Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Pride, prejudice and life in England

Listening to:

Bach, Well-tempered clavier, Book 2.

Just read:

Jane Austen, Pride and prejudice.

It’s tempting to simply write that this novel is a well-deserved classic, and that everyone should read it as a matter of course. But why is this the case? Pride and prejudice’s virtues include being funny, poignant, romantic and beautifully observed. Are these not reasons enough? It is true that many of the plot details rely on a Regency sense of morality and good behaviour, and these may make some of the characters’ motives seem a little alien. But Austen’s great strength is that ability to make those telling observations. These convince the reader that the characters in this distant world (200 years away) are people with much the same preoccupations as those we have in the modern world. When Elizabeth Bennett winces at her family, how can the reader not wince with her?


I'm always interested to see what you've been reading and listening to. I do wonder if you might mention which particular classical recordings you are listening to, as in which pianist or conductor or quartet. I just recently discovered the New Zealand String Quartet's recording of the Bartok String Quartet's 1-3 and am surprised it isn't better known. Native secret perhaps.

Posted by: Joel at February 5, 2004 09:26 AM

Hi. I'll try to remember to post a bit more about recording details. The Bach above was Bob van Asperen on EMI CDS 7 49658 2, incidentally. He plays the harpsichord. I'm seriously thinking about getting Angela Hewitt playing the piano, having heard good things about it. I haven't heard about the Bartok / NZSQ, but will keep an eye out. —Thanks

Posted by: Michael at February 5, 2004 10:18 AM

If Joel liked the NZSO/Bartok, he'll really enjoy the latest version of the Bartok Viola Concerto with Csaba Erdelyi and the NZSO - this is a "new" restoration of the original and takes advantage (I gather) of some strange NZ copyright law which allows its release in NZ ahead of the rest of the world. This new edition is available from: or from

This is not a commercial!

Well done on the continuing weblog Michael

Posted by: Lindsay at February 11, 2004 07:26 AM