The trick to liking P&P is to think of it as science fiction. Face it: pre-Victorian society is as alien as any amorphous hivemind lizardman colony that’s crept onto your bookshelf in the past. Like all good sci-fi, you get dropped right into the middle of the world. It doesn’t belabour the rules: it trusts you to figure them out for yourself. And you do, and after a while you even accept them, and later still you start to play by them. You accept that this is what passes for love on this planet; you laugh at the silliness of some; and you adore the insights of others. But like all sci-fi, the disconnect between that world and your own is too large: you see the lines connecting us to them interweave, but you never quite see the point. It might also be helpful to think of Mr. Darcey as a robot sent back from the future to destroy all spontaneity and joy.