My favourite novel is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, which was published 200 years ago today. I think the fact that it’s still so popular, and so loved around the world, two centuries after it was published, says it all.
I love the complexities of the Bennett family, with five very different sisters. I love Mr Collins and how ridiculous he is. I love how Mr Darcy and Elizabeth move from dislike to love, how clearly they have faults but they both change and improve by the end of the book. I love the humour between Mr & Mrs Bennett.
Really, not much has changed in 200 years. Many women are hoping to find a suitable man. There are still the flirts and the scoundrals, the mothers desperate to see their daughters married. We all have that one friend who makes a most unsuitable match like Charlotte Lucas. We all know a snob or an interfering woman like Caroline Bingley. We all make judgements and first impressions that are often wrong.
Perhaps that’s why it’s still so popular, 200 years later, because we can still identify with Elizabeth Bennett.
For me, Pride & Prejudice was the first and the original romantic comedy. And I love romantic comedy (whether in books or movies), so today I say: thank you Jane Austen, on behalf of all the readers over the past 200 years, for the joy you gave and continue to give us.