Ackland, Michael (2016)"What are men to rocks and mountains?": self-interest, civility and the unnameable in mrs Austen"s Pride and Prejudice.

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In: Colomba, Caterina, (ed.) Pride and also Prejudice: a bicentennial bricolage. Università degli Studi di Udine, Udine, Italy, pp. 159-174.

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Abstract

one of the objections most regularly levelled in ~ Pride and also Prejudice focuses on the novel"s self-imposed constraints and also its alleged disjunction from momentous modern-day events, as well as from a substantial gamut of human being emotions and experience. Charlotte Brontë articulated this view-point fine in an regularly quoted letter to G.H. Lewes the 1848:

Why do you like miss Austen so an extremely much? ns am confused on that point <...> I had actually not checked out Pride and Prejudice it rotates I check out that sentence the yours, and then I got the book. And also what did ns find? an exact daguerreotyped portrait the a commonplace face; a closely fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and also delicate flowers; however no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open up country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly favor to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in your elegant but confined houses.

And Austen herself seemed virtually come anticipate few of these bookings in a letter that 1813, a year noteworthy alike because that the appearance of Pride and Prejudice and also for fateful Napoleonic campaigns. Her novel, she conceded, to be "rather also light, and also bright, and also sparkling; it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there" to embrace more comprehensive issues, such together "Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparté , or anything the would form a contrast, and also bring the leader with boosted delight to the playfulness and epigrammatism that the general style". The bulk of her reader of course have demurred, as Austen predicted she correspondent would execute ("I doubt your fairly agreeing through me here").

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They have happily adopted the novel"s sparkling comedy that manners, joyed in the author"s intelligence and also deftness of touch, and also in the seemingly satisfying resolution that the plots assorted romantic conundrums. Yet 200 years after its publishing Pride and also Prejudice is quiet dogged intermittently by the charge of shining superficiality and lack the "shade" – a charge which this essay seeks to reassess in state of contemporary expectations, the novel"s preoccupations and also its much-debated conclusion.

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