I’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, which I had the privilege of editing. Victoria is here to talk about humor in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:
The Importance of Laughter
So, I wrote a Pride and Prejudice variation in which Elizabeth actually becomes engaged to Mr. Collins. Why was I motivated to write such a plot? Well, there are multiple reasons, but one is because my son (then 11 years old) thought Mr. Collins was funny. My son laughed at the guy when he read the Pride and Prejudice graphic novel and even more when we watched the 1995 adaptation (He also does a wicked impersonation of Mrs. Bennet: “You have no compassion for my poor nerves!”). His reaction made me think about Mr. C as more than just a plot contrivance.
When writing P&P variations, authors like me tend to focus on the romance, which makes sense. It’s a beautiful, compelling, timeless love story. Just the fact that P&P can sustain so many wonderful variations is a testament to how well-written it is and how well-drawn Darcy and Elizabeth are. But it’s easy to forget that it’s also a wicked social satire. My son’s reaction reminded me that humor is an essential element of the novel.
And, although Collins isn’t a very nice person, he’s a great source of humor. I had a great time writing scenes with him because he’s so egregious in so many ways. And unexpectedly, those scenes set the tone for the entire novel; the rest of it became fairly light and humorous despite the drama inherent in Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance. Darcy himself even reveals a sly sense of humor when dealing with Caroline Bingley’s insults to Elizabeth.
Writing Mr. Darcy to the Rescue taught me something about Austen’s novels: the importance of laughter. Although her characters often face worrisome dilemmas, the thread of humor helps remind us of a valuable tool in facing the difficult world. Elizabeth encounters some awful people, like Collins and Lady Catherine, but her sense of humor prevents her from growing too angry and resentful toward them (and probably helps her avoid an ulcer). She could easily become bitter, but instead she is amused.
Along with tremendous insights into the human character, laughter is one of the gifts Austen gave us in Pride and Prejudice—and it’s one I flatter myself 🙂 I have been able to share with the readers of Mr. Darcy to the Rescue.
About Mr. Darcy to the Rescue
When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…
Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…
How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?
Giveaway: Victoria is generously offering one ebook copy, in any format, open internationally. Simply leave a comment about why you want to read Mr. Darcy to the Rescue and/or whether or not you find Mr. Collins to be a humorous character, and please include your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 23.
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