Monday, 28 January 2013

Letter No.2

To see the full exchange, please visit the Epistles page.

Dear Anne

It was such a delight to read your letter!

Today marks the "real" 200th anniversary of our esteemed Pride & Prejudice! We can take comfort in the immortality of the written word though. Our Lizzy Bennet is still but not quite one-and-twenty. She would be no fun at all to visit at 200.

I haven't read Reading Lolita in Tehran- is there a sumptuous love story? I mostly read love stories. I first read P&P about 12 years ago when my friend Kelly insisted I read it before we had a BBC marathon viewing of the 1995 film. It was a favourite of her's. I loved it so much that when the film was not available from the video rental store, we went halves on the VHS box set and shared custody over it like the baby it was to us.

I like your description of your relationship filter for books. Upon thinking on it, my filter may be emotions (perhaps the Scorpio in me). Or more simply, happiness and relief. From the onset of any book, I want everything resolved, and for all to be happy. When Lizzy first argues with Darcy at the Netherfield ball, I am immediately anxious. Yes, he is a bit-standoffish at that point in their acquaintance, but she couldn't at least give him a try? I give her credit for rejecting his first proposal while in Kent. Not many women would be able turn it down, no matter how many sister's lives he destroyed. She chose the more difficult path - she knew how easily she could save her sisters from destitution simply by accepting the affection of a very rich and very attractive man! There is a brief sense of finality at the end of the rejection, but upon reading his letter that addresses "the offences laid against him", the anxiety returns. How soon after reading it does she begin to regret her rejection? Though, no woman of sound mind could regret, at least momentarily, rejecting such an insulting proposal. There is some relief from their meeting at Pemberly - an opportunity to set everything straight. Alas, Lydia and her foolishness get in the way - though I have to admit, I was never very anxious about her running off, beyond the impact it had on driving away Mr. Darcy. If only they could have finished off a lovely evening together. I confess I did not clue in to the implications of Lady Catherine's visit to Longbourn when I first read the book. How did she come to possess the knowledge of a possible relationship anyway? When Darcy returns to Netherfield and they are able to resolve everything, the relief floods in, but along with it, the disappointment of an underwhelming 18th century proposal and not a hot makeout scene to be seen. It is all quite exhausting. I would be quite happy to read a book with no conflict at all, though I might end up reading a non-fiction piece on lawn maintenance or some such nonsense.

All that said, a Pride & Prejudice without conflict would be void of Lizzy's unmatched use of language, as described in your previous letter. And as the literary adopter that I am, I'd be left without so much of my own language. It is well worth suffering through the anxieties of it all I suppose.

Happy 200th!


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