Synopses & Reviews
Few have failed to be charmed by the witty and independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet. Her early determination to dislike Mr. Darcy is a prejudice only matched by the folly of his arrogant pride. Their first impressions give way to true feelings in a comedy profoundly concerned with happiness and how it might be achieved.
Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--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.
Of all Jane Austen's books, Pride and Prejudice has earned a special place in the hearts of the reading public as her best-loved and most intimately known novel. From its famous opening sentence the story of the Bennet family and of the novel's two protagonists, Elizabeth and Darcy, told with a wit that its author feared might prove 'rather too light and bright, and sparkling', delights its most familiar readers as thoroughly as it does those who encounter it for the first time. Jane Austen's artistry is apparent, too, in the delineation of the minor characters: the ill-matched Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Charles Bingley and his sisters, and above all the fatuous Mr. Collins, whose proposal to Elizabeth Bennet is one of the finest comic passages in English literature. And while she entertains us, Jane Austen teaches us the wisdom of balance, the folly of 'pride' and 'prejudice'.
About the Author
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 Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817. As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility
(1811), Pride and Prejudice
(1813), Mansfield Park
(1814) and Emma
(1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey
, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion
was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan
, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons
. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon
, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
Vivien Jones is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Leeds.
Tony Tanner was a Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge and a professor of English and American literature at the University of Cambridge. He died in December 1998.