Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
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In Pride and Prejudice, what are the implications of Darcy's remark, "I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these"?

The implications of Darcy's remark "I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these" are that he is well-informed and widely read and that he may have political, academic, or even scientific interests he does not discuss in day-to-day conversation.

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Darcy's remark implies that he has hidden depths. Although he does not make a show of his learning, he not only enjoys reading, but wants to build up a collection of books to reflect his interests, as Mr. Bennet has done (though presumably on a grander scale). Pemberley already has a fine library, but Mr. Darcy wants to extend it and keep it up to date.

The final words, "in such days as these," are of particular interest. Mr. Darcy, it appears, does not read primarily for entertainment, but for information. The type of books he acquires and intends to keep on acquiring for his library are ones of contemporary relevance. This suggests that Mr. Darcy may well have ambitions beyond being a country gentleman. He may wish to stand for Parliament, or involve himself in politics in some other way. It may even turn out that he has scientific or other academic interests.

Mr. Darcy is so reticent and so full of surprises that any of the above interests is possible. In any case, it is clear that he intends to keep himself well-informed, and he seems to regard it as part of the duty of a man favored with his education and intelligence (not to mention a fine library) to do so.

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