Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of ignorance.
Mr. Darcy says to Elizabeth in the new Penguin Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, that, for the first time since the first edition Austen laid her eyes upon, brings to the reader her orginal words.
Austen sold her rights to the first edition of Pride and Prejudice in 1812, and never again had any influence on the printed text. Throughout subsequent years various publishers edited, abridged, and even reorganised its structure according to the 19th century fashions.
It was Chapman who first looked for an old copy and brought us our beloved Austen’s novel in the form we know it today.
Yet, Chapman used Cassandra’s private copy, and while revising the novel applied her private notes. Penguin went further than that, and in their newest edition brings us Pride and Prejudice in the only form Austen has approved. Hence Mr. Darcy mentiones Lizzy’s ignorance rather than innocence, swiftly alluding to the underlying theme of the novel.
There are also slight differences in punctuation and spelling, giving reader the feel of an 18th century novel. The whole is edited with an introduction, chronology and notes by Vivien Jones, and enriched with the original Penguin Classics Introduction by Tony Tanner.
Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister, and to confess the truth, we are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting, from the hope we dare to entertain of her being hereafter our sister.
It’s funny that after mentioning that “[Georgiana’s] relations all wish the connection as much as [Bingley’s] own” she ends her letter with: “With all these circumstances to favour an attachment and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?”
While Darcy’s POV during Lizzy’s visit at Pemberley focuses on the one circumstance that might prevent it, however, what I found interesting now is the use of words: Continue reading →
Pierre Daniel Huet in his Traitté de l’origine des Romans (Treatise on the Origin of Novels) defends the genre in a manner similar to Austen’s:
I don’t, for all this, pretend to condemn the Reading of them. The Best Things in the World are attended with their Inconveniencies; Romances too may have much worse than Ignorance. I know what they are accused for: They exhaust our Devotion, and inspire us with Irregular Passions, and corrupt our Manner. All this may be, and sometimes does happen. But what can’t Evil and Degenerated Minds make an Ill Use of? Weak Souls are contagious to themselves, and make Poyson of every Thing. Histories must be forbidden, which relate so many Pernicious Examples; and the Fable must undergo the same Fate; for there Crimes are authorised by the Practice of the Gods. […] Continue reading →