On Pride and Prejudice

Plenty of Pride and Prejudice to Go Around

By Lauren Baratz-Logsted

“It is publishing truth, universally acknowledged, that anyone professionally involved in the pursuit of ‘Lit-e-ra-ture,’ must, by definition, despise chick-lit.

“I first met Frank D’Arcangelo, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Book Review, at the annual National Book ceremony and while it was definitely not the best of times for me, it was a close runner-up for the worst.

“Of course, being the kind of person I am and writing the kinds of books I do, I didn’t actually receive anything so mundane as a printed invitation to the ceremony. Rather, my agent, perennially dateless, said I could be her guest.”

Thus begins Chick-Lit: A Love Story, my upcoming novel that pits the much-maligned subgenre against the conventional literary press. Here’s one more quote: “I hated the Times with their uppity tone of voice. . . . They were Pride, as far as I was concerned, and I was Prejudiced.”

And therein lies the rub. It’s ironic that writers of chick-lit, proud inheritors of the mantle of the now much-honored Jane Austen, get so little respect, experience so much prejudice. Is our pride deserved? Is the prejudice warranted? I’ll come back to this, but first let’s take a closer look at those deceptively simple words: pride and prejudice.

Let’s start with Elizabeth and Darcy. Which one is Pride? Really, can someone tell me which one is which? Apparently I wasn’t paying sufficient attention in the graduate course I took on Austen and Bront«, because I’ve never been able to tell  …

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