Pride and Prejudice is the book that Jane Austen is most famous for. It is the story of the rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Published in 1813, it remains a beloved classic more than two centuries after its initial publishing.
Recently, a stage version of the book premiered at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City. Written by actor/playwright/Janeite Kate Hamill (who also stars as Elizabeth Bennet), the play is the story of the middle class Bennet sisters who are in need of husbands. With no brother to directly secure the family estate for the next generation and very small dowries to call their own, they have only one choice and that is to marry well. Eldest sister Jane (Amelia Pedlow, who also plays Miss De Bourgh) catches the eye of the newest bachelor in town, Mr. Bingley (John Tufts, who also plays Mary Bennet). Elizabeth is unhappily introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy (Jason O’Connell), Bingley’s best friend. They don’t exactly get along.
This play is nothing short of brilliant. Using a small stage, actors playing multiple characters and Austen’s text (for the most part), the play is well worth a few hours of your time. I will warn that Ms. Hamill did make some changes that do not exactly adhere to the cannon, but the changes were well worth it.
I absolutely recommend it.
Pride and Prejudice is playing at The Cherry Lane Theater at 38 Commerce Street in New York City until January 6th, 2018. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices.
The stereotype of the millennial generation is that we are spoiled, emotionally soft, never far away from our devices and that we expect the world to bow at our feet.
That is a lie, according to Malcolm Harris. His new book, Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, explores the truth of the millennial generation in an eye-opening way that I don’t think has been explored previously. Mr. Harris (born 1988) breaks the stereotypes of an entire generation. He points that we work our butts off, we have been taught that working for free is both acceptable and normal and our financial and employment situations are far from secure.
What Mr. Harris wrote struck a cord with me. It struck a cord because he is not afraid to tell the truth about this generation. While our parents and teachers may have been well meaning, they didn’t make things easier for us. The chapters that hit home for me were the ones about work and college. In the past, the path Americans took was pretty straight forward: after graduating high school, attend college (and by extension graduate on time), work at a well paying job for thirty or forty years before retiring around the age of sixty. That path is a thing of the past. Massive student debt, a lack of steady good paying jobs with benefits jobs and the ability to attend college and graduate within four years is the reality for many twenty and thirty somethings these days.
This book is a must read not only because it opens our collective eyes not only the wrongs that have been unknowingly done on the millennial generation, but it also shows today’s parents and teachers what has to be done to prevent the next generation from living with the same mistakes.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Jane Austen and her novels continues to be read and discussed for good reason.
Jenny Davidson’s new non fiction book, Reading Jane Austen, basically explains not only why her novels are timeless, but why we are still reading them 200 years later. While talking about the formal structure of the novels and how Austen created new techniques to develop her narrative and her characters, Ms. Davidson also talks about themes such as the rules of society and how women were seen treated.
This book is well written and enjoyable to read. I will however warn that it meanders towards academic writing at several points and new Janeites may not understand the writing as well as Janeites who are well versed in Jane’s novels.
Do I recommend it? Yes.