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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 January 9, 2009
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.
69 out of 99 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.
28 out of 42 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 :)
19 out of 25 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 19, 2009
I Also Recommend:
omg this book is absolutely fantastically amazing!!!!!!
JANE AUSTEN IS THE BEST WRITER IN THE LAST 200 YRS!!!!!
my mom read the book and she said it was really good!!!
i also saw parts of the movie w/ keira knightley in it!
I HAVE 2 WORDS 4 ANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T YET READ THIS:
18 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.
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).
11 out of 24 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 14, 2008
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. <BR/> 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! <BR/> 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. <BR/> 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. <BR/> 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! <BR/><BR/>Check out this and other reviews by high school students at www.notrequiredreading.com!
9 out of 18 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 4, 2013
Posted February 25, 2013
Posted June 19, 2012
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.
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 October 11, 2012
I dont like this book but they gave it to me for free
Also i dont how to get it out of my library
5 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 September 13, 2011
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.
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 June 11, 2011
Posted May 12, 2009
I really enjoyed Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. When the book picked up speed I couldn't wait to finish it. However, the first fourth of the book was pretty slow and I didn't want to read it. All throughout the book I found myself rooting for Elizabeth. I'm not usually this drawn in by books. It proves that Austen created very realistic characters that I couldn't help but root for as if I knew them personally. On the other hand, she did a wonderful job at creating characters that were unpleasant. Miss Bingley in particular I couldn't stand after a few chapters. Again, I usually don't hate characters either so once again Ms. Austen did a great job in creating life like characters. My favorite part of the book was that it ended happily. I'm a person that prefers the characters all ending up happy instead of someone being upset in the end. Jane and Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy getting married made me very happy. For a while I thought Jane and Mr. Bingley weren't going to get married and I became a little nervous. Ms. Austen didn't disappoint me though, and she ended the book on a happy note. Basically, I enjoyed this novel a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.
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 July 2, 2013
Well i just stated this book and it ia way CONFUSING. Im usually an advanced reader, but this book wasted my 7 past years of grade school trying to become a better reader! I never know whose talkig and always have to go back to fugure it out. There are so many big words and old english writing. I keep having to look up the words to know what they mean. Definetly would not recommemd this for any kid that thinks its a "classic, so it has to be good right!!" WRONG!!! Im not even past page 100 and its boring. And whats up with the super long intro? No one wants to read that crap. Its likes reading a king james bible, you try to read it but it just wont compreemd in your head. I will try to do my best to finish it. But i wouldnt recommend it to anyone. Well idk i gues i shoul try reading it. But i bet it will still suck. Thank you for reading my honest review.
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 March 12, 2013
Posted March 2, 2013
Posted October 16, 2012
Posted September 2, 2012
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.
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 August 13, 2012
Posted June 23, 2011