Ever since I began blogging about my love for literature – in particular, Jane Austen – I have been doing a lot more research about my favorite works of fiction (and their authors). And there’s something I’ve noticed when it comes to Jane Austen and some of her fans.
I’ve noticed that it’s a sort of taboo to admit that your favorite of Austen’s novels is Pride & Prejudice. I mean, if you’re a REAL Austen fan, you know that her other works are better than the infamous love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, right?
And I am taking up my pen today to completely, perfectly and incandescently disagree with that.
If you say your favorite Austen is Pride & Prejudice, be prepared for potential upturned noses and snooty remarks. If you, however, happen to love Emma or Northanger Abbey the most, you can be assured of a pat on the back by seasoned Janeites.
And that’s just downright silly.
If you happen to love one of the other five novels written by Miss Austen because they move you and stir something deep in your soul, then of course there is nothing wrong with that. But if you declare that your favorite Austen is not Pride & Prejudice for the sake of it not being Pride & Prejudice, then… well, stop it!
I have unnecessarily spent hours trying to decide which of Austen’s works is my favorite simply because I felt pressured to not answer with Pride & Prejudice. In order to impress, I wanted to be able to say that I love Persuasion or Sense & Sensibility the most. And while those other stories absorb me and delight me to no end, if I am honest with myself, they are simply not my favorite.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to matchmake with Emma Woodhouse. I love to cry with Marianne Dashwood. I love to laugh with Mr. Tilney. And I really get a kick out of Mrs. Bates.
But do you want to know something else?
There is no one more ridiculous than Mr. Collins. There is no one more snobbish than Caroline Bingley. There is no one more satirical that Mr. Bennet. There is no one more obnoxious than Lydia Bennet. There is no one more inspiring than Elizabeth Bennet. There is no one as sensible as Charlotte Lucas. And there is obviously no one more swoon-worthy than Mr. Darcy himself.
It probably goes without saying that one of the reasons people tend to shy away from admitting their love for Pride & Prejudice is because it’s by far the most popular and the most well-known of Austen’s works. And, well, some people believe it’s not cool to go with the flow – even if that’s where your heart lies.
But isn’t there a reason why it’s the most beloved? Obviously, I think there is. It’s because it’s the best. And I am completely at peace with that.
*Please note, I wrote this post with a smile on my face. If you disagree with me, that’s okay – I would love to have a fun conversation with you about this whether you agree or not! Leave me a comment below 🙂