A Letter to Jane Austen

Dear Ms. Austen,

You may be astonished at my making such an abrupt introduction of myself, but I have known your writing far longer than you have known mine. It may then be merely my pleasure entirely to introduce myself.

Of late I have familiarised myself with your book Pride and Prejudice. My prior acquaintance with it came in the form of an excerpt in one of my children’s books. I am not now a child, but I was once one and I had many books with which to amuse myself. — But no more of this.

Permit me to express my sincerest adoration for the plot, the characters, and even the language of the aforementioned work. You have shewn the world a stile essentially your own, and if I were I would chuse to write in it, adapting your mannerisms of prose and turns of phrase — and perhaps even spelling. Though I would have liked it if the declarations of love had been shewn, not merely described. So prettily and wonderfully were the characters of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth thought out that no body would ever dare to hope for their ultimate separation. Rather, one would pray that their pride and prejudice would not hinder them from finding in each other a perfect match — and yourself being the master architect of every point and development, you deserve much praise.

In this connexion I heartily commend you and will recommend your book to my friends. I would also like to inform you of the existence of a most excellent film based on your novel. But I am sure the producers of the said film have already asked your permission to create it.

With warmest, deepest regard, &c.;


Had you there, didn’t I? In case you didn’t get it, all I was saying was that I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. If you can get past the whole intricate English language thing (fashionable in Austen’s time, which I was referencing in my letter), it’s actually a beautiful story. It does take some imagination to generate the images in my head because Austen sometimes describes what was said rather than having her character actually say it. The 2005 film version, which stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy, is more explicit. Aside from some anachronisms in speech within the film (“she must snap him up,” says Charlotte Lucas), you get a better sense of the emotion, although the book offers you a better view of the workings of Elizabeth’s mind.

By the way, the version of the film I watched didn’t have any kissing, quite different from the version screened in the US. I guess I like understatement best as it seems more in tune with the era in which the film is set. The film itself already takes liberties with the expression of love towards the ending; I don’t think anyone need be whacked over the head by Mr. Darcy calling Elizabeth missus several times.

Pride and Prejudice is my new favorite romantic film. I love Mr. Darcy!

P.S. I took this quiz about the book and I got 7 out of 10 right. If I hadn’t second-guessed myself about some of the answers I think I might have gotten 9 out of 10. Ah well, I’m reading the book again anyway.

Also, Christianity Today has a positive review on the film and lists it as one of the Ten Most Redeeming Films of 2005. (Links via AustenBlog: She’s everywhere.)

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *