As a self-proclaimed Janeite, I was very excited to receive the Ignatius Critical Edition’s Study Guide for Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen. I had read the novel numerous times before I read this 40-page book and was looking forward to reading the novel while using this guide. I learned very quickly that, just as the book suggested, I would’ve gotten more if I had read the Ignatius Critical Edition of Pride and Prejudice instead of my own Penguin Books version. Despite this small disadvantage, I went ahead and continued to use the version that I owned.
The introductions, “Why a Great Books Study Guide?” and “How to Use This Guide,” gave a convincing argument why this book should be used and how it was relevant to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Using examples from Pope Benedict XVI as well as classics such as Homer’s Iliad
and Dante’s Divine Comedy
, the reader finds an outline of what is to be expected in guides such as this.
The “Bare Bones” section is a detailed summary that, if the reader had not read the novel before, would get the entire plot and main points in a little over 8 full pages. There are no additional commentaries about the novel in this section, leaving one to wonder why there was not more added by the editor.
Various summaries and study questions in the following pages pose questions such as whether Jane Austen saw the “essential framework of the moral life.” (pg. 24) The questions vary between thinking about the novel and plot itself as well as morality questions that are grounded in the Catholic faith. There is not much on faith itself but the question certainly make the readers consider how their faith would play into their decisions and answers.
Though this book is short, a lot of packed into it. Again, not having the Ignatius Critical Edition of the book to read, I felt that there was a lot that was missed. I will eventually get myself a copy so that I may do things the proper way. In the meantime, I will use it when I re-read this novel this summer.
Recommended for fans of the works of Jane Austen
as well as teenagers and young adults.