Pride And Prejudice

Paperback | August 15, 2005

byJane Austen

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When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

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Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


From the Publisher

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follow...

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Wi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 7.78 × 5.11 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2005Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143036238

ISBN - 13:9780143036234

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic I loved the movies, but the book was so much better (as is usually the case). Would recommend this to all book lovers!
Date published: 2016-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Come on Mr. Darcy I am currently in the middle of the novel. I just want Mr Darcy to express his feelings to Elizabeth already! One more thing... I want Miss Bingley to STOP TALKING.
Date published: 2015-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Movie did not do this book any justice. Loved every second of it. Totally recommend it to readers!!!
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read This book is extremely well written and if the story doesn't capture you, the writing style definitely will. This classic truly deserves all the praise it has received. For those who the think the pace is slow, I think watching the Pride & Prejudice short films (starring Colin Firth) will surely change their mind. 
Date published: 2014-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is the best book I have ever read! I love the depth of the characters and the plot. Quite simply, I love everything about Pride and Prejudice! I have read it countless times!
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable read. Certainly gives you a feel for the time period and the rules and constraints men and especially women were subject to. Hard to originally get into but once it grabbed my attention I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This is a classic story of not judging a book by its cover. If you're not used to this older style of writing it may take a bit of time to get used to, but once you do the story begins to unfold. I loved this book because I learned that times may change but people and their tendencies remain the same. It is a great story line that can be related to any first impression scenario in today's world.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from While I think the beginning gets off to a slow start, I found this a great read. It is interesting to see the difference between then and now, how society is and the interaction between men and women during that time period.
Date published: 2013-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A witty woman, a display of stupidity and a parade of bizarre marriages In her second novel, Jane Austen tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a bright 21 year-old woman, who is determined to marry only if she has the deepest love and respect for her future husband. Those are not her feelings when she first encounters Mr Darcy, who at first seems like a pride and cold gentleman. In fact she prefers Mr Wickham, an old acquaintance of Mr Darcy who considers himself as having been wrongfully treated by him. But is this truly the case or will Mr Darcy, upon further acquaintance, reveal himself to be more than the personification of pride itself? Of all Jane Austen’s novels, this one remains my absolute favorite for here she depicts with wit and humor all that she sees of human stupidity in Mr Collins , silliness in Mrs Bennet and her 3 younger daughters, as well as cynicism in Mr Bennet. This romantic novel is also a parade of the most bizarre of marriages: from loveless to senseless, without forgetting a catastrophic elopement, Pride and Prejudice has it all. But all this would be nothing without the presence of the spirited Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy who’s many encounters and witty/intellectual matches makes me love them and consider them as one of Jane Austen’s most powerful couple. This is simply a masterpiece. For more about this book and many more, visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pride and Prejudice Now I see the Darcy complex everyone talks about but seriously the way he changed himself was commendable!!!!
Date published: 2013-06-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a fan of "The Classics" I don't get what all the 5 star reviews are for some of these classics. This book was nothing more than a chore to read through the first 70% and consequently took a long time to get through. The final 30% seemed to pick up the pace a bit which prevented me from giving it 1 star. I have my doubts that a books such of this would ever see publication in today's world if it were new to press rather than a classic. Jane may capture the look and feel of that time period but the characters in this book all seem rather petty and not people one would normally want to associate with unless trying to move up in the world. I'm half convinced that some people give this book 5 stars so as not to seem dumb, bowing to peer pressure and the classics telling you what an uncultured lout you must be to disparage them.
Date published: 2012-12-31
Rated out of 5 by from A true classic, the BBC adaption inspired me to read this book and it was spectacular. I dare you not to fall in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy...really, I dare you.
Date published: 2012-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of the ultimate Austin work on my blog at: http://8bookcases.blogspot.ca/2012/05/pride-and-prejudice-by-jane-austin.html
Date published: 2012-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most Dazzling of All Pride and Prejudice revolves around the personal happiness of a man as he changes his manners and a young lady as she changes her mind in a classical romantic fiction. It is centrally concerned Elizabeth and Darcy in an extensive reappraising of themselves, and of their social pride and prejudices. The particular appeal of Pride and Prejudice is also due to its heroine who can able to express herself easily by using expressive languages and having an independent mind. And later, exploring the world of Pride and Prejudice will give the impact of woman’s dependency on happiness and reasonable femininity.
Date published: 2012-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Pride and Prejudice is a book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. Probably Austen's best book, it is an absolute joy to read.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Regency era comes to life! I do not read many love stories. Come to think of it, I don’t read any love stories at all (my primary interests lie in Classical, European and Commonwealth history) but with one exception. Yes, I love the novels of Jane Austen; although, I would be mendacious if I were to state that I read them for pure literal purposes. In my humble opinion, “Pride and Prejudice” would be Austen’s second-best novel – after “Emma” of course. I love everything about this book - from the very first sentence of the book to the very last. I just gasp at Jane Austen’s originality of writing, her wit and wisdom, the lucidity and levity of her prose. Everything seems just perfect! This book can bring the Regency era to life. Not matter what your age or sex, I would recommend this book to every lover of the English language.
Date published: 2012-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Romance Pride and Prejudice is a classic love story between the proud, pompous Mr. Darcy and the spirited and clever Elizabeth. It is Jane Austen's most famous novel, and in it she successfully creates a sparkling social comedy. As the characters of the novel overcome the obstacles of pride and prejudice, readers will find themselves ravenous for more.
Date published: 2011-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ravenous Readers Applaud The elegance of Jane Austen's writings have touched a number of hearts throughout the ages. In this beloved tale of pride, misunderstanding, and social status, Elizabeth Bennett tries to overcome the task of finding an agreeable husband as per her mothers wishes. In her efforts she happens upon the seemingly pompous Mr. Darcy, a rich man from out of town. While her sisters find suitable men of high stature Elizabeth battles with her self and Mr. Darcy over whether or not she adores, or loathes him. Pride and Prejudice is a seductive story that will make you want to read more and more. I'm only in high school and I have managed to enjoy every last scruple of this novel. The compassion and elegance just made my heart melt and it is a book I recommend for any ravenous reader or hopeless romantic.
Date published: 2011-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mr. Darcy! Love it! Do you love Mr. Darcy? Or do you hate him? I think a little bit of both. I can't help but love this novel as most do. Although some points in the novel are a little boring and you want to skip ahead to the good stuff, you can't help but love it, love Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Should have read this great book sooner This is a story of love and misunderstanding in England in the 1800s. Mrs. Bennett is trying to marry off her five daughters as there are no male heirs and the girls will end up without a home or income when their father dies. When a possible suitor, Mr. Bingley takes up residence nearby, Mrs. Bennett is beside herself trying to push Jane, the eldest forward. At one of the many balls where this romance seems to be progressing Elizabeth, next in line, meets Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth finds him too proud and takes an immediate dislike to him. Mr. Bingley leaves to return to London, devastating Jane and Elizabeth finds out this is due to the insufferable Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy eventually proposes to Elizabeth and she turns him down telling him just what she thinks of him. Only what she thinks is not necessarily true. I never had to read this classic for school and what a shame that is. I truly enjoyed the story. The humour that Jane Austen writes with is wonderful. I did find it a little hard to get used to the formal language used and more than once had to figure out which character was being spoken about. Miss Bennet is used for the oldest not for all five daughters. I also wonder why in 1800s England there seem to be a lot of very wimpish women and only a few with backbone.
Date published: 2011-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Romance Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen is a classic romance novel. This book teaches us that there are two sides to every story, and two sides to every person aswell. Elizabeth Bennet is not your average 18th century girl, shes clever, witty and very independent. Elizabeth Bennet thinks she knows everything about Mr. Darcy the moment she meets him, he's proud, rude and standoffish but later finds another side to him. After all the twists and turn the final message of this book is that love conquers all.
Date published: 2011-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 'Vanity, not love, has been my folly' It seems like it took me forever to finish Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, with about three Shakespearean comedies read before I finished the novel, plus watching the movie a couple days before finishing. While I'm neither a lover nor hater of spoilers, I can't help thinking I would have augmented my reading of Pride and Prejudice had I not fallen behind and been subjected to lectures, the company of my girlfriend, and the movie. However, nothing I can really say about Austen will shed anything new on the novel: it's wonderfully well written, clever, and will play on your emotions (never have I seen a first antagonistic character in Darcy change this much in my opinion since reading Lolita). Definitely a must-read.
Date published: 2010-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic Pride and Prejudice is one of the most-beloved novels by Jane Austen. Words cannot do it justice, but I'll try anyway, since I love it so much. The story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy is absolutely timeless. From the opening line, which is my all-time favorite opening line- "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large portion must be in want of a wife," we are drawn into this superb love affair, one which it is difficult to pull ourselves away from. I've read this book numerous times now and I always wonder what's going to happen. Here Jane Austen uses a sufficient amount of wit to satirize the social graces and foibles of the middle and upper classes in Regency England. From the modest Bennet family, with its five daughters, to Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, to whom social class is everything, we are given a superb picture of life as Austen saw it. There's also an undercurrent theme in which not everything is what it seems to be. Darcy is not the proud, cold gentleman he seems, nor is Elizabeth as feisty as she appears to others. And, while Elizabeth certainly understands the intents of others, she does not necessarily understand the workings of her own heart.
Date published: 2009-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Positively Perfect This book is a masterpiece, the most outstanding Austen book. The plot is classic, with small twists. It is like a maze; the characters constantly hit dead ends but still turn around to get to the end. Character personalities are different and interesting, I love every one of them. This story has comical retorts, incredible arguments, that, despite how angry the characters are, still make me laugh to near tears. I love this book, if you've read it, its impossible to not love it.
Date published: 2008-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Unforgettable Classic Set in rural England at the beginning of the nineteenth century Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice published in 1813 by T. Eggerton in London, tells the story of the Bennett family. It's major plotline centres on the second eldest daughter Elizabeth and her turbulent relationship with the rich yet intolerably proud Mr. Darcy. Slighted by him when they first meet Elizabeth forms an instant dislike of Darcy, whom of course it turns out, is completely head-over-heels in love with her. This tension of course leads to some obvious mischief between the two. Ultimately ending with both parties changing their presentations in order to come to love and respect each other whilst overcoming their pride and prejudices thus becoming better human beings in the process. What can I say about this book except that I love it! It is by far one of the greatest novels ever written and the characters within this work are some of the best in literature. How many new readers a year fall in love with the charming and opinionated Elizabeth Bennett or the dashing sometimes brut like manner of Mr. Darcy. I know as an old fan this is one novel, which I constantly re-read because I for one always fall in love with this book. From Austen's descriptions of the English countryside to her charming characters, everything about this work comes together like not many other works can. Not only is it beautifully written but it also has a universal and timeless appeal, which will forever remain thus drawing in readers hopefully, for many more years to come as this truly is one of those novels that everyone must read!
Date published: 2008-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is definitely a classic romance novel that everyone must read. It is beautifully written and kept me interested throughout. The descriptions made me feel like how the characters were feeling. I had so many laughs while reading this, since Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are both loud and obnoxious, and make such foolish remarks. With so many of the characters and so much talk about the characters' dispostion, everyone can find a character to relate to, which is exactly what makes this novel a classic. This novel is also educational, letting the reader know more about the strict customs in the 1700s. Jane Austen made the dull life in the 1700s seem so much more interesting with Elizabeth Bennet as the protagonist. Even after watching the Pride and Prejudice movie, the novel is extremely interesting to read, since there are a great number of parts that the movie could not cover, and some that it did cover were not the same as the book. Pride and Prejudice is a story that revolves around Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of Mr. Bennet. With five sisters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia) that are all very unique, there is a great deal to tell. Mary and Kitty, however, are not spoken of very much throughout the novel. There are four men that you will learn more about and discover their role in the story: Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Wickham, and Mr. Collins. I highly recommend everyone to read this classic romance novel that I am sure they will enjoy. Pride and Prejudice is definitely a novel that I plan to reread in the near future.
Date published: 2008-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've been rendered speechless! I finished the book last night and it was amazing!I love Jane Austen and I'm so glad i started reading her novels. I think its one of those books that are really good while your reading them, and then when your done and you reflect on it, you finally realize how sincerely ingenious it is. The plot is clever and witty, and i congratulate austen most ardently ;) it is a true masterpiece. The characters are spectacularly well developed and Elizabeth Bennet is one of the most influential women in literature i have ever come across. She listens to nobody, and follows her own hearts desires. She does not worry needlessly over other peoples opinions of herself, or what they expect of her. She is a loving sister and does her best to talk sense to her sisters. She is just completely ... exactly the person to look up to. Overall, great novel. p.s. this was my first time reading the novel and i look forward to reading it many times over, and more thoroughly in the future. And just incase your not sure if this book is for you i thought i'd tell you im fifteen and i am completely in love with it. dont be intimidated! read it, read it, read it!
Date published: 2008-07-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from pride and predudice this book is by Jane Austin and I like it because it is a lower cost book and easy read. As a Author she tends to tell a story as if you are right there in here world. This story is about her love for Mr. Darcy and her on again off again romance with him. She fights her feelings for him through most of the book as she feels he is not up to standard. He love is very stong but complex. I recommend it! Jane
Date published: 2008-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Love Story for All Time We all seem to think what happens to us is new and what we do not realize is the fact everyone can identify with the many facets of love and love scorned. Jane Austen's work here with "Pride and Prejudice" is a work for all time because each generation can easily identify with the characters as well as the story line. Love, love lost, love, love scorned, love, love renewed and of course the love, never to part sequence at the end. Miss Austen writes so cleverly and with the many twists and turns you wonder if the main character will realize the love that is staring at her. Cleverly done. I am not an appreciator of love stories but fell inlove with her work as it touches on many of the 'strangeness' of people. Definately recommend this book!
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If I were ship wrecked on an island .... In the event that I win the 649 and decide to take a cruise, I will be sure to carry Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with me at all times, in the event that disaster strikes. **I say this because after having been asked ... if I could have just one thing with me (given that water and sustanance were on hand)... what I would I want to have with me if I found myself ship wrecked on a deserted Island. .. forget my boyfriend ! It has to be this book !! ** Austen's characters in P & P are what make it so enjoyable. Dry humour, strength and reserve, devious scheemers and down right silly women are all on hand to make this story fun and timeless. Be sure to take a copy on your next trip... just in case !!
Date published: 2007-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loves it. I watched the movie to this book first. I fell in love with the movie with the actors, with the beauitful, romantic story line. I then felt that I should read the book because I wantd to know all the details. Yes there are some things in the book that are not in the movie...like in the end of the movie where Lizzy and Darcy are infront of his estate, there is a conversation that goes on between them before the movie ends which does not exist in the book. In the end of the book, there is a summary of what happens to all the characters (now this is included in the UK version of the movie since they English ppl were not so fond of the kissing scene) so I would recommend this book to everyone.
Date published: 2007-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is probably one of the best books I have ever read. I first read it when I was ten, and by now, I have practically memorized the text. It is very easy to read and understand, albeit the year it was written. This book is very witty and the conflict is still aound, over 100+ years later. I would definately recommend this book to everyone and all of Jane Austen's other works.
Date published: 2006-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic for all Time Jane Austen weaves magic with all her books and "Pride and Prejudice" is no exception. A little difficult to read at first due to the "Ye Old" language, however this obsticle is quickly overcome. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys a good romance story, with twists, turns, lies, love, and ofcourse the Love Triangle.
Date published: 2006-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely amazing! I absolutely love this book. It is one of my favourites ever. I absolutely recomend this book to anybody. It's so good. Plus if you loved the movie you love this.
Date published: 2006-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever I got introduced to Pride & Prejudice by my elementary school teacher, when I moved to Canada at the age of 13. Hardly knowing any English, I still managed to get so entrilled by this book. Despite the fact that it was written in early 19th century, this book will make you laugh as any other modern 20th century novel. Of course once you are done reading, you can't not watch the A&E adaptation of P& P.. I can guarantee you that after watching it, you will be running to the bookstore and buying all Jane Austen novels. She Rocks!
Date published: 2006-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal and Pleasing The obvious thing that launched my obsession with Pride and Prejudice were the movies. When I began to read this novel, my obsession grew. It's a difficult piece of literature to read, no doubt, but the content is much more than I could ever dream of. The movies are basically a summary of everything Jane Austen writes about. There is so much more in the novel and it is not only the events but the true expressions and thoughts of each character. It is truly the one and only romance novel that made me giddy, nervous, and excited all at the same time. Ms. Austen seizes the true behaviour of any girl who dislikes and suddenly comes to love a man. Has she not only improved my form on the English language, but she has encouraged me to indulge in the past.
Date published: 2006-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books This is one of my two favourite books. I had to read it for school many years ago and it was one of two books that I actually enjoyed 'having to read'. I have read this book over and over throughout the years. Jane Austen is my favourite author.
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from brilliant Jane Austen has outdone herself in Pride & Prejudice. Lizzie is the sharpest, wittiest and most colourful Austen heroine and as the story unfolds you will undoubted fall in love with Mr.Darcy as Miss Bennett does. This was a delight to read... and my favourite Austen novel.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming! Pride and prejudice is a fantastic book... I became really attached to the characters! You can't help liking them...And by the way, the movie is extraordinary!!!!
Date published: 2006-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingly romantic I've read and watched Pride and Prejudice lots of times, and everytime I would melt to see the Proud Mr. Darcy admitting his love for Elizabeth. Of all published Pride & Prejudice books out there, this would be my favorite, because the cover features BBC's TV Series' famous Mr. Darcy ~ Colin Firth (also played Mark Darcy in the modern day remake of this book: Bridget Jones Diary!)
Date published: 2006-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING The best book I have ever read. The perfect love story.
Date published: 2005-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Exellent Novel Pride and Prejudice is, without a doubt, the best book I've read all year. Although the novel can be a bit wordy, it is defenitly worth your while. It is full of rich themes, lovable characters and humourous moments. Once you've read it, you'll feel like the Bennet sisters are you best friends and that 19-th century England is your home!
Date published: 2005-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Broadview Edition Broadview Press edition has wonderful appendices and notes.
Date published: 2005-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pride and Prejudice This book is a masterpiece, a great read from the first sentence on! I was suprised that the language did not get in the way of my enjoyment of the story, and only had slight trouble with the words during the dialogue scenes. A great book to study in class, write a paper on, or just read for enjoyjment!
Date published: 2003-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You won't be able to put it down! This is, without a doubt, my favourite book. Not only does the story and setting intrigue me and make me smile at just the right time, but the characters are so endearing as well. Elizabeth and Darcy are charming; I can't imagine a world without them. This is a quintessential read for anybody who has ever fallen in love with a book. It's a love story - one that you'll want to read again and again. I know I do.
Date published: 2000-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the Best From the success of the novel Pide and Prejudice in 1813, it has become the single most popular novel ever written. It displays just what manners and courtship are, and meant in the 19th century. Elizabeth Bennet is above all, the most beautifully described, head strong women ever to be printed in the English language. Elizabeth's indpendent thinking and individuality strikes the fancy of a well off Mr. Darcy, whom is the most saught after batchular in Regancy England. Their like characters spark some delightful sparring and comedy amongst themselves, as well as friends and family. This novel quite possibly is the best piece of literature ever to be written, filmed, and is still be in print from the 19th to the 21st century.
Date published: 2000-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Enjoyable Classic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is an excellent novel that will leave the reader satisfied and impressed. The plot is full of intrigue, and absorbs the reader from the the first word to the very last. The characters are colourful and interesting, and as you read about their fascinating lives, you become lost in the gripping drama of the day to day details of how they live. All in all this book is a "must read" for anyone who would enjoy a classic about an eighteenth century family.
Date published: 2000-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read "Pride and Prejudice" is one of my favourite novels. I found myself caring about the characters and anxious to turn the page to see what happens to them. The book isn't for everyone. It is a challenging book but it is also a worthwhile read.
Date published: 2000-07-30

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Chapter IIt 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?""Bingley.""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 any thing 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 new comers. 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 which ever he chuses 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 develope. 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.

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INTRODUCTIONIt is now almost exactly two centuries since the first two of Jane Austen's six completed novels—Sense and Sensibility andPride 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.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 JANE AUSTENJane 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 Sensibilityand 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, preparingNorthanger 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 andPersuasion 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.Related TitlesNorthanger AbbeyEdited with an Introduction by Marilyn ButlerThis 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.0-14-043413-5Mansfield ParkEdited with an Introduction by Tony TannerMore 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.0-14-043016-4EmmaEdited with an Introduction by Ronald BlytheMany 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.0-14-043010-5PersuasionEdited with an Introduction by D.W. HardingAnne 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.0-14-043005-9Lady Susan/The Watsons/SanditonEdited with an Introduction by Margaret DrabbleThese 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.0-14-043102-0Also available from Penguin Classics:The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte BrontëJane Austen and Charlotte BrontëEdited by Frances BeerThis collection provides the opportunity to discover the first examples of Austen's neoclassical elegance and Brontë's mastery of the romantic spirit.0-14-043267-1Available on audiocassette from Penguin Audiobooks:Emma 0-14-086106-8Persuasion 0-14-086058-4Pride and Prejudice 0-14-086060-6Sense and Sensibility 0-14-086245-5Boxed Set: Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Pride and Prejudice 0-14-771107-XPenguin 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. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSCharlotte Brontë did not appreciate Pride and Prejudice. She felt that Jane Austen didn't write about her characters' hearts. Do you think Brontë's criticism is accurate? Is Austen's treatment of her characters' feelings superficial? Do they feel and/or express deep emotion? An earlier version of Pride and Prejudice was entitled First Impressions. What role do first impressions play in the story? In which cases do first impressions turn out to be inaccurate, in which cases correct? After Jane becomes engaged to Bingley, she says she wishes Elizabeth could be as happy as she is. Elizabeth replies, "If you were to give me forty such men, I never could be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness." Do you think Elizabeth's statement is true? Is it better to be good, to think the best of people, and be happy? Or is it better to see the world accurately, and feel less happiness? Mr. Bennet's honesty and wry humor make him one of the most appealing characters in the book. Yet, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that he has failed as a father. In what ways does Mr. Bennet let his children down? How does his action, or inaction, affect the behavior of his daughters? His wife? The course of the story? Charlotte doesn't marry Mr. Collins for love. Why does she marry him? Are her reasons valid? Are they fair to Mr. Collins? Do you think marrying for similar reasons is appropriate today? Both Elizabeth and Darcy undergo transformations over the course of the book. How does each change and how is the transformation brought about? Could Elizabeth's transformation have happened without Darcy's? Or vice versa? Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh are famously comic characters. What makes them so funny? How does Elizabeth's perception of them affect your trust in Elizabeth's views of other people in the book, particularly of Wickham and Darcy? For most of the book, pride prevents Darcy from having what he most desires. Why is he so proud? How is his pride displayed? Is Elizabeth proud? Which characters are not proud? Are they better off? Editor Tony Tanner points out in the Notes to the Penguin Classics edition that Austen did not mention topical events nor use precise descriptions of actual places in Pride and Prejudice, so that the larger historical events of the time did not detract attention from the private drama of her characters. "This perhaps contributes to the element of timelessness in the novel," he concludes, "even though it unmistakably reflects a certain kind of society at a certain historical moment." In what ways are the themes and concerns of Pride and Prejudice timeless? In what ways are they particular to the times in which Austen wrote the book?