The original title of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was “First Impressions.” It truly is a novel of impressions and presumptions. The beautiful and mysterious Mr. Darcy with his reservoir of wealth and reserved manner is triumphed by the powerful Elizabeth Bennett.
Persuasion, usually paired in reviews or critics with Northanger Abbey due to it’s joint publication and shared location, is a slow developing novel that shares and rivals much of the plot in Pride and Prejudice.
Where the Bennetts are poor but happy, the Elliots are nothing without their status and money. The irony is that the Bennetts gain wealth through love and the Elliots cannot hold on to a single pence.
Both female protagonists are the exception to their family. Elizabeth and Anne both have parents obsessed with status. Both have suitors that are devilishly delicious but, guarded.
But which is the better novel? Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion?
Anne and Captain Wentworth vs. Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy
A battle of wits, etiquette, and unspoken truths.
Persuasion gets points for the concise narrative that still manages to evoke yearning and desperate desire.
Pride and Prejudice gets points for having the one of the greatest lines of all time, “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.”
Yet,Persuasionis the unsung hero of sentimentality, “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.” (This is the climax of the novel. If only a man could have actually written this.)
Darcy is rich.
Wentworth is a captain.
Elizabeth is fierce.
Anne…. she’s a bit lack luster but, when she finally gives the big “f u” to her snotty family she wins points.
It all comes down to ridiculous supporting characters: Cousin William Collins or Mary Musgrove
Cousin Collins already got served in his failed marriage proposal to Elizabeth so….
my final vote goes to the egotistical hypochondriac Mary Musgrove.