Pride and Prejudiceby Jane Austen
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as/i>… See more details below
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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."
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. "Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever," writes Anna Quindlen in her introduction to this Modern Library edition. "It is a pure joy to read." Eudora Welty agrees: "The gaiety is unextinguished, the irony has kept its bite, the reasoning is still sweet, the sparkle undiminished. [It is] irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be."
This volume is the companion to the BBC television series, a lavish production aired on the Arts and Entertainment Network.
Read an Excerpt
IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."
This was invitation enough.
"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately;
that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."
"What is his name?"
"Is he married or single?"
"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"
"How so? How can it affect them?"
"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome!
You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."
"Is that his design in settling here?"
"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."
"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."
"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty,
but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."
"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."
"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."
"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."
"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general you know they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him if you do not."
"You are over scrupulous surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls;
though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."
"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."
"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."
"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."
"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."
"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."
"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."
"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come since you will not visit them."
"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all."
Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour,
reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Meet the Author
Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775. Her father, the Reverend George Austen, was rector of Steventon, where she spent her first twenty-five years, along with her six brothers (two of them later naval officers in the Napoleonic wars) and her adored sister, Cassandra. She read voraciously from an early age, counting among her favorites the novels of Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Fanny Burney, and the poetry of William Cowper and George Crabbe. Her family was lively and affectionate and they encouraged her precocious literary efforts, the earliest dating from age twelve, which already displayed the beginnings of her comic style. Her first novels, Elinor and Marianne (1796) and First Impressions (1797), were not published. The gothic parody Northanger Abbey was accepted for publication in 1803 but was ultimately withheld by the publisher.
In 1801 the family moved to Bath, where for four years Austen was able to observe the fashionable watering place that would later figure prominently in her fiction. Austen was sociable in her youth, and was briefly engaged in 1802. Two years later she began work on The Watsons, a novel that remained unfinished. After the death of her father in 1805, she lived with her mother and sister in Southampton for a few years before moving with them to a cottage at Chawton in Hampshire. This would be her home for the rest of her life, and she wrote many of her novels in its parlor. She continued to revise her earlier unpublished work, and in 1811 a version of Elinor and Marianne was published as Sense and Sensibility, followed two years later by Pride and Prejudice, a reworking of First Impressions. In the next few years she published Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816).
Austen became ill in 1815, perhaps with Addison's disease, and she died on July 18, 1817. Persuasion, her last novel, and the earlier Northanger Abbey appeared the following year. Of her last days her brother wrote: 'She wrote whilst she could hold a pen, and with a pencil when a pen was become too laborious. The day preceding her death she composed some stanzas replete with fancy and vigour.' Although Austen received some praise from her contemporaries—notably Sir Walter Scott, who discerned in her work 'the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment'—her detractors included Charlotte Bronte ('very incomplete and rather insensible') and Ralph Waldo Emerson ('vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention'), and her books did not immediately find a wide readership. The turn in her reputation came late in the nineteenth century, and has been succeeded by an enduring popularity and widespread critical praise in the twentieth.
- Date of Birth:
- December 16, 1775
- Date of Death:
- July 18, 1817
- Place of Birth:
- Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
- Place of Death:
- Winchester, Hampshire, England
- Taught at home by her father
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I just finished reading this book and was captivated by the way the cahracters and plot was portrayed. I will never forget this book and it is one of my all time favorite books. I have found that even though there were hard times for the Bennets, I want to have something exactly like Elizabeth Bennet and be just like her. She is now my all time favorite fictional character. I highly encourage reading this book.
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 :)
One thing this book reminds me of is the inability of the modern author to address romance without sex. No doubt, even in the day of Austen, the characters would have at least been exposed to intrigues of the physical kind but the pitfalls of such are rightly disregarded. Instead, the book focuses on how we fashion love with a chosen partner. The idea that two people are so alike as to reduce the stress of life or so different as to meet the necessary stress needed to carry on with life is presented. It is not a story of how opposites attract nor is it a story of unbridled passion begging for unwanted pregnancy. It is the story of what people believe they want, how they discover what they actually want, and the humility BOTH sides must face in order to get it. It is not the story of one man chasing down a woman to the peril of allof his worldly possessions, social connections, or his own convictions. It is not the story of a woman who is solely dedicated to her job, consumed by her family, scarred by a broken past, or brainless. Instead, it is a story about a man who learns to understand the balance of his power in the world and the trust he can instill in another human being. It is a story about a woman who sees the world as it is and learns to ask better questions before rushing to judgment. The love they share is not based on the size of his manhood or the pleasing sounds she makes during coitus or the size of anyone's bank account. The attraction to one another is incidental and neither party began with a sinister plot or sought to ruin anyoneelse's life. It's a story of how circumstances tie two people together and what they are willing to do for one another. It's a story about how easy finding love can be when you're paying attention, asking the right questions, and getting over yourself. This is the only romance novel I have read because it is the closest to the truth of what it means to be romantic.
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.
I am only 12, but this book is a great book!
One of my favorites
I'm 12 years old and I love classics. I've seen the movie based off of this book. This is one of my favorite books along with many others.
The best book I have ever read in my lifetime and they put more books like Pride and Prejudice in the book section in the shop
I love this book, i wish that i could get all of her books free.
I adore anything by Jane Austen, but Pride and Prejudice must be my all time favorite. Great plot, loveable characters, drama and action. Very good book.
It is absolutly horrible! It is not the story only symbols!
The introduction to this work I found particularly interesting. Shedding light on world events during the life of Jane Austen and particularly the time when this novel was first published was fascinating. The deconstruction of the dynamics of the novel and the brief compare and contrast to Austen life was quite remarkable and almost as pleasant to read as Pride and Prejudice it's self.
This is a classic. A book everyone should read at some point in their life.
This is a GREAT book!!!!!!
Oh my goodness, this book is absolutely exceptional! I'm always reading young adult novels but i never had in mind to read a classical novel and one day i just decide to purchase one and it happened to be Pride and Prejudice. I never regret it one bit, absolutely fantastic ! Jane Austen really knows how to create a romance novel but give a meaning than just love and for many young ladies, like myself can relate to Elizabeth's obstacles throughout the novel. Such an amazing read, two thumbs up !
Best book ever made!!!!!!!!!!!
I love it !!!!!!!!!
This is a classic of English literature! I love English literature and I want to teach it when I'm an adult. If you're only here to say you hated this book, go away. It makes people who like the book feel bad, and you may make someone not want to read it, who would have really liked it had they read it. If you're going to write a bad review, the very least you can do is state why you didn't like it. And "it's too long" or"it was boring" is not a correct answer. You need to say WHY it was boring. And coming from a thirteen year old who has read Les Miserables unabridged...I don't think Pride and Prejudice is that long.
I have avoided reading "classics" ever since I graduated from high school because we were reading to analyze, not to enjoy. My thought was always, "How doe they know that's what the author meant? Aren't they just saying what THEY mean?". Once I decided to read this, I was hooked. Very amusing, great characters (some greatly stupid), written so that you can actually understand the language. VERY recommended.
The odd typos don't really interfere with the read. If you love this novel none of these errors matter. If you have never read the story, this is a must read!
This is one of Jane Austin's best works. I love it!!!
The plot of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen revolves around, well, pride and prejudice. This novel tells the tale of the convoluted romance of Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth `Lizzy¿ Bennet. Basically, Darcy¿s pride prevents him from showing his true feelings for Elizabeth, and Lizzy¿s prejudice against men keeps her from truly falling in love. Many people have often speculated that Austen¿s inspiration for this story came from one of her own experiences.
I decided to read Pride and Prejudice after seeing the 2005 version of the movie in eighth grade. I loved the movie, but I loved the book even more. It has become one of my favorites! I would definitely recommend it to my friends. However, men might not be particularly enthralled by it because it is mostly a romance. Also, I don¿t recommend it to people who don¿t like slow or wordy books. I personally don¿t like books that are incredibly fast-paced, and one of the things that appeals to me about Pride and Prejudice is the fact that it moves fairly slowly. Still, this is not a boring book by any means. So much happens in its 61 chapters!
This story may also appeal to anyone who has ever been in an awkward or uncomfortable situation with someone that they are somewhat attracted to. Readers can practically feel the uncomfortable atmosphere in several of Elizabeth and Darcy¿s early encounters. For example, while at a ball, Lizzy remarks, ¿It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples¿ (Chapter 18). Darcy responds by saying that they can talk about whatever she chooses, but he makes no effort to stimulate the conversation, so they remain silent.
The protagonists of the story are Charles Bingley, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and the Bennet family. The leaders of the Bennet family are rational Mr. Bennet and foolish Mrs. Bennet, who thinks only of finding wealthy men for her daughters to marry. This is the tale of the courtships of the Bennet girls: beautiful and gentle Jane, clever Lizzy, reclusive Mary, silly Kitty, and headstrong Lydia. The story begins with the incorrigible Mrs. Bennet demanding that her husband introduce the family to wealthy Mr. Bingley, who has just moved to Netherfield Park, in the village of Longbourn, where the Bennet residence can also be found. Mrs. Bennet hopes that Bingley will marry one of her daughters. The Bennet family forms a friendship with Mr. Bingley, his sister Caroline, and their friend, Mr. Darcy. In the mean time, the Bennets also become acquainted with one George Wickham, Darcy¿s estranged childhood friend. The novel is filled with twisting and turning courtships, and deceitful schemes to both separate and unite various couples.
Personally, Jane Austen¿s Pride and Prejudice, is one of my absolute favorite books. I know that few teenagers share my taste in literature, but I recommend it to everyone. I would rather you at least give it a try and put it down because you hate it than not try it at all. Who knows, you just might like it, and it could become one of your favorite books!
Check out this and other reviews by high school students at www.notrequiredreading.com!
I love this book!!!!!!!! It's one of my absolute favorites.
This book is amazing for people that like old time books you need to read this. And while your at it get the movie to its good and makes sence to the book. And by the way sex does not make a book good