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'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' Thus memorably begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, one of the world's most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice—Austen's own 'darling child'—tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.
Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale. In the words of Eudora Welty, Pride and Prejudice is as 'irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.'
Carol Howard, educated at SUNY Purchase and Columbia University, where she received her Ph.D. in 1999, chairs the English Department and teaches in the Theater Department at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. She has published essays on early British and contemporary African-American women writers and has coedited two books on British writers (1996, 1997). Her primary scholarly interest is the literature of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England.
It is sometimes said that Austen’s gift was to be a shrewd observer of her narrow, genteel social circle, that her experience and knowledge of the world were limited and her life sheltered, and that her novels realistically reflect the peaceful late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century village community and English countryside she inhabited. That Austen was a careful observer of human motivation and social interaction is certainly true. One should not assume, though, that her choice to write novels of manners means that she was unaware of or unaffected by the political and social upheaval of her day. The idea that she centers her novels on the social classes with which she was most familiar is not entirely the case, although she had occasion to observe members of the gentry and aristocracy whose circumstances resembled those of some of the characters who populate her novels. Whether her own life was perfectly serene is questionable: Most lives, no matter how uneventful in retrospect, have their vicissitudes.
At the very least, Austen and her family must have had concerns over the tumultuous historical events that unsettled the British nation during their lifetime. She was born in 1775, the year that marked the beginning of the American Revolution. Several decades later, she would read newspaper accounts of another British conflict with the new American nation in the War of 1812, which began as she finished revising Pride and Prejudice. What must have played significantly in Austen’s imagination, as in the mind of every Briton, was the ongoing war with Napoleon’s forces, which marked the culmination of a century of conflicts between Britain and France, and which ended, with the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, six months before her fortieth birthday. The British fear of invasion by Napoleon, which endured until 1805, caused concern even in the towns and villages that seemed safest. Austen would have been aware of the billeting of British militia troops in the English countryside, and she certainly followed the career of her brother Henry, who had joined the Oxford militia in 1793, when Britain’s latest war with France erupted in the aftermath of the French Revolution. She must also have taken a personal interest in the campaigns of the British navy, which counted her brothers Francis and Charles among its officers. To what extent she cared about daily political events is difficult to discern, for her letters are marked by characteristic irony. Of a newspaper report of an 1811 battle of the Peninsular War, when Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal in an effort to close ports to British commerce, Austen declared, “How horrible it is to have so many people killed!—And what a blessing that one cares for none of them!” (Le Faye, Jane Austen’s Letters).
Posted March 9, 2009
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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.
51 out of 169 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.
44 out of 54 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.
35 out of 151 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!
32 out of 39 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.
21 out of 27 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.
21 out of 31 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!
9 out of 12 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 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
9 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.
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 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 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 March 14, 2012
Even if you've memorized every word of this beautiful novel, it's painfully distracting trying to decipher the text.
I have very limited income and had to save for months to buy my tablet but I had assurances from B&N staff that there were "Thousands of free books available for the Nook." Unfortunately, most of the free books I've found are either barely legible or not worth reading because they are so poorly written. The choice for my kids is worse!
I guess I need to start saving again...just to buy books I already own in paper.
5 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 December 28, 2011
I love this book, but the formatting on this edition is terrible - missing entire pages, skips paragraphs and is missing words. Would not recommend
5 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.
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.
Posted October 29, 2008
If a person dies without reading this book...they have missed one of the greatest pleasures that the world could give them! This book is undoubtedly my most favorite book and I would recommend it to the entire world! The spirited Lizzy, smoldering Mr. Darcy along with all the side characters are likely to keep you entertained for days together even after you have finished!
4 out of 5 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 5, 2008
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, is a very sophisticated book. It is a great love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It is very well written and definitely a classic. It was personally hard for me to get into, as it really never grabbed my attention with an intricate plot. Well, not one that I could understand. Mrs. Bennett is a HILLARIOUS character. Very bossy and always opinionated. While her husband is the complete opposite. Jane Bennett, Elizabeth's sister, is a beautiful young woman, and most commonly chosen as the favorite through out the book. Her to-become husband Mr. Bingly is also a very sweet man. Kitty and Lydia, two more sisters, could be the most annoying characters out of any book. Ever. But I do see where they could be considered necessary for the book. It's a good book to read if you enjoy more old time, literature writing styles.
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.