It is a truth universally acknowledged, that anyone in possession of a good quote, must be an Eng Lit graduate. Does it matter that an increasing number of future school-leavers might not be able to recognise this allusion to the opening of a Jane Austen novel? Of course it does.
English teachers are right to be miffed that our largest exam board does not offer pre-20th century novels for study on its popular GCSE English literature course (page 1), not even by Britain's greatest woman writer.
Such an omission could be remedied by adding Pride and Prejudice to AQA's rather dull list. And to show we're not fuddy-duddies, include some contemporary classics, such as Ian McEwan's Enduring Love, or Regeneration by Pat Barker. Read the classics, old and new. Study the movies, examine their social and cultural context. But don't ignore them.