Things To Do On Page 82 Reviews

Things To Do On Page 82 Reviews!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Page 82 of Pride and Prejudice

Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint which kept them mutually silent on the subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her sister, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness she grew daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been gone a week and nothing more was heard of his return.

Jane had sent Caroline an early answer to her letter, and was counting the days till she might reasonably hope to hear again. The promised letter of thanks from Mr. Collins arrived on Tuesday, addressed to their father, and written with all the solemnity of gratitude which a twelvemonth's abode in the family might have prompted. After discharging his conscience on that head, he proceeded to inform them, with many rapturous expressions, of his happiness in having obtained the affection of their amiable neighbour, Miss Lucas, and then explained that it was merely with the view of enjoying her society that he had been so ready to close with their kind wish of seeing him again at Longbourn, whither he hoped to be able to return on Monday fortnight; for Lady Catherine, he added, so heartily approved his marriage, that she wished it to take place as soon as possible, which he trusted would be an unanswerable argument with his amiable Charlotte to name an early day for making him the happiest of men.

Mr. Collins's return into Hertfordshire was no longer a matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary, she was as much disposed to complain of it as her husband. It was very strange that he should come to Longbourn instead of to Lucas Lodge; it was also very inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome. She hated having visitors in the house while her health was so indifferent, and lovers were of all people the most disagreeable. Such were the gentle murmurs of Mrs. Bennet, and they gave way only to the greater distress of Mr. Bingley's continued absence.

Neither Jane nor Elizabeth were comfortable on this subject. Day after day passed away without bringing any other tidings of him than the report which shortly prevailed in Meryton of his coming no more to Netherfield the whole winter; a report which highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most scandalous falsehood.

Even Elizabeth began to fear--not that Bingley was indifferent--but that his sisters would be successful in keeping him away. Unwilling as she was to admit an idea so destructive of Jane's happiness, and so dishonorable to the stability of her lover, she could not prevent its frequently occurring. The united efforts of his two unfeeling sisters and of his overpowering friend, assisted by the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements of London might be too much, she feared, for the strength of his attachment.

(The book is available for free online)
My Review

As much as I love Pride and Prejudice, I’m afraid this page is one of its most frightfully dull ones. There’s no dialogue whatsoever, and the only hint of Jane Austen’s keen-toothed wit is the one quip mid-page: “... lovers were of all people the most disagreeable.”

Of course the page is, as are all of Austen’s pages, suffused with her elegant voice -- but even that works against her here if the reader is unwary. So effortlessly does she flow from clause to clause to clause to clause that you can read, in the second paragraph, a sentence that is 118 words long and not even realize that you’ve just read a sentence that’s 118 words long. The writing is brisk and easy to read, despite being essentially one vast tract of exposition uncolored by the first metaphor or simile, and indeed lacking almost any figurative language whatsoever. In its very fluidity, the skill of this writing renders itself invisible, leaving the casual reader with little more than a sense of precise and well-mannered vocabulary.

What is left, then, is the substance of the page alone: a string of involuted romantic relationships clearly as marked by etiquette as by passion. We don’t even receive any visuals to break up the pavane of matrimonial aspirations and sisterly fretting -- no primly painted English manors, no quiverings of a pining maiden’s cheek, no deep liquid expanses of a leading man’s dark eyes. In short, the page seems almost a deliberate warning to anyone not fascinated by the courtship rites prevalent among the English gentry of the early 19th century: if you cannot abide a parlor-full of young ladies in want of husbands, stay away!

This is a shame, of course, as the book is marked by a great many elements not even remotely present on this page. But then, I never claimed the Page 82 method to be perfect ...


  1. i also enjoyed the zombie version of this classic

  2. I have wanted to read the zombie version for some time, but have yet to get around to it. I guess I ought to, and then I could publish a page 82 review comparing that one to this one!