“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure,” Elizabeth Bennet tells Fitzwilliam Darcy in one of countless exhilarating scenes in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The remembrance of Austen’s brilliant work has given its readers pleasure for 200 years and is certain to do so for centuries to come. The book is incomparable for its wit, humor, and insights into how we think and act—and how our “first impressions” (the book’s initial title) can often be remarkably off-base. All of these facets are explored and commemorated in Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, written by preeminent Austen scholar Susannah Fullerton. Fullerton delves into what makes Pride and Prejudice such a groundbreaking masterpiece, including the story behind its creation (the first version may have been an epistolary novel written when Austen was only twenty), its reception upon publication, and its tremendous legacy, from the many films and miniseries inspired by the book (such as the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth) to the even more numerous “sequels,” adaptations, mash-ups (zombies and vampires and the like), and pieces of merchandise, many of them very bizarre.
Interspersed throughout are fascinating stories about Austen’s brief engagement (perhaps to the man who inspired the ridiculous Mr. Collins), the “Darcin” pheromone, the ways in which Pride and Prejudice served as bibliotherapy in the World War I trenches, why it caused one famous author to be tempted into thievery, and much more. Celebrating Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful celebration of a book that has had an immeasurable influence on literature and on anyone who has had the good fortune to discover it.
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About the Author
SUSANNAH FULLERTON is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia and has lectured extensively around the world on Jane Austen's life and novels. She is the author of Jane Austen and Crime, a book described by Claire Tomalin as 'essential reading for every Janeite'. She lives in Sydney, Australia. Her other title for Frances Lincoln is A Dance with Jane Austen.
Table of Contents
'My Own Darling Child': The Writing of Pride and Prejudice 10
'A Very Superior Work': Reactions to Pride and Prejudice 16
'A Truth Universally Acknowledged': The Famous First Sentence 28
'Bright and Sparkling': The Style of Pride and Prejudice 38
'As Charming a Creature': The Heroine, Elizabeth Bennet 52
'Mr Darcy … is the Man!': The Hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy 64
'The Female Line': Her Relations 76
'The Same Noble Line': His Relations 104
'Delighting in the Ridiculous': Other Characters 116
Pride and Prejudice Goes Overseas: The Translations 130
'Pictures of Perfection': Illustrating and Covering Pride and Prejudice 140
Did They All Live Happily Ever After?: Sequels and Adaptations 154
Bonnets and Bosoms: Film and Theatrical Versions 174
Mugs and Skateboards: Selling Pride and Prejudice 202
'Behold Me Immortal': Pride and Prejudice Now and in the Future 214
Picture Credits 240