Jane Austen knows how to write a romance novel. The intensity of letter-writing, meaning behind unspoken communication, and how to remain sensible in love. The novelist captures these images amidst Regency England, and reveals her own desires in characters like Elizabeth Bennet, of seeking charm in a gentleman like Mr. Darcy. Austen’s talent with prose-writing conveys universal ideals of romance, and sticks with readers due to its charm and expectancy. In the Modern Library Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, the cover uses stills of the BBC television adaptation to illustrate an eagerness between the two characters. Miss Bennet, played by Jennifer Ehle, appears depicted with a dim Mr. Darcy, played by Colin Firth, in the background. In this illustration, Elizabeth gazes into the reader, seated in her chamber with a novel, while Mr. Darcy remains principal to her thoughts. Although literature remains trivial to Elizabeth’s character, written correspondence holds an important role in her relationship with Mr. Darcy. Through its reliance on romance, the narrative remains timeless with audiences, and taking place within an intimate space, the cover still denotes the significance of reflection.
Letter-writing most earnestly reflects someone’s true desires and remains an important symbol of expression in the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. After a hasty marriage proposal, Elizabeth receives a letter from Mr. Darcy, in which he greatly describes his involvement in the separation of Mr. Bingley and Jane, and his relationship with Mr. Wickham. He aims not in amending his vow to Elizabeth but believes her deserving of the truth behind his relations. Mr. Darcy completes his letter with an address to Elizabeth as “Madam,” (Austen 147) to conclude his belief in her sincerity. According to Jackie F. Mijares in “The Masculine Pen: Character and Correspondence in Pride and Prejudice,” Darcy’s civility and confidence in Elizabeth’s fidelity shows his love for her, and trust in her honest character. Mr. Darcy’s letter remains a token of his reflection, and as seen in the cover still, creates a parallel in the mind of Elizabeth.
The scene in which the cover still takes place, Elizabeth’s chamber, allows her to reflect in her solitude, aside from external disruptions. She would not disclose such information to anyone as contained in the letter, even to Jane, until she could process it herself. Nonetheless, it takes many recollections before Elizabeth can develop her own opinion of Mr. Darcy’s words. Her calamity of the situation renders itself with “reflection must be reserved for solitary hours; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections” (Austen 154). Elizabeth cannot bear Mr. Darcy’s letter until she can reflect herself, in a scene unaltered by prejudices, her own solitude. Elizabeth’s solitary reflection of the letter remains important because it lends to the richness between herself and Mr. Darcy, and her earnest desire of his good nature.
Mind for Mr. Darcy
The cover still of Elizabeth indicates how Mr. Darcy never leaves her thoughts, and remains especially important to reflect in an intimate scene like a bedchamber. She reserves her solitude to indulge in personal matters, and her aversion to society causes Elizabeth to keep sacred her romance with Mr. Darcy. She knows that Mr. Darcy retains confidence in his desires, and like herself, a longing for more than fixed settlement. This leads to greater complexities in their relationship, and within the customs of Regency society. As well, in the cover still, Elizabeth’s figure remains in color while Mr. Darcy appears in a warmer shade of black-and-white. It signifies the central focus on Elizabeth, and vivacity of her strong-willed, independent character. Mr. Darcy lives in her mind, uncolored, because their relationship remains presently unsettled, and until it resolves, only exists in shades of uncertainty.
The Modern Classics Edition of Pride and Prejudice uses a cover still from the BBC television adaptation to illustrate the significance of reflection and magnify the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. The scene creates an intimacy within Elizabeth’s chamber, reading literature, and meanwhile Mr. Darcy in her thoughts. He serves in the background as the vastness of Elizabeth’s mind, and the keen substance to her solitude. Jane Austen uses these love tokens, character relationships, and scenes to allude to romance, appeal to audiences, and mirror herself in Elizabeth, while seeking a gentleman like Mr. Darcy. As in this adaptation, Pride and Prejudice remains a timeless narrative because it represents the eagerness of human nature. Expectations change with societal advancements, but romance endures, and cannot extinguish yearnings of the soul.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice (1813). New York: The Modern Library, 1995.
Mijares, Jackie F. “The Masculine Pen: Character and Correspondence in Pride and Prejudice."
Jane Austen Society of North America, 2005.