It's time to get back to the basics and write about what is truly important in the rare book world: movies. Specifically, Jane Austen and the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice
. The books shown in Mr. Bennet's library are fabulous. The one and only photo I could find online that includes the library doesn't do the set justice.
If you are not familiar with the book, Pride and Prejudice is a love story where a young woman in England in the late 1700s refuses marriage to Mr. Darcy...
... a man without a regular job, though he does own property...
...and then learns through letters and drawing-room conversations just how completely desirable he is and has to wonder if she (with the help of her rather déclassé family) has ruined her chances.
Powell's does not rent out books by the yard for set dressing, but Pride and Prejudice set decorator Katie Spencer should give us a call when she is next in need of a few 18th-century beauties. Here are three that deserve an audition:
This is my favorite style of binding, shown here in octavo, quarto, and folio formats. The full calf-covered boards have dyed center panels and decoration tooled in blind. They are beautiful without ostentation and would make a lovely addition to any country house library. (The estate used as the home of Mr. Darcy in the film is Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire. The library at Chatsworth is profiled in At Home with Books.)
Beware the minister bearing books ? this is the dreaded cousin, Mr. Collins, who will inherit all after the death of Mr. Bennet.
While he very well could have a copy of Eighteen Sermons on Several Occasions in the yummy stack of period books he's holding, we do know that he will choose to read Fordyce's Sermons to the Bennet sisters after dinner one evening. He is a relative, so I suppose they have to let him in.
A very trivial question ? what book is Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) reading during the opening shots?
I know, but do you?
The first reader to post the title and author of the book in a comment below will win some as-yet-unidentified Powell's merchandise ? whatever I can sneak out of the marketing department offices while they're not looking ? and will be crowned king or queen of all that is Austeniana and Darcyiana. By including the date of publication and the publisher, you may garner extra swag and status of Official Book Geek.