Someone in my JASNA group recommended The Annotated Pride and Prejudice, by David M. Shapard, a few years ago. I promptly ordered it, but apart from using it to check a fact every so often, it’s languished on a bookcase ever since. I decided to read it during my stay in Florida.
So, for my fellow Janeites, here are some P&P tidbits, trivia, and fascinating facts I’ve come across while reading this detailed analysis of my all-time favorite book. My apologies to David M. Shapard if I misinterpreted anything.
Longbourn is, in fact, the name of the village in which the Bennets live, not the name of their house. Although, it seems that often they are speaking of their home when they use the term.
The true extent of Mr. Bennet’s irresponsible, and sometimes even cruel nature, became apparent to me as never before. We know he calls his daughters “silly,” publicly denounces Mary for her piano playing at the Netherfield Ball, and cavalierly tells Elizabeth that all girls like to be “crossed in love a little now and then.” But Elizabeth is the only daughter equipped to handle the sarcasm. When Mr. B. is off trying to find Lydia and Wickham, he can scarcely be bothered to pen a few lines to the family, and only responds to Mr. Gardiner’s important missive at Elizabeth and Jane’s urging.
The revered 1995 version of P&P, as well as the 2005 movie, portray Mr. Bennet as a lovable curmudgeon. I think my view of him had been skewed by watching these so many times!
Mary, of all the sisters, is on scene or even mentioned, very little. There’s an interesting discussion about this online during a Q&A session with the annotator/editor, David Shapard.
I was much more aware of Wickham’s indiscretions when he first meets Elizabeth, and of her eager willingness to believe all he says because of her attraction to him and her dislike of Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth’s lowest point in the novel: when, all within a brief span, Charlotte accepts Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley deserts Netherfield and Jane, and Wickham turns his attentions to Miss King and her newly inherited fortune.
Mr. Darcy’s distracted manner, right after Elizabeth tells hm about Lydia and Wickham, was due to the fact that he was already planning what his role might be in recovering her.
Mr. Darcy, did, in fact, wish for a marriage between Mr. Bingley and his sister Georgiana.
I learned the official meaning of livings, tithes and preferments; what is meant by “picturesque;” all about fenders and fire screens, lodges, paddocks, landscaping, and so much more. Of course, many of these are things I’d drawn conclusions about long ago, but it was good to have a more detailed, historically accurate explanation.
What have you learned on a close reading of Pride and Prejudice? Share your knowledge, please!