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Monday, September 01, 2008

Classics Bookclub - Pride & Prejudice

Classics Bookclub

It's time for the first "meeting" of the Classics Bookclub over at 5 Minutes for Books. Jennifer announced the club in August and the first book for consumption is Jane Austen's very popular Pride & Prejudice. I had read it before, eons ago, but it's been so long that I didn't really remember what my reading experience was like. After the BBC version of the movie came out (and you know which one I am speaking of -- there is no other!) I became one of the millions of women who would rather pop in one of the DVDs than sit down with the book. And I thought nothing of it.

When Jennifer suggested we kick off the Classics Bookclub with this work of art, I figured it was time to re-read it. Before I read P&P this time, I read Just Jane by Nancy Moser [review here] because I wanted to get a feel for who Austen was. (I've read all of Austen's works - now I've just to find out more about the woman herself!) I have appreciated doing that, although I know Moser's book is not an official biography or anything close. Moser did give me a feeling for who Jane was though and how who she was might have shone through in her writings. It was a nice thing to read before diving into this story yet again.

I have to say now, having re-read Pride & Prejudice, that the BBC version with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth is magnificent in following the book. I hardly felt like I was reading the book at all, in all honesty! The scenes and characters are so firmly fixed in my mind now, thanks to that particular movie version, and the dialogue so close and on point that I can hardly tell the difference. I did, however, appreciate the fact that the book summarizes various relationships in a much more satisfying manner than the movie ever could.

I short, I don't have anything particular deep or meaningful to share on this book. I guess the (firm) conclusion I have come to, having now re-read the book, is that it is rather imperative that you read the book before watching the movie otherwise you are spoiled for life and might never feel the need to read the book. Austen is indeed witty even on film but in book form . . . ah! She was a master at the fine art of written communication. This book sometimes says so much while saying so very little. And yet, we the readers, are moved by the characters' various experiences. Absolutely delightful! (After you've read the book then, of course, it is highly recommended that you watch BBC's 6 hour version. That is the only version that is necessary to watch. Period.)

I really didn't walk away with too many surprises from the book this go 'round. I just enjoyed the characters as usual and basked in Austen's wit. An enjoyable read, a good first pick for the bookclub and all is well.

Did you write up a post about this book and participate in the book club? If so, I'm sure I'll be seeing you around!

13 comments:

Julie said...

I guess I'm going to have to get my hands on this movie lol. I rented the one with Keira Knightly, but haven't seen the other one. But 6 hours? Not sure how I'll sneak in that much t.v. time from dh and the kids. ;) Great post!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I have that movie because I won an A&E Romance Collection DVD set on someone's blog a few months ago, so I'm definitely going to watch it soon. I can't wait to relive it.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I agree that the movie is a wonderful adaptation. So many of the lines are word for word!

I also agree that you should read the book first, but I also felt that rereading was even better after I saw the movie!

Lisa writes... said...

Oh, I do love the A&E miniseries; nearly as close to the movie as you can get! But I also loved the Keira version too, though for different reasons (don't hate me!).

Carrie said...

I'll do not my best not to hate you, Lisa.

Sigh.

So many friends watched *that* version but I just will not consent to do so myself. There is only one film adaptation that is remotely acceptible. ;)

BTW, I usually watch it in small incriments. An hour here, an hour there . . . it all works out in the end.

Nise' said...

My rule has always been to read the book before watching the film version. I drive my husband crazy if I read a book real close to a film because I sit through it and say, "that didn't happen in the book that way". Can't get him to watch P & P with me!

Bluestocking said...

I love the version with Collin Firth. It is very close to the book!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Colleen said...

I completely agree; there is only one real film version of this book, and it it is the BBC version!

Sarah Mehrens said...

A note to Julie: It's hard, because you get hooked, but I found the best way to watch P&P when you don't have 6 hours for one sitting is to break it up into half hour or hour segments over the course of several days or several weeks.

I did watch the recent P&P and it works when you only have two hours to devote, but in all honesty... I won't buy it and I've only seen it the one time... I'd much rather take 2 hours over the course of 3 weeks than miss such a superb film. ;-)

Carrie, if you loved this version of P&P you should check out the recent version of Sense and Sensibility. It's not 100%, but it's pretty close and much closer than the 1995 Emma Thompson version. You'd like it I think... oh except for one little thing at the begging. I heard about it, but missed it -- it's very brief and involves Willoughby.

Tameka said...

I have yet to watch the movie. Now I'm interested!! I'll have to see if the library has it in!! Great post!!

Leya said...

I have the A&E/BBC mini-series out...I'm starting it tonight. :D Hubby is away on a business trip, so it's my chance to watch it without his "usual" commentary.

Calon Lan said...

I'm with lisa about the Keira version -- different but really excellent in its own right. It brings out elements of the story that I didn't notice in the A&E version and doesn't stereotype some of the characters quite as much. That being said, the A&E version is probably the "definitive" adaptation to see.

ibeeeg said...

First let me say, I really enjoying reading all your reviews and I have read many.

Second... I agree with the following comment you made.
"the BBC version with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth is magnificent in following the book". I just finished watching the BBC version and it is great!

I also agree with you: "Austen is indeed witty even on film but in book form . . . ah! She was a master at the fine art of written communication. This book sometimes says so much while saying so very little. "

Thanks for your review.

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