Another enduring feature of Pride and Prejudice which has kept the novel’s critical discourse alive even today is its engagement with time-related anxieties. Securing a well-to-do husband is in effect securing a safe and steady future for the girl concerned. Irrespective of the fact that securing the future is never fully possible in life, the Bennett sisters go about achieving this through calculated manipulations of people and circumstances. The obvious superficiality and crassness of such manoeuvrings is a failure in terms of its philosophy. Thus, Austen’s philosophy “fails to open itself truly to the random possibilities of the future. A turn towards the future is not enough, in and of itself, to guarantee the authenticity of action. The turn to the future must be made in an ethical way, in a manner that seeks to acknowledge and preserve the freedom of the beloved instead of serving as an act of appropriation.” (Mathews, 2007) In Austen’s defence one can claim that the actions of the characters are not to be taken as the author’s personal didacticism. To the contrary, they merely showcase how people think and act in the real world of pre-Victorian England. To this extent, Pride and Prejudice is a success and it accounts for why the novel continues to garner critical and literary appreciation even today.
- Alavi, N. (2006, June 16). Book of a Lifetime ; Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen. The Independent (London, England), p. 27.
- Berggren, K. (2003, December 26). The Marriage of True Minds: Pride and Prejudice Offers a Satisfying and Still Useful Guide to Romance. National Catholic Reporter,40(9), 19.
- Bonaparte, F. (2005). Conjecturing Possibilities: Reading and Misreading Texts in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Studies in the Novel, 37(2), 141+.
- Mathews, P. (2007). An Open Invitation, or How to Read the Ethics of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, 29, 245+.