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At the turn of eighteenth-century England, spirited Elizabeth Bennet copes with the suit of the snobbish Mr. Darcy while trying to sort out the romantic entanglements of two of her sisters, sweet and beautiful Jane and scatterbrained Lydia.
"How could these novels ever seem remote . . . the gaiety is unextinguished today, the irony has kept its bite, the reasoning is still sweet, the sparkle undiminished, as comedies they are irresistibly and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be." —Eudora Welty
"[Jane Austen] has a talent for describing the involvements of feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with." —Sir Walter Scott
"An incredibly funny, very upmarket love story with an enchanting heroine and the perfect romantic hero: a tartar with a heart of gold." —Jilly Cooper
"The Mozart opera of novels and again a transcendent union of structure and content in which unhappy marriage is the reward for those who show a weakness of character and lifelong happiness is a province reserved only for those 'who truly know themselves.' " —Kate Atkinson
"For those of us who suspect all the mysteries of life are contained in the microcosm of the family, that personal relationships prefigure all else, the work of Jane Austen is the Rosetta Stone of literature." —Anna Quindlen
"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste." —Virginia Woolf
It is now almost exactly two centuries since the first two of Jane Austen's six completed novels - Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice - were published, and for much of that time writers and critics have passionately disagreed about the true caliber of her work. Austen's books received a few respectful reviews and lively attention from the reading public during her lifetime, but it wasn't until nearly thirty years after her death that some critics began to recognize her enduring artistic accomplishment--and others to debate it.
In 1843, the historian Thomas Macaulay called Austen the writer to "have approached nearest to the manner of the great master" Shakespeare; Charlotte Brontë felt, on the contrary, that "the Passions are perfectly unknown to her.... Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete, and rather insensible (not senseless) woman." Anthony Trollope made up his mind as a young man that "Pride and Prejudice was the best novel in the language," while Mark Twain claimed to feel an "animal repugnance" for Austen's writing.
Austen herself would probably not have disagreed with many of her detractors' objections. She acknowledged that her themes and concerns were limited; she described them as "human nature in the midland counties." "Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on," she wrote in a letter to her niece; and in another, now famous letter to her brother Edward, she described her art as "the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as to produce little effect, after much labour."
It is true that great historical events and political concerns appear only obliquely, if at all, in the background of Austen's stories; that she deals with the spiritual condition of the human soul only insofar as it manifests itself in her characters' manners and taste in spouses; that the intellectual issues of her day appear in her novels primarily as a vehicle for revealing character and spoofing fashion. Even Austen's great early champion, the critic G. H. Lewes, had to admit the truth of Charlotte Brontë's objection that Austen's style lacked poetry, and that her "exquisite" work would appeal only to readers who didn't require "strong lights and shadows." But in spite of these limitations, the particular genius and lasting appeal of Austen's writing has only become clearer and more certain as the decades pass and literary fashions come and go.
What is Austen's particular genius? And what might account for the renaissance of popular interest in her work today--one reflected in the recently acclaimed television and feature film productions of Sense and Sensibility (with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Emma Thompson), Pride and Prejudice (an A&E miniseries), the art house hit Persuasion, and the upcoming release of Emma, as well as the Emma-inspired Clueless, now atop video rental charts?
"Of all great writers," Virginia Woolf said, "she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness." But perhaps Austen herself gave us a clue to the standards for greatness she set herself, and a way to judge her achievement, when in Northanger Abbey she has a character say: "'Oh! it is only a novel!' or, in short, only some work in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusion of wit and humour are to be conveyed to the world in the best chosen language."
Austen's delightful wit is certainly one of the great pleasures of her work. As to "the best chosen language," while her writing conveys none of the lyricism of the Romantics (like Brontë) who would succeed her, it is full of intelligence and precisely crafted to convey its often subtle meaning. But Austen's strongest suit is her thorough knowledge and happy delineation of human nature. We can still, despite the vast differences between her society and our own, recognize ourselves in the ways her characters think and behave. We all know people as cleverly manipulative and outwardly affectionate as Lucy Steele or Miss Bingley; as self-involved as Fanny Dashwood or Lady Catherine de Bourgh; and as charming but as lacking in scruples as John Willoughby or Colonel Wickham. We are in turns impulsive and hyper-responsible like Marianne and Elinor Dashwood; conceal ourselves with arrogance like Mr. Darcy; assume we understand more than we do like Elizabeth Bennet; and revel in gossip, like Mrs. Jennings. And while the great events and philosophical movements of history play themselves out around us, it is our own nature and actions, and the nature and actions of the people around us, that most influence our lives.
In her own day, Austen's work signified a break with the Gothic and sentimental novels that had long been fashionable, in which heroines were always virtuous, romance was always sentimentalized, and unlikely but convenient coincidences and acts of God always occurred to bring about the dramatic climax. Instead Austen represented the ordinary world of men and women as it--sometimes mundanely--was, a place where love and romance were constrained by economics and human imperfection; where women had distinct and often sparkling personalities; where characters were never simply good or evil but more complicated amalgams, reflecting both their own moral nature and the virtues and failings of the families and society that shaped them.
In these ways, Austen seems very much in tune with today's sensibilities. We love her strong, unpretentious heroines ("Pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked," Austen said of them), who think for themselves and say what they mean when appropriate and don't take themselves too seriously. They are not, in today's parlance, victims. We are as interested as ever in Austen's favorite subjects of love and marriage, while also identifying with her steadfast refusal to romanticize romance; with her acknowledgment that money, class, and what other people think matter in the real world; that marriage does not result in a happy ending for everyone; and that it is dangerous to let passion blind us to reality. Living amidst the cultural fallout from the self-absorbed, sensibility-prone 1960s, we appreciate Austen's emphasis on reason, moderation, fidelity, and consideration for others.
Austen wrote her books at the dawn of the nineteenth century, when vast social changes were already encroaching on the way of life she so loved and rendered with such exquisite artistry. We read her books today on the cusp of a new century, with an unfathomable world creeping up on us, too--one globally interconnected, technologically complex, economically uncertain. Perhaps we find on Austen's rural estates and in her charming, insular society the same peace and pleasure she found there; and an analogue for the simpler, more circumscribed world of our own childhoods, itself passing quickly away into history.
The time in which Jane Austen wrote her novels was a period of great stability just about to give way to a time of unimagined changes. At that time most of England's population (some thirteen million) were involved in rural and agricultural work: yet within another twenty years, the majority of Englishmen became urban dwellers involved with industry, and the great railway age had begun. Throughout the early years of the century the cities were growing at a great rate; the network of canals was completed, the main roads were being remade. Regency London, in particular, boomed and became, among other things, a great centre of fashion. On the other hand, England in the first decade of the nineteenth century was still predominantly a land of country towns and villages, a land of rural routines which were scarcely touched by the seven campaigns of the Peninsular War against Napoleon.
But if Austen's age was still predominantly one of rural quiet, it was also the age of the French Revolution, the War of American Independence, the start of the Industrial Revolution, and the first generation of the Romantic poets; and Jane Austen was certainly not unaware of what was going on in the world around her. She had two brothers in the Royal Navy and a cousin whose husband was guillotined in the Terror. And although her favourite prose writer was Dr. Samuel Johnson, she clearly knew the works of writers like Goethe, Worsdworth, Scott, Byron, Southey, Godwin and other, very definitely nineteenth-century, authors.
If Jane Austen seems to have lived a life of placid rural seclusion in north Hampshire, she was at the same time very aware of a whole range of new energies and impulses, new ideas and powers, which were changing or about to change England--and indeed the whole western world--with a violence, a suddenness, and a heedlessness, which would soon make Jane Austen's world seem as remote as the Elizabethan Age. It is well to remember that in the early years of the century, when Thomas Arnold saw his first train tearing through the Rugby countryside he said: "Feudality is gone forever." So close was it possible then to feel to the immemorial, static feudal way of life; so quickly was that way of life to vanish as the modern world laboured to be born.
Adapted from the Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Mansfield Park.
ABOUT THE TITLE
Pride and Prejudice has always been, since its publication in 1813, Austen's most popular novel. The story of a sparkling, irrepressible heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, the behavior of whose family leaves much to be desired, and Mr. Darcy, a very rich and seemingly rude young man who initially finds Elizabeth "tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me," is, in the words of the Penguin Classics edition editor Tony Tanner, a novel about how a man changes his manners and a woman changes her mind. Through the ages, its chief delights for readers have been its flawed but charming heroine ("I think [Elizabeth] as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print," Austen herself wrote to her sister, Cassandra); its humorous treatment of a serious subject; brilliant and witty dialogue laced with irony; a cast of humorous minor characters; and Austen's nearly magical development of a complex but believable love relationship between two complex people.
Critics have pointed to many ways in which Pride and Prejudice represents Austen's development and greater mastery of technique and artistry over Sense and Sensibility; perhaps the chief being that the conflict of the story is of the central characters' own making; and that a lively narrator more often appears to present material and to offer comment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Austen, seventh of the eight children of Reverend George and Cassandra Leigh Austen, was born on December 16, 1775, in the small village of Steventon in Hampshire, England. Her childhood was happy: her home was full of books and many friends and her parents encouraged both their children's intellectual interests and their passion for producing and performing in amateur theatricals. Austen's closest relationship, one that would endure throughout her life, was with her beloved only sister, Cassandra.
From about the time she was twelve years old, Austen began writing spirited parodies of the popular Gothic and sentimental fiction of the day for the amusement of her family. Chock-full of stock characters, vapid and virtuous heroines, and improbable coincidences, these early works reveal in nascent form many of her literary gifts: particularly her ironic sensibility, wit, and gift for comedy. Attempts at more sustained, serious works began around 1794 with a novel in letters - a popular form at the time - called Lady Susan, and in the years immediately following with two more epistolary novels - one called Elinor and Marianne, the other First Impressions - that would evolve into Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Lady Susan, later revised and entitled Northanger Abbey, also was begun in that period.
From 1799 to 1809, little is known of Austen's life or literary endeavors, other than that upon her father's retirement she moved unhappily from her beloved home in Steventon to Bath; that he died a few years thereafter and she moved to Southampton; and that she began, but did not complete, a novel called The Watsons. A move back to the country in 1808 - to a cottage on one of her brother's properties in Chawton - seems to have revived her interest in writing.
Her revised version of Elinor and Marianne - Sense and Sensibility - was published, like all the work which appeared in print in her lifetime, anonymously, in 1811; and between the time Pride and Prejudice was accepted for publication and the time it actually appeared, she wrote Mansfield Park. Emma appeared in 1816 and was reviewed favorably by the most popular novelist of the day, Sir Walter Scott, who said:
The author's knowledge of the world, and the peculiar tact with which she presents characters that the reader cannot fail to recognize, reminds us something of the merits of the Flemish school of painting. The subjects are not often elegant, and certainly never grand; but they are finished up to nature, and with a precision which delights the reader.
Scott also insightfully pointed out Emma's significance in representing the emergence of a new kind of novel, one concerned with the texture of ordinary life.
Though all her novels were concerned with courtship, love, and marriage, Austen never married. There is some evidence that she had several flirtations with eligible men in her early twenties, and speculation that in 1802 she agreed to marry the heir of a Hampshire family but then changed her mind. Austen rigorously guarded her privacy, and after her death, her family censored and destroyed many of her letters. Little is known of her personal experience or her favorite subjects. However, Austen's reputation as a "dowdy bluestocking," as literary critic Ronald Blythe points out, is far from accurate: "she loved balls, cards, wine, music, country walks, conversation, children, and bad as well as excellent novels."
In 1816, as she worked to complete her novel Persuasion, Austen's health began to fail. She continued to work, preparing Northanger Abbey for publication, and began a light-hearted, satirical work called Sanditon which she never finished. She died at the age of forty-two on July 18, 1817, in the arms of her beloved sister, Cassandra, of what historians now believe to have been Addison's disease.
The identity of "A Lady" who wrote the popular novels was known in her lifetime only to her family and a few elite readers, among them the Prince Regent, who invited Austen to visit his library and "permitted" her to dedicate Emma to him (unaware, no doubt, that she loathed him). But Austen deliberately avoided literary circles; in Ronald Blythe's words, "literature, not the literary life, was always her intention." It was not until the December following her death, when Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, that "a biographical notice of the author" by Austen's brother Henry appeared in the books, revealing to the reading public for the first time the name of Jane Austen.
Edited with an Introduction by Marilyn Butler
This lighthearted romance, generally agreed to be Austen's earliest major novel, though it was not published until after her death, is also a high-spirited burlesque of the sentimental and Gothic novels of her day. When the charmingly imperfect heroine, Catherine Morland, visits Northanger Abbey, she meets all the trappings of Gothic horror, and imagines the worst. Fortunately, she has at hand her own fundamental good sense and irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney. Real disaster does eventually strike, but doesn't spoil for too long the happy atmosphere of this delightful novel.
Edited with an Introduction by Tony Tanner
More varied in scene and conceived on a bigger scale than Austen's earlier books, Mansfield Park (1814) can be seen as an image of quiet resistance at the start of what was to be the most convulsive century of change in English history. In telling the story of Fanny Price, the quiet and sensitive daughter of a lower-middle-class Portsmouth family who is brought up in - and after much suffering eventually becomes mistress of - elegant Mansfield Park, Austen draws on her usual cool irony and psychological insight while also portraying a less immediately winning heroine in a more complex light.
Edited with an Introduction by Ronald Blythe
Many writers and critics consider Emma (1816), the last of Austen's novels published in her lifetime, the climax of her genius. Dominating the novel is the character of Emma Woodhouse - vital, interesting, complex, and predisposed to playing power games with other people's emotions. Austen called her a heroine "no one but myself would like," but she endures as one of Austen's immortal creations. Charting how Emma's disastrous foray as a matchmaker precipitates a crisis in the small provincial world of Highbury, and in her own heart, this novel of self-deceit and self-discovery sparkles with intelligence, wit, and irony.
Edited with an Introduction by D.W. Harding
Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth had met and separated years before. Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart. The characters who embody those values are the subjects of some of the most withering satire that Austen ever wrote. Like its predecessors, Persuasion (published after her death in 1818) is a tale of love and marriage, told with Austen's distinctive irony and insight. But the heroine - like the author - is more mature; the tone of the writing more somber.
Also included in this edition is the pioneering biography of Austen written fifty years after her death by her nephew, J. E. Austen-Leigh, which outlines the essential facts of Austen's life while also reflecting the Victorian era's limited comprehension of her achievements.
Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon
Edited with an Introduction by Margaret Drabble
These three works - one novel unpublished in her lifetime and two unfinished fragments - reveal Austen's development as a great artist. Lady Susan is a sparkling melodrama, written in epistolary form, featuring a beautiful, intelligent, and wicked heroine. The Watsons, probably written when Austen resided unhappily in Bath and abandoned after her father's death, is a tantalizing fragment centering on the marital prospects of the Watson sisters in a small provincial town. Sanditon, Austen's last fiction, reflects her growing concern with the new speculative consumer society and foreshadows the great social upheavals of the Industrial Revolution.
Also available from Penguin Classics:
The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë
Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë
Edited by Frances Beer
This collection provides the opportunity to discover the first examples of Austen's neoclassical elegance and Brontë's mastery of the romantic spirit.
Available on audiocassette from Penguin Audiobooks:
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Boxed Set: Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Pride and Prejudice
Penguin Classics wishes to thank and credit the following writers and books for information used in creating this Penguin Classics Guide:
Joseph Duffy, "Criticism 1814-70"; Brian Southam, "Criticism 1870-1940" and "Janeites and Anti-Janeites"; A. Walton Litz, "Criticism 1939-83"; J. David Grey, "Life of Jane Austen"; all in The Jane Austen Companion, J. David Grey, Managing Editor; Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986.
Lloyd W. Brown, "The Business of Marrying and Mothering," and Norman Page, "The Great Tradition Revisited," in Jane Austen's Achievement, edited by Juliet McMaster, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., Barnes & Noble Import Division, New York, 1976.
W. A. Craik, Jane Austen: The Six Novels, Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York, 1965.
Posted March 9, 2009
I Also Recommend:
After reading Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", I wondered quietly to myself what exactly i took away from the novel. To be brutally honest, the answer to that question is this, not a whole lot. While Austen's writing style is clear and easy delve into, the actual storyline for the novel is severely lacking. Call it a matter of taste, but I prefer reading books where real events actually transpire, not a constant dialog between various pompous, egotistical rich people who are all trying to get a leg up in society. While this is an excellent method for developing characters, it does very little to actually develop the plot. Sure, there is the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy which is the novel's main focus, but as far as this reader is concerned there needs to be something else driving the plot as well. Many critics laud this novel as a clever commentary on society at that time, but seeing as I neither lived during nor cared about this time period, I don't include myself in the novel's target audience. Keep in mind that my poor opinions of the book do not necessarily constitute this novel as being awful, it simply doesn't appeal to people with tastes similar to mine. For those of you who think this book has potential but needs some more meat, try reading the revised version "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
49 out of 144 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2009
I recently read Pride and Prejudice to relax, and I can honestly say that it is one of the best novels I have ever read. The characters of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are well developed and enthralling. Elizabeth is the classic stubborn and brazen heroine; a no nonsense kind of girl whose personality from their first meeting rubs Mr. Darcy the wrong way. Through several different personal struggles we see these characters grow as individuals, as well as closer to each other. It is a must read for all the hopeless romantics out there.
39 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2008
I do not inderstand why people LOVE this book so much. It is way too long and there are way too many details. Austen rambles on and on and on about things that have no significance to the story. The story is very boring and does nothing to capture your attention. This is probaly one of the worst books I have ever read.
33 out of 134 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2008
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of...' a copy of Pride and Prejudice. I had felt guilty that I had watched many film versions of the book before actually reading it. That being said, I grabbed a copy at Barnes and Noble and ran home to read. I'll admit that the language of Jane Austen's day can be a bit confusing at first, but after the first three chapters, I was transported to eighteenth century England, sipping tea, and watching Elizabeth bedazzle Fitzwilliam while dancing at the Netherfield ball. This is a definite must-read for any, true booklover. Bon appetit!
31 out of 38 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2009
I have read 'Pride and Prejudice' at least fifty times, and I picked up this copy so that I could have an easy-to-carry one for my bag. However I didn't take a close look at it and didn't realize it had footnotes - which, at first glance, one would take to be helpful - but actually are so obvious that they are unneeded. The editor does explain some helpful things such as card games but some terms which need no explanation (really, who can't figure out that se'ennight means week?) just interrupt the flow of the text.
I also found the modernizations of spellings to be irritating and distracting - another unnecessary change by the editor.
I would not recommend this edition of 'Pride and Prejudice' but would certainly encourage anyone to read it in its original spelling and with more judicious editing.
27 out of 40 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2008
I saw the movie before I read the book. Actually, it was the movie that made me want to read the book. I'm a bit of a bookworm, and I started reading this at the end of my sophomore year (high school). I finished reading it during the summer, and I loved it. Sure, it was slow during some parts, but other than that, it was fantastic. Jane Austen was a fantastic author. I'm reading Sense and Sensibility next.
19 out of 29 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2009
When i first heard of the book, i was under the assumption that is was an adult novel and that i wouldn't enjoy it. However, after reading it, as an 8th grader, for a challenge, i fell in love with it. I will be the first to admit that it took me 2 whole weeks to read this as where i usually only take about 2 days. It was a bit hard to understand at first, but eventually you got used to the writing and words she used. Overall, it is an epic love story and of course a classic. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 12. It is simply amazing :)
17 out of 23 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2011
This is a scan of the 1894 George Allen edition. There are a lot of problems with the scanner software not being able to recognize letters, or maybe the document was just dirty, but you have to do a lot of guessing as to the words. A difficult read and not for those who have not read Pride and Prejudice before this.
16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The book was pretty boring and eh-ish, until Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and she, in return, told him off about his devilish and rude nature. When Elizabeth found out how wrong she was, and Mr. Darcy wrote a letter back to her, with no traces of contempt, I was touched.
It was so romantic, how they ended up together again <3
I'm reading 'Persuasion' now, and so far, I'm having the same outlook as I had with 'Pride and Prejudice' (boring at first, then good).
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Posted September 24, 2010
I Also Recommend:
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
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Posted April 14, 2008
Will they fall in love, or loath each other for all eternity? This was the question I asked myself when I was reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I was captivated by the sense of authority in her words. She (Austen) explains the simplicity and hardships of love in a very graceful way. She laced this idea of love into a young woman's everyday life. This her second novel, and by my personal choice, the best. ¿It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.¿ There, she explains the subject of her novel. She said the main subject of the book is marriage and love, and it focusses you to know that the book will include someone looking for a wife, or vise versa. In the early 1800¿s, Elizabeth is a very regular girl. With her fast reactions and wits, she can give the rudest insult without losing her light hearted tone and good nature. She and her four sisters listen anxiously as their mother, Mrs. Bennet, persuades their father, Mr. Bennet, to go meet the new men in town. That is where new characters come into the book. Of course, any girl would be anxious to marry a wealthy man. Austen wrote the book in a very controlled manner. A scene such as when Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, is an example. She (Austen) doesn¿t set Elizabeth into hysterics, or crosses the line of how she refuses him. It is almost funny to read. Mr. Collins, through his arrogance and stubbornness, doesn¿t stop asking Elizabeth to marry him. He keeps asking even though she refused him in the best manner over and over. The quote below shows the control Austen writes into her characters. ¿I (Elizabeth) do assure you... I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible... Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart.¿ The Bingely¿s (a new family in town), along with Mr. Darcy host a ball celebrating their arrival. The whole Bennet family goes, dressed in their best apparel. Elizabeth immediately talks to Mr. Bingely, and is naturally repulsed at Mr. Darcys actions. Tightlipped and non-talkative, Elizabeth soon stops conversing all together around him until she is asked to dance by one of the men. Will Mr. Darcy get jealous and ask her to dance? Elizabeth is the main character, but Austen doesn¿t tell it from Elizabeth¿s perspective. She does this on purpose. It hides any strong or sudden emotions Elizabeth may have had. Austen¿s style of writing is slightly confusing. She jumps from one character and shoreline to another. It gave you multiple views of the story, and what can be happening all at once. It was better that she wrote this way, for one because the book shows multiple people who are in love. Instead of writing from how just one character sees how other people act, and ignorant of the characters own actions, she writes how each character acts a reacts to the situations they are placed in. ¿To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence.... She attracted him more than he liked.... Particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity..... His behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it.... He scarcely spoke ten words to her.... and though they were at one time left by themselves for half an hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her.¿ In this passage Austen shows Mr. Darcy¿s strength to resist, and his stubborn character to like anyone but himself. The writing style of the book is different than modern writers. For example: ¿When that business was over, he applied to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth for the indulgence of some music. Miss Bingley moved w
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Pride & Prejudice was an unexpected jewel. The novel is so much more than you would expect.I loved this book the first time I read it, and then watched the mini series with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I reread the book and I am sure that I will read it many times again. Austin is brilliant!
8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2009
I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and I thought it was a great book. It was brilliantly and beautifully written. Some of the characters were based upon people that Jane Austen¿s own life. The setting is in the 18th century and old English style writing and is historical fiction. Pride and Prejudice is a story about a poor family with five girls who are still not yet married. Mrs. Bennet very much wants her daughters to get married. When two handsome rich men go to their town there are balls and love is everywhere. Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest girl and she is a happy and proud girl who loves to read books. Jane Bennet is the eldest of the girls and is shy and has a big heart. Mr. Darcy is a handsome rich man and is very stubborn and disagreeable. Mr. Bingley is Mr. Darcy¿s best friend and he is a complete opposite of him. He is sweet and respectful man and has a bid heart. This book is for young adults and adults. I recommend this book to you if you liked The Note Book. Pride and Prejudice was published in 1894, and has 371 pages. Do not just rush through this book; take your time to really think about the characters and the themes of love class and marriage. If you are looking for a great love story Pride and Prejudice is a great book to read.
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2008
Everyone has told me that this book is the best book to read. I really disliked it. It was a real disappointment. The story was dragged out to much, and the font was tiny. i would not reccomend reading it if you are under 16, you will get bored out of your mind.
7 out of 37 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2009
This was an amazing book!! It is one of my favorites. It is about a girl named Elizabeth Bennet who takes PRIDE in her good judgments. She judges a rich, handsome, rude, new-to-town guy named Mr.(Fitzwilliam) Darcy. (Mr. Darcy has alot of PRIDE which is what I believe to be the main reason for the pride part of the title.) Through Elizabeth's PREJUDICE, she misjudges Darcy and Darcy writes all of these truths in a letter. She reads it and finds out about everything she thought. Darcy changes his attitude by becoming kind and caring. He ends up saving Elizabeth's family from disgrase and Elizabeth falls in love with Darcy. (Darcy had loved Elizabeth for at least months now and has already proposed to her once, she declined.) Darcy proposes a secound time and Elizabeth accepts. This was a really great book and it was alot better than i thought it would be. My only suggestions is to either keep notes of the characters or use an online character chart and to keep some form of a dictionary around because there are alot of uncommon words. Hope this was usefull!!!!!!!
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2008
This book is a novel detailing the life and trials of a young girl and family. She is trying to find love and happiness in a world where people marry for money and status. This woman endures many trials and errors dealing with the dark sides of people and also the surprising good that is hard to find in some individuals. The book is heartwarming and carefully written, a difficult read for some, but well worth it.
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2010
I've been a bookworm since 5th grade (I am now 40) and this is the best book of all time! Especially if you like romance. Jane Austen is probably the most gifted writer of all time. Everyone should read this classic love story. It deals with so many issues like first impressions, lust vs. real love, integrity, sacrifice, I could go on and on. The story centers around Elizabeth, a beautiful, witty, and very opinionated young lady, and Mr. Darcy, a handsome, rich, reserved and very prideful man. You will fall in love with these characters from the beginning! But will they fall in love with each other? Jane Austen is a master story teller and her writing style is truly elegant and beautiful. A must read for everyone!
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2009
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Posted April 24, 2009
Pride and Prejudice is truly a book everyone should read at least once in their life. Jane Austens classic tale is and will be emulated throughout movies and other novels for a very long time. It would be easier for people to understand these copycats if they had read the original. It is a great book that proves if you stay true to yourself instead of worring about what others think of you you will be just fine.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.