Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition

Overview

Along with the plays of William Shakespeare and the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen’s novels are among the most beloved books of Western literature. Pride and Prejudice (1813) was in Austen’s lifetime her most popular novel, and it was the author’s personal favorite. Adapted many times to the screen and stage, and the inspiration for numerous imitations, it remains today her most widely read book. Now, in this beautifully illustrated and annotated edition, distinguished scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks ...

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Overview

Along with the plays of William Shakespeare and the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen’s novels are among the most beloved books of Western literature. Pride and Prejudice (1813) was in Austen’s lifetime her most popular novel, and it was the author’s personal favorite. Adapted many times to the screen and stage, and the inspiration for numerous imitations, it remains today her most widely read book. Now, in this beautifully illustrated and annotated edition, distinguished scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks instructs the reader in a larger appreciation of the novel’s enduring pleasures and provides analysis of Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine, and all the characters who inhabit the world of Pride and Prejudice.

This edition will be treasured by specialists and first-time readers, and especially by devoted Austen fans who think of themselves as Friends of Jane. In her Introduction, Spacks considers Austen’s life and career, the continuing appeal of Pride and Prejudice, and its power as a stimulus for fantasy (Maureen Dowd, writing in The New York Times, can hold forth at length on Obama as a Darcy-figure, knowing full well her readers will “understand that she wished to suggest glamour and sexiness”). Her Introduction also explores the value and art of literary annotation. In her running commentary on the novel, she provides notes on literary and historical contexts, allusions, and language likely to cause difficulty to modern readers. She offers interpretation and analysis, always with the wisdom, humor, and light touch of an experienced and sensitive teacher.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Now regarded as one of the great masterpieces of world literature, Pride and Prejudice has been a reader favorite for almost two hundred years, but Jane Austen's classic almost never appeared: After an earlier version was rejected by a publisher in 1797, the novel originally named First Impressions remained in manuscript for nearly sixteen years. This superbly annotated Harvard University Press edition beckons us all back to one of English lit' most resilient reads.
Open Letters Monthly

Reading Pride and Prejudice with Spacks as a guide illuminates the richness of Austen's historical context, as the annotations draw attention to important material that might initially be missed...This beautifully produced and informative guide to reading Austen's brilliant and beloved novel in its historical context will be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who has read, or plans to read, Pride and Prejudice more than once...Both specialists and fans will find it a great pleasure to read, learn from, and argue with Spacks's annotated edition of this classic novel.
— Sarah Emsley

The Australian

So interesting and comprehensive are Spacks's notes on Austen, she could conceivably even introduce the author to a few male readers who might otherwise have veered away from all the bonnets and ruffles...Spacks is fascinating on the topic of Austen, and especially on the author's deft use of dialogue and observation to layer dense levels of meaning into her stories, the notes do open up new vistas of enjoyment and understanding, especially for those approaching the goings-on at Longbourn for the first time...Spacks's notes can be invaluable...For history buffs and period fetishists, who must surely comprise some significant part of the audience for historical romance, this annotated Pride and Prejudice is a treasure trove...This edition should prove equally refreshing to even the most ardent of Miss Bennet's amateur readers.
— John Birmingham

National Post
A treat for the legions of Jane Austen enthusiasts, Pride and Prejudice: The Annotated Edition is an oversized volume packed with period illustrations and notation, illuminating the text and the life of Austen.
Books & Culture

[A] handsomely produced annotated edition...Spacks' annotations are illuminating...The dozens of illustrations—a watercolor of Austen by her sister, for example, and images of late 18th-century drawing rooms—add a layer of visual delight and edification to the clarifying notes Spacks offers.
— Lauren Winner

Entertainment Weekly
Austen's most famous novel needs no introduction, but it does benefit from the hundreds of loving notes--historical references, vocab tips, and more--provided by Austen scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Sunday Times

[A] beautiful new illustrated edition...The great benefit of Spacks's notes, set out in columns beside the text, and sometimes occupying whole facing pages, is that they make you read more slowly. Instead of letting Austen's delicious confection slip down like a syllabub, you have to think about each sentence, and that enriches and complicates everything...Pride and Prejudice is a rarity among great books in being both a trenchant moral tale and the wispiest wish fulfillment, as unreal as Cinderella.
— John Carey

First Things

Delightful illustrations and perspicacious annotations deepen the pleasures of this great book, paradoxically showing how much we converge and diverge with Miss Austen's world of Regency England. Spacks anticipates our questions because she has spent countless afternoon teas in the company of an author whose ear was tuned to subtleties of dialogue and whose heart was sensitive to both the machinations of romance and the meanness of wealth.
— Christopher Benson

Times Literary Supplement

In this annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice, Patricia Meyer Spacks offers a guide to the nuances of Austen's language...It is useful to have such glosses adjacent to Austen's text, along with concise explanations of points of etiquette, historical detail, parallels with other Austen novels and involving subjects such as the Bennet girls' marriage prospects.
— Michael Caines

Barnes and Noble Review

An appropriately handsome, witty, deeply smart and buoyantly informative annotated edition of Jane Austen's beloved novel, prepared with astuteness and affection by scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks.

AustenProse.com

A grand slam home run.
— Laurel Ann

Deidre Lynch
Drawing on extensive knowledge, wisdom, and original insights, Professor Spacks is a monumentally intelligent guide to Pride and Prejudice. Reading Austen's masterpiece with her commentaries at hand is like reading it with a better, wiser friend: someone who is able to anticipate our questions and reactions and someone who also knows Austen and her people intimately.
Open Letters Monthly - Sarah Emsley
Reading Pride and Prejudice with Spacks as a guide illuminates the richness of Austen's historical context, as the annotations draw attention to important material that might initially be missed...This beautifully produced and informative guide to reading Austen's brilliant and beloved novel in its historical context will be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who has read, or plans to read, Pride and Prejudice more than once...Both specialists and fans will find it a great pleasure to read, learn from, and argue with Spacks's annotated edition of this classic novel.
The Australian - John Birmingham
So interesting and comprehensive are Spacks's notes on Austen, she could conceivably even introduce the author to a few male readers who might otherwise have veered away from all the bonnets and ruffles...Spacks is fascinating on the topic of Austen, and especially on the author's deft use of dialogue and observation to layer dense levels of meaning into her stories, the notes do open up new vistas of enjoyment and understanding, especially for those approaching the goings-on at Longbourn for the first time...Spacks's notes can be invaluable...For history buffs and period fetishists, who must surely comprise some significant part of the audience for historical romance, this annotated Pride and Prejudice is a treasure trove...This edition should prove equally refreshing to even the most ardent of Miss Bennet's amateur readers.
Books & Culture - Lauren Winner
[A] handsomely produced annotated edition...Spacks' annotations are illuminating...The dozens of illustrations--a watercolor of Austen by her sister, for example, and images of late 18th-century drawing rooms--add a layer of visual delight and edification to the clarifying notes Spacks offers.
Sunday Times - John Carey
[A] beautiful new illustrated edition...The great benefit of Spacks's notes, set out in columns beside the text, and sometimes occupying whole facing pages, is that they make you read more slowly. Instead of letting Austen's delicious confection slip down like a syllabub, you have to think about each sentence, and that enriches and complicates everything...Pride and Prejudice is a rarity among great books in being both a trenchant moral tale and the wispiest wish fulfillment, as unreal as Cinderella.
First Things - Christopher Benson
Delightful illustrations and perspicacious annotations deepen the pleasures of this great book, paradoxically showing how much we converge and diverge with Miss Austen's world of Regency England. Spacks anticipates our questions because she has spent countless afternoon teas in the company of an author whose ear was tuned to subtleties of dialogue and whose heart was sensitive to both the machinations of romance and the meanness of wealth.
Times Literary Supplement - Michael Caines
In this annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice, Patricia Meyer Spacks offers a guide to the nuances of Austen's language...It is useful to have such glosses adjacent to Austen's text, along with concise explanations of points of etiquette, historical detail, parallels with other Austen novels and involving subjects such as the Bennet girls' marriage prospects.
AustenProse.com - Laurel Ann
A grand slam home run.
The Australian
So interesting and comprehensive are Spacks's notes on Austen, she could conceivably even introduce the author to a few male readers who might otherwise have veered away from all the bonnets and ruffles...Spacks is fascinating on the topic of Austen, and especially on the author's deft use of dialogue and observation to layer dense levels of meaning into her stories, the notes do open up new vistas of enjoyment and understanding, especially for those approaching the goings-on at Longbourn for the first time...Spacks's notes can be invaluable...For history buffs and period fetishists, who must surely comprise some significant part of the audience for historical romance, this annotated Pride and Prejudice is a treasure trove...This edition should prove equally refreshing to even the most ardent of Miss Bennet's amateur readers.
— John Birmingham
Open Letters Monthly
Reading Pride and Prejudice with Spacks as a guide illuminates the richness of Austen's historical context, as the annotations draw attention to important material that might initially be missed...This beautifully produced and informative guide to reading Austen's brilliant and beloved novel in its historical context will be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who has read, or plans to read, Pride and Prejudice more than once...Both specialists and fans will find it a great pleasure to read, learn from, and argue with Spacks's annotated edition of this classic novel.
— Sarah Emsley
Library Journal
Early in Pride and Prejudice, Austen writes, "the very shoe-roses for Netherfield were got by proxy." Today's readers may wonder what a shoe rose is. Prominent literary editor Spacks (English, emerita, Univ. of Virginia; Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind) supplies the explanation, along with scores of other brief notes defining the terms of Austen's era. She offers more substantial discussions of various references as well as explanations for such components as a young Regency woman entering into society. She also provides an extremely useful introduction, detailing Austen's life and noting (along with her "further reading" section) the ongoing scholarly attention. Readers will also appreciate Spacks's well-placed references to the interpretations of other scholars, such as Tony Tanner and Linda Colley. VERDICT The value of this edition, as Spacks maintains, is that "annotation helps to locate Austen in history, in literature, in language." Pride and Prejudice has been annotated before—David M. Shapard's 2003 edition—but Spacks's approach is more literary than his historical focus. Readers will appreciate the placement of Spacks's annotations along the wide margin of the page they relate to, as well as the many color illustrations. A valuable addition for any Austen student, scholar, or fan.—Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674049161
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Edition description: Annotated
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 157,237
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Meyer Spacks is Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English, Emerita, at the University of Virginia.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautiful, sumptuous and satisfying

    Just when I thought I had more editions of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE than I should ever own up to, I will freely admit to just one more. After all, what Janeite could resist this tempting package? An unabridged first edition text; Annotations by an Austen scholar; Color illustrations; Over-sized coffee table format; Extensive introduction; And, supplemental material - all pulled together in a beautifully designed interior and stunning cover. *swoon* Where are my aromatic vinegars?

    This new annotated edition appeals to modern readers on many levels beyond being a pretty package of a beloved classic. Austen is renowned for her witty dialogue and finely drawn characters, but not for her elaborate physical descriptions or historical context. When PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was originally published in 1813, this brevity was accessible to her contemporary readers who assumed the inferences, but after close to two hundred years words have changed their meaning, insinuations and subtle asides have become fuzzy, and cultural differences from Regency to twenty-first century are worlds apart. Anyone can read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and follow the narrative, but it is so much more enjoyable if you can read it on an expanded level understanding it in social, cultural and historical context. Editor Patricia Meyer Spacks has not only added extensive notes on plot, characters, events, history, culture and critical analysis from a vast array of Austen and literary scholars, but added her own personal insights and observations from years of reading Austen and her experience as a college professor. From shoe roses to Fordyces Sermons to military floggings to the 19th-century meaning of condescension, readers will be informed and enlighted on every aspect related to the novel, the author and her times. In a nut shell, she has vetted great resources, gathered nuggets of knowledge and placed them at our feet.

    As with all of Austen's characters, this new annotated edition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE has its own charms, "frailties, foibles and follies." Weighing in at over three pounds, and encompassing 464 pages of unabridged text and fine print margin notes, this book easily reigns as the most all-inclusive and well-researched edition of Jane Austen's masterpiece that I have ever encountered. Considering that the elaborate annotation classifies it as a reference work in addition to a full text, it is quite puzzling that it lacks an index. In addition, the illustrations are expertly selected but sadly lost some of their refinement in the printing process, coming across dark and murky in places. However, I was pleased to see a list of further reading and illustration credits listed in the back of the book to encourage readers to "add something more substantial, in the improvement of [their] minds by extensive reading."

    Beautiful, sumptuous and satisfying, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: AN ANNOTATED EDITION is a monumental achievement that should be on the top of your holiday wish list and considered one of few editions available to be esteemed truly accomplished.

    Laurel Ann, Austenprose

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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