Yes, you read the title right, in these Difficult Times I’ve decided to read “Pride and Prejudice” for the first time ever, and apparently blog about it. Don’t ask me why, this decision was made at the height of the COVID-19 quarantine, even though I’m only finding time for it now, when quarantine is (so far) mostly over for me.
This post will mostly be disclaimers and general info, if only so that I can refer people to it later (assuming anyone but me ever reads this lol).
Have you really never read this book before?
A fun fact about me is that I’ve not only never read Pride & Prejudice, I’ve actually never read a single Austen novel. This is mostly because:
(1) Although I grew up reading a lot of 18th and 19th century literature (and generally read very few books published after 1950 prior to turning eighteen), very few of the authors I read were women. In fact, almost none of them were.
(2) I was raised with the attitude that the time to read classics is at the beginning of your reading life, because the more contemporary things you read, the more they’ll be based on the classics (of whatever literary tradition you’re consuming) and reading it in the “wrong order” will not be as enjoyable.
So, as an adult I made peace with never having read Austen, and satisfied myself with watching screen adaptations of her work (in the last five years I’ve watched both the mini-series with Colin Firth and the movie with Keira Knightley). But then, as detailed above, the pandemic happened, and I guess the world changing changed something in me as well, hah.
(3) I grew up in between several countries where English was a foreign language, and the literary canon didn’t shun Austen but also didn’t necessarily consider her essential. I never studied Austen at school, my parents had a fairly large library and a passionate commitment to books and still we never had a copy of her work at home, and I don’t even remember encountering her at my small school library.
It’s important for me to establish this because I think a lot of my internet friends think of me as a native English speaker – I’m really not, I speak very little English in my daily life and neither my formal education nor my work experience has ever been primarily conducted in English – and there’s a different weight to not reading Austen if you’re from the Anglosphere.
So, to clear up any misunderstandings, I am very much A Foreigner 🙂
Wait, so you know what happens in P&P, right?
I do! From the filmed adaptations. I’m looking forward to discovering what’s actually on the page.
What are your reading plans?
I’m not sure! I’m not a very fast reader, so this will for sure take a while, and I’m not planning to write up my thoughts at any regular intervals, but whenever I have the time and inclination.
Okay, I want to follow this journey!
Yay! Probably the best way to do that is to either follow this blog (if that’s a thing one can still do?) or follow me on Twitter where I’ll be posting about it occasionally.