I should be ashamed. I considered myself a very dedicated romance reader, but have never read a Jane Austen novel, including Pride and Prejudice. I've seen almost every Austen book come alive on screen and won't go into detail on the amount of times I've watched Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.
So, I've decided to nip this in the bud and started reading Pride and Prejudice.
I'm half way through and all I can say is that Austen has a wonderful way with dialogue, so much so that she barely has any descriptive scenes or settings. This doesn't really bother me as because I can envision every scene so perfectly because of Austen's words. I also have a new respect for Darcy and found something that hasn't come across in the many of the screen versions I've watched. One specific thing that has been missing from page to screen, is in regards to Darcy's "regard" of Elizabeth. I always felt when Darcy first meets Elizabeth he really doesn't care for her because he is a snob. But, as he comes to knows her and sees her in a new light, his opinion and feelings changes to respect and then love.
From reading Pride and Prejudice, that's not the case. My long lasting opinion for Darcy has changed drastically. When Darcy first makes Elizabeth's acquaintance, he does look down upon her, but is also smitten, mainly because he adores her wonderful eyes. Darcy cannot get Elizabeth's eyes out of his mind and can't understand why he finds her so appealing when everything about her confuses him. She is beneath him because of her social status and crazy family. But, Darcy is so confounded to the point that he wants to be around Elizabeth all the time and because this simply cannot be, he forcible removes himself from her presence, for fear he will ask for her hand in marriage. He's practically obsessed with Miss Bennet. His suffering is very funny. His internal turmoil over his feelings for Elizabeth is in a word- adorable.
I never thought of Darcy being adorable before. From seeing Colin Firth and then Matthew Macfadyen play Darcy, I've always felt that the character was stiff, cold and aloof. This sudden "Aha" moment I've had with the Darcy character from the novel has made my reading so much more enjoyable.
I hope to finish reading Pride and Prejudice by the end of this week and post my overall opinions of my Austen reading experience. I've decided my next classic novel to tackle will be another one of her novels, Persuasion.
My love for Persuasion is up there with Pride and Prejudice. (mind you, this is going by what I've watched on screen) Over at Pop Culture Divas, Julia Smith has posted her top 10 ten romantic films, and one of them is the 1995 movie Persuasion. She found a fan made video highlighting the important parts from the movie and after watching it, I can say that my devotion for Jane Austen continues to grow.
If you haven't watched Persuasion, I urge you to do. Ciarán Hinds playing Captain Frederick Wentworth is just as excellent as Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen playing Mr. Darcy.