Pride and Prejudice
简·奥斯汀 / Wordsworth Editions Ltd / 1995-9-5出版
简介

《傲慢与偏见》主讲了奥斯丁的讽刺艺术,不仅表现在某些人物的喜剧性格上,也不仅表现在众多情节的喜剧性处理上,而且还融汇在整个故事的反讽构思中,让现实对人们的主观臆想进行嘲讽。男主角达西最初断定,贝内特家有那么多不利因素,几个女儿很难找到有地位的男人,可后来恰恰是他娶了伊丽莎白。而伊丽莎白呢,她曾发誓决不嫁给达西,可最后还是由她做了达西夫人。再看看那个不可一世的凯瑟琳·德布尔夫人,为了阻止伊丽莎白与她外甥达西攀亲,她不辞辛劳,亲自出马,先是跑来威吓伊丽莎白,继而跑去训诫达西,殊不知正是她这次奔走为两位默默相恋的青年通了信息,促成了他们的美满结合。更令人啼笑皆非的是,就在这几位“智者”受到现实嘲弄的同时,书中那位最可笑的“愚人”贝内特太太,最后却被证明是最正确的。她认为:“有钱的单身汉总要娶位太太,这是一条举世公认的真理。”这种荒谬与“真理”的滑稽转化,尽管超越了一般意义上的是非观念,但却体现了作者对生活的深刻思索。

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."Next to the exhortation at the beginning of Moby-Dick, "Call me Ishmael," the first sentence of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice must be among the most quoted in literature. And certainly what Melville did for whaling Austen does for marriage——tracing the intricacies (not to mention the economics) of 19th-century British mating rituals with a sure hand and an unblinking eye. As usual, Austen trains her sights on a country village and a few families——in this case, the Bennets, the Philips, and the Lucases. Into their midst comes Mr. Bingley, a single man of good fortune, and his friend, Mr. Darcy, who is even richer. Mrs. Bennet, who married above her station, sees their arrival as an opportunity to marry off at least one of her five daughters. Bingley is complaisant and easily charmed by the eldest Bennet girl, Jane; Darcy, however, is harder to please. Put off by Mrs. Bennet's vulgarity and the untoward behavior of the three younger daughters, he is unable to see the true worth of the older girls, Jane and Elizabeth. His excessive pride offends Lizzy, who is more than willing to believe the worst that other people have to say of him; when George Wickham, a soldier stationed in the village, does indeed have a discreditable tale to tell, his words fall on fertile ground.
Having set up the central misunderstanding of the novel, Austen then brings in her cast of fascinating secondary characters: Mr. Collins, the sycophantic clergyman who aspires to Lizzy's hand but settles for her best friend, Charlotte, instead; Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy's insufferably snobbish aunt; and the Gardiners, Jane and Elizabeth's low-born but noble-hearted aunt and uncle. Some of Austen's best comedy comes from mixing and matching these representatives of different classes and economic strata, demonstrating the hypocrisy at the heart of so many social interactions. And though the novel is rife with romantic misunderstandings, rejected proposals, disastrous elopements, and a requisite happy ending for those who deserve one, Austen never gets so carried away with the romance that she loses sight of the hard economic realities of 19th-century matrimonial maneuvering. Good marriages for penniless girls such as the Bennets are hard to come by, and even Lizzy, who comes to sincerely value Mr. Darcy, remarks when asked when she first began to love him: "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." She may be joking, but there's more than a little truth to her sentiment, as well. Jane Austen considered Elizabeth Bennet "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print". Readers of Pride and Prejudice would be hard-pressed to disagree. ——Alix Wilber
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