because everyone makes Pride and Prejudice their own and has already selected their cast.

Still wrestling with my thoughts concerning its portrayal of romance. Think that'll be worthy of its own blog post. Ooh, something to look forward to.

So, now it's time for something coarse and depressing enough to subdue this whole 'True love prevails' theme. Sylvia Plath's The Belljar, perhaps. If only I could find a copy somewhere....

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