I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. Your ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter; but would my giving you the wished-for promise make their marriage at all more probable? Supposing him to be attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand make him wish to be-stow it on his cousin? Allow me to say, Lady Catherine, that the arguments with which you have supported this extraordinary application have been as frivolous as the application was ill-judged. You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. How far your nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs, I cannot tell; but you have certainly no right to concern yourself in mine. I must beg, therefore, to be importuned no farther on the subject.
Mr. Darcy: In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
Elizabeth: In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could FEEL gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot—I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.
Mr. Darcy: And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little ENDEAVOUR at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.
Elizabeth: I might as well inquire,’ replied she, ‘why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse
for incivility, if I WAS uncivil? But I have other provocations. You know I have. Had not my feelings decided against you—had they been indifferent, or had they even been favourable, do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved sister? I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you act-ed THERE. You dare not, you cannot deny, that you have from each other—of exposing one to the censure of the world for caprice and instability, and the other to its derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind been the principal, if not the only means of dividing them. Can you deny that you have done it?
Mr. Darcy: I have no wish of denying that I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success. Towards HIM I have been kinder than towards myself.
Elizabeth: But it is not merely this affair, on which my dislike is founded. Long before it had taken place my opinion of you was decided. Your character was unfolded in the recital which I received many months ago from Mr. Wickham. On this subject, what can you have to say? In what imaginary act of friendship can you here defend your-self? or under what misrepresentation can you here impose upon others?
Mr. Darcy: You take an eager interest in that gentleman’s concerns.
Elizabeth: Who that knows what his misfortunes have been, can help feeling an interest in him?
Mr. Darcy: His misfortunes, yes his misfortunes have been great indeed.
Elizabeth: And of your infliction. You have reduced him to his present state of poverty—comparative poverty. You have withheld the advantages which you must know to have been designed for him. You have deprived the best years of his life of that independence which was no less his due than his desert. You have done all this! And yet you can treat the mention of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule.
Mr. Darcy: And this is your opinion of me! This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?—to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?
Elizabeth: You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it. From the very beginning—from the first moment, I may almost say—of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.
Mr. Darcy: You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.
Bits & pieces from an article from BBC. To read the whole article click here.
It has one of the most famous opening lines in literature, it turned Colin Firth into a heart-throb, and it spawned a zombie spin-off. Now Pride and Prejudice has reached the venerable age of 200.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice will be accompanied by a surge of Jane Austen-related events and merchandise –
and articles that shamelessly hijack the novel’s first sentence.
Monday’s anniversary is being marked by a “readathon” of the novel at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, which has launched an 11th hour internet campaign to find an international star to read the first chapter.
Experts, writers and fans will read the entire novel in a 12-hour internet broadcast, which will hook up with Jane Austen societies in Australia and North America. Jane Austen societies also exist in Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil
“It’s a worldwide industry,” says Jane Austen Centre spokesman David Lassman. “There’s always been an audience, but the BBC production in 1995 was the turning point that sent Jane Austen global. At the heart is the six books, but she is a brand and there’s no getting away from that.”
The Jane Austen Centre has about 60,000 visitors per year, and an estimated 80% are women. Dressing in period costume is a key part of the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, where the writer lived from 1801 to 1806.
“The audience is predominantly female. We do find that boyfriends or husbands are brought along kicking and screaming – often in military uniform – but in the end they seem to enjoy it.”
First published by Thomas Egerton in 1813, Pride and Prejudice was Jane Austen’s second novel. She described it as her “own darling child”.
Although out of copyright and available for free on e-readers, it is estimated that the book – with the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy at its heart – sells up to 50,000 copies each year in the UK.
What’s the enduring appeal of Pride and Prejudice?
“It can be read on so many levels,” says Marilyn Joice, a committee member of the Jane Austen Society of the UK.
“You can read it as a romantic Cinderella story, a comedy or as a social commentary on the problems facing women of Austen’s own social strata.
“It’s expressed with some biting, often very subtle irony, so you don’t need to be an academic to get something out of it.
“Most people love a happy ending and Pride and Prejudice does seem to offer that at least for some of the characters.
“One of the things I personally like about Austen is that she doesn’t lay it out for you. She demands that you read between the lines. She’s an author who says, ‘I think my readers are intelligent.’
“I must have read Pride and Prejudice up to 10 times – every time I go back to it, I still find myself laughing because the comic characters are really well drawn. It’s fresh for me every time I read it.”
AVI Credit: http://mrandmrsdarcy.tumblr.com
Elizabeth: It is your turn to say something Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples.
He smiled and assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said.
Elizabeth: Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones. But now we may be silent.
Mr. Darcy: Do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing?
Elizabeth: Sometimes. One must speak a little you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought to be so arranged, as they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible.
Mr. Darcy: Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?
Elizabeth: Both, for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with the eclat of a proverb.
Mr. Darcy: This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure. How near it may be to mine, I cannot pretend to say. You think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly.
Elizabeth: I remember hearing you once say Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. You are very cautious I suppose as to its being created?
Mr. Darcy: I am
Elizabeth: And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?
Mr. Darcy: I hope not.
Elizabeth: It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.
Mr. Darcy: May I ask to what these questions tend?
Elizabeth: Merely to the illustration of your character. I am trying to make it out.
Mr. Darcy: And what is your success?
Elizabeth: I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly.
Mr. Darcy: I can readily believe that reports may vary greatly with respect to me; and I could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.
Elizabeth: But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity.
Mr. Darcy: I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is among the most read and re-read novels on a woman’s bookshelf. My nine-year-old niece has her copy as does my aunt who just turned 60. Even the teenager in our family makes sure her hardcover edition does not gather dust. Notwithstanding the lack of sex, vampire venom and death, it has stood the test of time as a love story for all ages.
Consider that, on January 28, it will have been exactly two hundred years since Jane Austen introduced the world to the travails of a mother trying to marry away five daughters and the greater agony of the men who fall prey therein. Born in 1813 and still a fan favourite — not one of those classics that the school or your parent forces you to read but a book girls still want to own, not just borrow. This unabated appreciation and connection to a period relic forces the question, ‘what did Austen do so right’?
For me, the longevity and unanimity of the novel’s appeal, especially for women, can be explained in no small part in just two words: Mr Darcy. The social context, set in early 19th century England, may have changed but the search for an ideal man continues to end in the aloof romantic hero who managed to win Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s heart. With no apologies to Edward Cullen and Christian Grey, vampires and sado-masochists are not a patch on Eliza’s perfectly imperfect leading man, the very human Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy in BBC’s 1995 tv series. Courtesy: Facebook
Mr Darcy’s modern-day appeal has often been questioned and scoffed at. For instance, in 2004, author Cherry Potter wrote inThe Guardian, in a piece titledWhy do we still fall for Mr Darcy?, “When society was deeply patriarchal, men like Darcy really were severe, remote and all-powerful – in the novel, Darcy even describes himself as “selfish and overbearing”. Women were separated from men by all sorts of formal conventions which left them little opportunity to get to know men until after they were married. The question is, why does Darcy continue to have a compelling hold over women, particularly educated literary feminist women, in the 21st century?”
The answer may lie in this: beyond the arrogance and the aloofness, Austen’s Darcy had that one quality that women can rarely resist: vulnerability. He did not share affection as freely as the stereotypical ‘nice guy’, for instance, Mr Bingley, did. He was emotionally unavailable and when he did love, it was so rare that a woman, even one as tough as nails as Elizabeth, was compelled to do what she knows she can do best: save him from himself. That is a trait that has often been a woman’s undoing but it is also one that is undeniable — even in the “educated feminist” category.
It was inevitable, then, that over 70 authors have been ‘inspired’ to retell and reimagine the worlds of Netherfield, Pemberly and in-between. From books written from Mr Darcy’s perspective to raunchy interpretations to prequels and sequels, there has been a slew of what can only be called literary fan-fiction. Even the trendsetting chick-lit of recent times that further generated many clones, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary, was a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
Little did Austen know when she penned this book between 1796 and 1797, originally titledFirst Impressions and later revised in content and name after the initial rejection, that she had just written the original chick-lit.
The book’s influence on popular culture is well-documented in the various movies and TV shows based on it. Obviously Bollywood could not resist either, from the famous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-starrer Bride and Prejudice set in Punjab, India, to the older, less-talked about TV show from the ’80s, Trishna, the importance placed on marriage and the burden of ‘daughters’ was gleefully borrowed and showcased by Indian makers. Since audiences are guaranteed, the next 200 years may well see more reinterpretations including upcoming alien-attacked and zombie-plagued versions – on the latter I do not jest, that is apparently happening.
But beyond the words and celluloid, did you know – as I just found out and had to share – that even scientists were forced to acknowledge the ‘universal truth’ of Mr Darcy’s appeal? According to a report in livescience.com, “in one of the more bizarre homages to Jane Austen, biologists have named a protein in mice urine after her famed character Mr Darcy from the novel Pride and Prejudice”. The report says that “much like Mr Darcy had a magnetic pull on Elizabeth Bennet (and countless readers), the protein is a pheromone responsible for attracting female mice to the odor of a particular male”. The protein was thus named ‘Darcin’.
Now other period novels have had longevity and dark, flawed male leads too. Take Mr Rochester (Jane Eyre), Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and John Thornton (North and South). The leading men from the other novels in the Big 6 – Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Emma – have strong followings of their own as well, being as they are amiable, charming and more accessible. But much as it may defy logic to many, none have captured the imagination of generations in such an all-encompassing manner as well as Mr Darcy. And, let me add, warped their notions of romance. For 200 years and counting – I cannot stress that enough.
So, thanks for nothing, Ms Austen. It’s been two centuries and women and girls, married and single, the world-over are still looking for their Mr Darcy. You’re probably smirking from your perch far above, looking down – literally – at the swooning millions who fall for that boorish man on first read and then find no one that can scowl as well. Thanks a lot for that.
“Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to town last November, he really loved me, and nothing but a persuasion of my being indifferent would have prevented his coming down again!”
– Jane Bennet, Pride & Prejudice
I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation.
It was too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.
I honestly believe that each girl should be waiting for her own Mr. Darcy. Not a Prince Charming and definitely not an Edward Cullen. To me, Mr. Darcy is the epitome of what love should be like. This character proves that first impressions are not always correct, and shows people that there is always something beneath the surface, that sometimes your pathway to happiness isn’t always the way you expect.
Mr. Darcy is the man whose love you never have to doubt. He doesn’t need extravagant words to prove his love- you just know. You know that he’s honourable enough to not do something stupid, like have an affair with another woman. Yet, you know he’d do anything for you. He’d face the ghosts from his past for you, even though it is one of the greatest humiliations he could face. He’d do it all for you. Just to make you happy.
Yes, I spend way too much time analysing this.
I never said I had a life.
A beautiful tumblr on Pride & Prejudice (BBC series!). The creations are just wonderful. Loved each and every one of them.