Book of the Week #13: [Guest Post]

Yashas:

Yes, this week, we share the first guest post on our blog. And considering this wonderful, young lady gave me the final push I needed to start this blog, it is only fair that for her to be our first collaborator.

And I believe a short introduction is in order…

She is an old classmate of mine, and one of the few people who are so nice that I cannot even make fun of them… Well, at least not in public…

She is currently studying Astronomy from University of Sussex, and intends to pursue a Doctorate in Astrophysics.

Some observational area, though, she tells me, not theoretical… And I just nod along…

So, yeah, she is a smart one…


Shruti:

Pride and Prejudice,

by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Thus begins one of the most acclaimed classics of English literature. Set in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice is probably Jane Austen’s most recognized work.

The first time I came across Pride and Prejudice was when I was 13. My eyes fixated on the dark blue cover of an abridged copy; a part of the stack of our grade 8 books given to us by school. It was neither a part of our curriculum, nor were we ever taught it in school.

The following summer, I found myself devouring every bit of this romantic novel. I was very young, the book was an abridged copy, I saw only one episode of the 1995 BBC TV series and I’m not sure if I had understood anything else apart from the general storyline. But it was there to remain at the back of my mind forever. That’s what Austen does to you!

Fast forward six years later, the famous opening line greeted me again. This time, it was an original, unabridged copy.

“We are all fools in love”

The aspect of this book I love the most is the way it explores the myriad themes of love, family, human behavior, society and class in the early 19th century England—all this through a variety of different relatable characters.

To those even remotely familiar with English literature, Elizabeth (Lizzy) and Darcy are not names unheard of. To those who are hearing these names for the first time: They are the protagonists of Pride and Prejudice, and strong ones at that!

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

Humans, however well-meaning, are not devoid of follies. And Pride and Prejudice gives supreme examples of that. The title of the novel is interesting in itself and I’ll leave it to the readers to discover it for themselves what is the meaning behind it.

A not-so-much-of-a-spoiler alert:  The witty, good-natured, sarcastic, amazing conversationalist, imperfect Lizzy is one of my favourite literary female characters. She is one of the most loved English literature characters and I can’t thank Austen enough for that. Allow me to express how ardently I admire her!

Another aspect of Pride and Prejudice I cannot stress enough upon is the language. Parts of it keep reminding you that it is a 19th century English novel that you are reading. While I agree that it can get a little vexing at first, do not let that deter you! Being an English language zealot, I find Austen’s language beautiful, and also daunting at times. Nevertheless, it is always a treat to keep reading her words over and over again.

Needless to say, Pride and Prejudice is one of my Top 5 books. I’ve loved every single page of this masterpiece and plan to keep revisiting it again and again. And why not?

“After all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!”


Yashas:

And, we end today’s discussion with a snippet of our conversation regarding this post. And yeah, I am paraphrasing…

Y: One thing I’d like you to add to the post.
To whom would you recommend the book?
I think I know what your answer would be… Still…

S: Haha!
What do you think?

Y: You’d say pretty much everybody who can read it should read it…

S: You so know me!

Well, do read the book… It is available for free, here. What more could you want?

That is all for today…

Thank you…

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Published by

Shruti Badole

PhD student at the University of Manchester. Masters from Uni of Sussex, B.Tech from IIT Madras. Astronomer. Music passionate. Physics enthusiast. Part time Philosopher and big time Dreamer!

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