Over 200 years ago, on January 28th 1813, Pride and Prejudice, one of the most popular novels in English literature, was first published .
Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies, and continues to be studied and written about by scholars, and relished by readers everywhere. Film versions of the book, literary adaptions, spin-offs, and spoofs continue to explode and proliferate.
“5 Ways to Celebrate the Publication of Pride and Prejudice” is a a celebration of the vivacity, spunk, and independence of its 21-year old heroine, (a true feminist!) and the brilliance of her creator.
1. Liberate Your Inner Elizabeth Bennet!
Elizabeth Bennet, the feisty heroine of Pride and Prejudice, is witty, self-assured, and a keen observer of the oddities and eccentricities of human nature.
“Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can,” she famously remarked.
We can’t all be brilliant, witty, and self-assured, at least all of the time. But we can take inspiration from Elizabeth’s sense of fun, and strong sense of self.
2. Don’t Settle for a Guy Who Is “Just Not into You.”
After Elizabeth’s frosty dismissal of Mr. Darcy’s proposal of marriage, she realizes that he is “exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her.” Will she get a second chance?
“If he is satisfied with only regretting me, when he might have obtained my affections and hand,” she tells herself, “I shall soon cease to regret him at all.”
In other words, if he’s not into her, she’s not into him either.
This is easier said than done and, for many of us, and more easily accomplished in hindsight. But we can still aspire to Elizabeth’s soaring self-confidence.
3. Become a “Desperate Walker.”
“Exercise more” is on everyone’s New Year’s Resolution list! In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, Jane referred to herself as a “desperate walker.” Elizabeth Bennet, too, loves to walk and sets off on a three-mile hike across muddy fields to visit her sick sister, Jane, much to the contempt of the stuffy Bingley sisters who sneer at her muddy skirts and untidy appearance. (“She really looked almost wild!”)
4. Read Jane Austen’s letters
Jane Austen was not about tea and small talk as some (who likely never read her) would assert. Her letters, as well as her novels, reveal Austen’s rich irony, biting wit, and wicked sense of humor.
“Mrs. Hall, of Sherborne, was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright. I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband,” she wrote Cassandra.
5. Give the Gift of Jane
Buttons, hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers – the sky is the limit and your Austen-loving friend will appreciate your thoughtfulness! Or your mom, if she’s a Janeite, although the “temporary” Austen tattoo my daughter plastered on my arm a few months ago still hasn’t washed off. Not that I mind. After all, Jane is forever.