In honor of my week celebrating Pride and Prejudice, I think you should know exactly how much I love this book. So, I'm now confessing to the fact that I actually collect copies of Pride and Prejudice. From places I've visited, stores I've wandered through, cities I've lived... I just can't resist picking up a pretty copy whenever I see new one. Here's my collection in all of its glory:
My collection started off innocently enough. I had one or two copies of Pride and Prejudice, but I fell in love one day with a copy that just had been released. It had a new cover that was so much prettier than the one I owned, and so of course I needed to get it. And then there was another new copy, and that one was pretty, too. And it slowly evolved into a thing. I looked around one day and realized I had essentially started collecting copies of Pride and Prejudice. So I just went with it. (Pssst - doesn't that make my title practically perfect?)
Here's the thing - you know how you can love a book for reasons beyond the story inside? There's this connection with a book that ties you to the time in your life when you were reading it. Or maybe the place you were when you fell into its pagse. It's one of the reasons that I often find it hard to give books away. Not because I want to own ALL THE BOOKS (although that would be nice) but because there is an emotional attachment to the book.
Pride and Prejudice is one of the very first books I felt that connection with, and it's had a special place in my heart ever since. I won't go through my whole collection (because that would clearly be boring), but I am going to take a minute to get sentimental about some of my favorite copies.
Books have a history. A reader can travel far in the pages of a book, but a book also takes a journey and travels with its reader. When the right book comes along, the story becomes a part of its reader and comes alive in the heart. Pride and Prejudice has been one of those books for me.
|My Oldest Copies|
The Great Illustrated Classics Pride and Prejudice was my first experience with the book. If you aren't familiar with these versions, they are illustrated, abridged and basically re-written for children. It gave me an appetite for more - my first taste of Austen and the start of a lifelong love with her work.
I then picked out this book one day while I was at Barnes and Noble with a friend. Her mom told us that she would get us a both a book, and I believe she tried to dissuade me from picking this book because she thought it might be too difficult for me. I persisted and the rest, as they say, is history.
|My Favorite Inside|
The summer after my sophomore year of college, I studied abroad in Oxford, England. The classes were more difficult than I had expected, so I didn't travel nearly as much as I expected. However, I did make time to visit Bath so that I could explore the Jane Austen Museum. I find it ironic that the Austen museum is in a city she so disliked living in, but I had to visit all the same.
I picked up this copy in the gift shop, which is the version illustrated by Hugh Thomson. He was a popular and successful book illustrator in the Victorian era, and his 160 drawings were printed in a copy of Pride and Prejudice that was published in 1894. The illustrations, at the beginning of each chapter and scattered throughout the novel, are charming and delightful. Obviously mine is a reissue of the the 1894 version - not an original to that time. This is a copy that I love because of the place where I got it - and because the illustrations are amazing!
|Most Sentimental Value|
These may have the most unfortunate covers, but they also have the most sentimental value. My husband sometimes has to travel for his job, and he spent a few weeks in Japan at one point last year. He asked the translator with them to write down Pride and Prejudice in Japanese on a little slip of paper. He then took that slip of paper with him all over the city - visiting bookstores and trying to find me another copy for my collection. He gave me the two-volume copy when he got home, and I've never been so happy to have married a man who understands the way to my heart.
|All Around Favorite|
Finally, I have to end with my all-around favorite. It has the most gorgeous cover, and I could spend hours lost inside its page. It's an annotated edition, and I never realized how much fun it can be to see all the depth you never knew existed in a beloved novel. I thought it might annoy me to have annotations inside, but I actually find it fascinating. There is such a richness to learning more about things like certain phrases and customs mentioned in the book.
So, there's a little mini-trip through my collection. While others probably don't collect Pride and Prejudice, I'd love to know if you've ever collected copies of a certain book or if there are there certain books you could never get rid of because of your attachment to them. Please tell I'm the only crazy collector out there!