Sunday, May 24, 2009

Britons Behaving Badly

I finished a book on my list (! ! ). Pride and Prejudice is a delicious farcical look at early 19th century* English middle-class society. In addition to its lack of gore and bodily dismemberment, I appreciated some wonderful pointy-sharp sentences, beginning right at the beginning:

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

The true genius of the author is that she created a sympathetic main character, Elizabeth, even though Elizabeth engages in the very same nasty prejudging behavior that she deplores in the rest of society.

And poor Darcy. The whole thing could have been solved at the beginning if Society had recognized Darcy for what he is: an introvert, forced to do extrovert stuff like Go to Balls and Maintain Conversation. In this respect our world is the same as in Austen’s time: built for extroverts, with a few introverts allowed in here and there.

And now I move on to a book historically related to Britons behaving badly during the British raj: The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power by Tariq Ali. I am expecting some bodily dismemberment.

*or is it late 18th century, when Austen wrote the first version of the book? Either way, it’s a long time ago, which my kids would call “the pioneer days” or “when Moses walked the earth.” Those are both the same era, according to said Kids. And it was in that era when I was last able to finish a book.

No comments: