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Pride and Prejudice

Nature * Books

“What are men to rocks and mountains”

My all-time favourite book was published on the 28th January 1813. The quote above was said by the wonderful Elizabeth Bennet, and although it’s tempting to read it as a feminist ‘who needs men and marriage when you can frolick about in nature’ (wholeheartedly agree), it’s commenting more on the inconsistency and flaws of humanity, compared with the ancient beauty and power of nature.

Austen touches upon the romantic ideals of nature which were appearing in the early 19th century. In reaction to urbanisation, places like the Peak District were becoming iconic locations of sublime beauty, something beyond mans understanding, almost something to fear.

It was only with the invention of the railways that these became common sites for people, more the location for a nice day out. Before this, they were awe-inspiring spots which reminded people of the smallness of mankind in the presence of nature, and offered an opportunity for self-realisation.

Maybe this is when Lizzie starts to think that her dislike of Mr Darcy is slightly petty in the grand scheme of life, and maybe if he has a big enough house she might start to forgive him. The power of nature does wondrous things.


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