Gentle Readers: Maya Slater has penned a guest post for us on her book The Private Diary of Mr Darcy – and as I mention in my previous post, it is quite an entertaining read! Thank you Ms. Slater for sharing your thoughts with us [and those of Mr. Darcy!]
INTRODUCING: The Private Diary of Mr Darcy, the American edition to be published on June 15th by W.W.Norton.
‘What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?’
I found myself answering, without hesitation, ‘Oh, Mr Darcy’s diary.’ Everyone round the table laughed, and the moment passed. But the idea stayed with me for months, till finally I had to give in to it, and start writing.
It’s not as though Mr Darcy was the kind of man to have kept an intimate diary of his own volition. He started it as a child when his mother gave him a moleskin notebook, gently suggesting he should make it his confidant. A few days later she was dead, and keeping a diary became a sacred duty to him.
The final volume of his diary, published under the title The Private Diary of Mr Darcy*, begins on the day that he first sets eyes on Elizabeth Bennet – although she makes no impression on him whatsoever. It concludes as they happily plan their wedding. In between, he unburdens himself of many secrets, and lives through the weeks and months when he is absent from Pride and Prejudice: that first winter when Mr Bingley has deserted Jane, the following summer when Elizabeth has turned him down, the anxious search for Lydia and Wickham.
Of course the diary is private. Much of what it contains would shock his female acquaintance, describing as it does his life as a rich bachelor about town. His gentlemen friends too would be astonished – at the uncertainties, weaknesses and powerful emotions confided by this politely reticent and formal young man. It is not surprising that he decides to abandon it when he marries: it would not do for his wife to discover it.
Throughout, it is Mr Darcy who has directed operations; I have merely followed where he led.
*The British edition (Phoenix, 2007) was titled Mr Darcy’s Diary.
The opening question, by the way, is quite thought-provoking – anyone want to add their thoughts? –
What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?