Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Author: Jane Austen
Read by: Carolyn Seymour
Publisher: Blackstone Audio - 2011
Length: I can’t find the length!!
Source: MP3 Audio through Wisconsin Public Library Consortium – Overdrive on my Droid
Listening to Pride and Prejudice is a good way for me to relax. I enjoyed listening to it in the evening after I had put the kids to bed and was doing the dishes and other mundane chores. It was a good way to actually enjoy the tasks. This review will not be a synopsis of the story of Pride and Prejudice (which you can find in my old reviews), but a review of this audiobook version.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of my favorite novels of all time. I have read it and countless spin-offs numerous times, and have watched many different versions, but I never tire of it. I decided to listen to an audiobook version that I had not listened to before as part of the 2013 Bicentenary Celebration hosted by Austenprose. It is two-hundred years since the world first received this wonderful classic novel, and now is the time to celebrate.
I had listened to an audiobook version of Pride and Prejudice a couple of years ago and was not impressed. While I will always enjoy my favorite novel, the previous narrator I listened to was rather dry. If I hadn’t loved the material, I would have fallen asleep while listening! Luckily, this new Blackstone Audio version from 2011 has a wonderful narrator, Carolyn Seymour. While Ms. Seymour has a polished English accent, she brings the liveliness and fun to the narrative that one could imagine Elizabeth Bennet bringing to it if she were reading the novel. She also had a unique voice for each of the characters that also brought great enjoyment as I was listening to the novel. I especially loved Mrs. Bennet and Lydia’s voices.
I loved hearing my favorite lines being read while I was working around the house.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
“Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
“From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
There were many, many more quotes that I loved, but those are a few of my favorites. I was struck again while listening to Pride & Prejudice, what a change comes over both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as the book progresses. They are both better people by the end, and I believe they will find happiness together.
While I also laughed throughout the book at the folly of Mrs. Bennet, I couldn’t help think about how Mr. Bennet was the true villain of the novel. My British Novel professor brought up this point in college and it has always stayed with me. He is funny and loves his daughter Lizzie, but the novel talks frankly about how he married foolishly and was not wise with his finances. It is because the family will be in desperate straits when he dies, that Mrs. Bennet has to work so furiously on finding a husband for all of her daughters. I think it is one of the ironies of the books that Mrs. Bennet is actually the parent in the right, even if she is foolish.
I think the true reason why Austen’s novels have lived on is because the characters in the novels are still with us today. Who has not had a family member that embarrasses them at a party? The shy sister, the flirty sister, the person who acts like your friend, but is really not. We all have known our own Janes, Lydias, Miss Bingley’s, and Mrs. Bennets. Austen was able to capture these personalities faithfully and they resonate true to today.
Overall, this 2011 audiobook version of Pride and Prejudice narrated by Carolyn Seymour was a joy to listen to. If you are looking for a great audiobook, I would highly recommend this version.