Here’s an interesting tidbit from The Guardian (UK): “Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s salty-tongued commentary on the plight of women in the 19th century … has won the Women’s Watershed Fiction poll, it was announced yesterday on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.”

It’s an excellent choice. I recently read it, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed Jane Austen’s style — it’s very sly, witty, often sarcastic, and I think those traits are what make it resound even now, two centuries later.

Here’s a passage I enjoyed very much, in part because I have shared in many such a moment described therein. Let me set the scene: The Bennet family receives a letter from a Mr. Collins, their cousin whom they’ve never met, and the letter is fully tedious and pompous. After suffering through a reading of it, Lizzy asks her father,

“Can he be a sensible man, sir?”

The reply:

“No, my dear; I think not. I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. …”

Upon their meeting him, and weathering his conversation, which proved equal to his letter, there is this passage:

Mr. Bennet’s expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.