Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Naxos Audiobooks) – A Review & Giveaway

One is humbled to review a book considered a classic of world literature. What could I possibly say about Pride and Prejudice that has not been scrutinized by scholars, exalted by enthusiasts or bemoaned by students who have been forced to read it and just don’t get what all the fuss is about? Plenty, and that is one of its enduring charms. It is so many things to different people. I have read it every year for *ahem* more years than I wish to admit, and still laugh out loud at Austen’s dry wit, wily social commentary and satisfying love story. It often tops international polls as the “the most loved” or “favorite book” of all time, numerous stage and screen adaptations continue to remind us of its incredible draw to the modern audience and its hero and heroine Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet may be the most famous romantic couple short of Romeo and Juliet. High praise indeed for a novel written almost two hundred years ago by a country clergyman’s daughter, home schooled by her father and unexalted in her lifetime.

Set in the early nineteenth-century country village of Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story revolves around the Bennet family and their five unmarried daughters. They are the first family of consequence in the village, unfortunately the Longbourn estate is entailed by default to a male heir, their cousin Mr. William Collins. This is distressful to Mrs. Bennet who knows that she must find husbands for her daughters or they shall all be destitute if her husband should die. Mr. Bennet is not as concerned and spends his time in his library away from his wife’s idle chatter and social maneuvering. The second eldest daughter Elizabeth is spirited and confident, wanting only to marry for love. She teases her eldest sister Jane that she must catch a wealthy husband with her beauty and good nature to support them. The three younger sisters Mary, Catherine and Lydia hinder their sister’s chances for a good match by inappropriate and unguarded behavior.

When Mr. Bingley, a single man of large fortune, moves into the neighborhood with his fashionable sisters he attends the local Assembly Ball and is immediately taken with beautiful Jane Bennet. His friend Mr. Darcy is even richer with a great estate in Derbyshire, but he is proud and arrogant giving offense to all including Elizabeth by refusing to dance with her. She overhears him tell Bingley that she was only tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt him. This amuses and annoys her enough to repeat it to her friends and family. The whole community declares him the most disagreeable man, eaten up with pride. And thus the famous love story begins. How Mr. Darcy’s pride will be humbled and Elizabeth’s prejudices dissolved is one of the greatest stories of all time. Austen’s astute characterizations and plot machinations never cease to amaze. Society has changed in two hundred years, but human nature, foibles and all, remains constant, much to our amusement and delight.

Naxos Audiobooks presents us with a professionally produced and finely crafted jewel in this audio recording of Pride and Prejudice. Narrated by British actress Emilia Fox, viewers of the 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle will remember her fine performance as shy Georgiana Darcy and be pleasantly surprised by her vocal range and emotional depth in characterization. I particularly appreciated her interpretation of Mrs. Bennet’s frazzled anxiety and Lady Catherine de Bourgh imperious resolve. Listeners will enjoy all thirteen hours of this unabridged recording honoring one of the greatest novels ever written and want to seek out the other six Austen novels that they have also recorded in audio format.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox
Naxos Audiobooks USA, (2005)
Unabridged, 11 CD’s (13 h 02 m)
ISBN: 978-9626343562

‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’ Day 5 Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of an audio book recording of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (Naxos Audiobooks) by leaving your favorite quote from the novel by midnight, Saturday, July 24th, 2010. Winner will be announced on Sunday, July 25th. Shipment to continental US addresses only, or digital download internationally. Good luck!

Upcoming Event Posts

Day 6  June 21     Fashion at the Netherfield Ball
Day 7  June 23     Group Read: Chapters 15-21
Day 8  June 25     Tourism in Jane Austen’s Era

34 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Naxos Audiobooks) – A Review & Giveaway

  1. Hmmm, only one quote? There are so many that I love in this book. For this quote I love Mr. Bennet and it always makes me laugh…

    “It is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”

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  2. This is one of my favorites as it still holds true today. I live in a tourist town and the houses and cottages around us, we see a variety of people come and go … we definitely do more of the second part of the quote than the first!

    “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?” ~ Mr. Bennett

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  3. I am listening to this audio recording for this group read and I am enjoying Emilia Fox’s dramatized reading tremendously! =)

    I agree, Laurel Ann, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of voices she’s come up with. I especially delight in her voices for the Bingleys, especially that of Caroline. The nasal drawl is so perfectly waspish and her reading of the incident when Caroline couldn’t stop prattling on while Darcy was writing a letter to Georgiana at the top of Chapter 10 is just a gem! =D

    (Needless to say, no need to enter me, LA!)

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  4. There are so many great quotes in P&P, I will have to choose just one of my favorites. I love the whole passage where Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bennet all write letters, but, as it is too long to include in its entirety, here is Mr. Bennet’s letter to Mr. Collins:

    “DEAR SIR,
    “I must trouble you once more for congratulations. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.

    “Yours sincerely, etc.”

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  5. I’ve always loved Elizabeth’s reaction to Maria’s calling her to the window to gaze at Miss de Bourgh: “I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter!”

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  6. I agree, there are so many wonderful quotes, but one I use fairly often with my children is Mr Bennet’s admonition to Mary at the Netherfield ball: “That will do extremely well, child. You have delighted us long enough.”

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  7. Oh LA, my list of favorites is exhaustive but at the moment my favorite is…
    “if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavor to conceal it, he must find it out” from chapter 6!

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  8. I would say that the quote that gives me the most pleasure is from Elizabeth. It was delivered so well in the 1995 miniseries also and that gave me a LOT of pleasure!

    “You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner”

    Fabulous! I would love to hear Emilia Fox’s rendition as well.

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  9. I would love the audio for P and P. One of my favorite quotes from the novel is: “Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?”

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  10. I am SO excited that we’re all re-reading the original, untainted, beloved PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (sans zombies) together! I’m going to tweet about it (@One4TheBooks) so everybody knows! And I would love love love to have the book on CD so that I can listen to it as I drive, walk, work. Ah, the pure bliss of it all! Thank you.

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  11. Gasp! How can I be remiss in not having the P&P audio book on my iPod?! Fave quote: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I *had* begun.”

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  12. Oops forgot my quote…quite simple really it would between:

    “Good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” and “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
    or
    “You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them.”

    Oh, I cannot choose just one!

    Courtney

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  13. I have too many to pick an absolute favorite, but one line that makes me laugh out loud every time I read it comes from Lady Catherine – on the subject of music (and more specifically-piano playing).

    “I must have my share in the conversation, if you are speaking of music. There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”

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  14. This is extremely difficult. I’ve read through the other comments and I think everyone has touched on my favorites. The opening line always gets me every time. These 2 caught me–as they are slightly at odds with one another. :) But then again, it is Mr. Collins…

    “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.”
    Elizabeth, Chapter 6.

    “Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth — and it was soon done — done while Mrs. Bennet was stirring the fire.”
    Pride and Prejudice
    Chapter 15.

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  15. I just have to share one that I ran across while participating in the group read, and I actually laughed out loud:

    “Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.” -Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 2

    I’m still laughing.

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  16. Thanks for having this event, Laurel Ann! It’s been great so far & I can’t wait to see what’s next!

    So many good lines…thought I’d take one from Mr. Collins’ *excellent* proposal!:

    “Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out as the companion of my future life. But before I am run away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it will be advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying — and moreover for coming into Hertfordshire with the design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did.”

    The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, being run away with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so near laughing that she could not use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him farther…’

    who knows…I doubt things would have changed had she tried to stop him sooner, but it’s an interesting idea that maybe she could have encouraged him to consider Mary, or something! (though Charlotte’s obviously good for him)

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  17. P&P does read much better sans zombies.

    Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion (Chapter 17).

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  18. Another favorite quote of mine: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Chapter 60)

    *sigh*

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  19. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. ”

    The opening line is my favorite. I cannot help it. Whenever I open the book to do a re-read I just smile because I know of all the good stuff ahead! There are other lines that are wittier, romantic, or make one think more. This line, though, is so well-known and basically describes all of Austen’s heroes.

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  20. I’ll add another favorite quote on this post regarding Mr. Collins. In Chapter 14 he reveals his nature when Mr. Bennett asks about the source of the compliments he pays: “They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.”

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  21. My favorite quote is from Darcy:

    “My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.”

    One of our first hints of his interest in Lizzy and it makes me smile every time. :-)

    I recently watched Emilia Fox in “Ballet Shoes” (not knowing she was Georgiana Darcy!) and her performance was enchanting. Listening to her read my favorite book would be delightful.

    P.S. Like the previous Mary posted, I am also indebted to my English Lit teacher for making P&P required reading. Jane Austen became my favorite author after that!

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  22. One of my favorite quotes is from Mr Bennet in chapter 59, reacting to Lizzy informing him that Darcy found Lydia, bribed Wickham, etc.:

    “Had it been your uncle’s doing, I must and would have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry everything their own way. I shall offer to pay him tomorrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter.”

    Like

  23. Love this book!! actually studying it by choice for school, makes essay writing so easy when I love the book!!

    Easily one of my favourite quotes that I dont think has been mentioned is:
    “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”

    Like

  24. Pingback: Everything Austen Challenge II, 2010- Are you Game? « Austenprose

  25. Pingback: Join the 2010 Jane Austen Reading Challenge « Austenprose

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