Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. (NLA)
Set in England in the late 18th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's five unmarried daughters after two gentlemen have moved into their neighbourhood: the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley, and his status-conscious friend, the even more rich and eligible Mr. Darcy. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy is disdainful of local society and repeatedly clashes with the Bennets' lively second daughter, Elizabeth.
Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books". It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Likewise, it has paved the way for archetypes that abound in many contemporary literature of our time. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.
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About the Author
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
Education:Taught at home by her father
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 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.
Excerpted from "Pride and Prejudice"
Copyright © 2009 Jane Austen.
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrations.
About Longman Cultural Editions.
About this Edition.
Table of Dates.
Pride and Prejudice (1813).
Jane Austen's Letters.
“To Cassandra Austen,” 2 June 1799.
“To Cassandra Austen,” 20-21 November 1800.
“To Cassandra Austen,” 29 January 1813.
“To Cassandra Austen,” 4 February 1813.
“To Cassandra Austen,” 9 February 1813.
“To Frank Austen,” 3 July 1813.
“To Frank Austen,” 25 September 1813.
“To Anna Austen,” 9 September 1814.
“To James Stanier Clarke,” 11 December 1815.
“To J. Edward Austen,” 16 December 1816.
Money: From the 1790s to the Regency (1811-1820).
Marriage and the Marriage Market.
Debates in the House of Commons on The Clandestine Marriage Bill.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from Emile (1762, 1763).
Revd. James Fordyce, Sermons to Young Women (1766, 1795).
Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
Jane Austen, from Emma (1816).
Lord Byron, Don Juan Canto 14. XVIII (1823).
Female Character and Conduct.
Revd. James Fordyce, from Sermons to Young Women (1766, 1777).
Dr. John Gregory, A Father's Legacy to His Daughters (1774).
Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
Male Characters and Conduct.
Alexander Pope, from Epistle IV, To Richard Boyl, Earl of Burlington; Of the Uses of Riches (1731).
Samuel Johnson, Rambler (1750).
The Picturesque and Great Houses.
William Gilpin, from Observations, Relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, made in the year 1792, on Several Parts of England (1786) and Three Essays: On Picturesque Beauty, On Picturesque Travel, and on Sketching Landscape (1792).
John Byng, Rules for Admission to Strawberry Hill.
Reactions to Pride and Prejudice.
First Reviews and Readers.
British Critic XLI (1813).
Critical Review 4/3 (1813).
Anna Isabella Milbanke (1813).
Walter Scott, Quarterly Review (1815).
The Next Generation.
Henry Crabb Robinson.
Richard Whatley, Quarterly Review (1821).
Walter Scott, Journal, 1826-27.
Maria Jane Jewsbury, The Athenaeum.
Charlotte Bronte, letters.
What People are Saying About This
"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste."
"The wit of Jane Austen has for Parchner the perfection of her taste.
Reading Group Guide
1. Pride and Prejudice was originally titled First Impressions. Critic Brian Southam notes that this phrase comes from the language of the sentimental novels Austen often criticized, where it connoted the idea that one ought to trust one's immediate, intuitive response to things. It is widely believed that Austen derived the later title from the fifth book of Cecilia, a novel by Fanny Burney, where the phrase appears (according to Austen biographer Park Honan, however, the phrase dates earlier, to a 1647 book by Jeremy Taylor called Liberty of Prophesying, and also appears in Gibbon's 1776 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire). Anna Quindlen, in her Introduction to the Modern Library edition, indicates her preference for the second title ("Austen originally named the book First Impressions; thank God for second thoughts!"). Which do you think is the more appropriate title and why?
2. The famous opening line of Pride and Prejudice-"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife "-magnificently displays the irony that suffuses the novel at both local and structural levels. What is the purpose of irony in Pride and Prejudice!?
3. Austen was writing during a time when novels in the form of letters - called epistolary novels-were very popular. There are nearly two dozen letters quoted in whole or in part in Pride and Prejudice, and numerous other references to letters and letter - writing. How do you think letters function in the novel? How do the letters - a narrative element-interact with the dramatic element (manifested in the dialogue)?
4. A number of critics have maintained that Darcy is not a particularly well - developed or believable character, and that his transformation is a mere plot contrivance. Others have argued that this suggestion fails to take into account the fact that the reader in large part only sees Darcy through the prejudiced eyes of Elizabeth. Which side would you take in this debate, and why?
5. Pride and Prejudice has often been criticized for the fact that it appears unconcerned with the politics of Austen's day. For example, in a letter (written before World War 1) to Thomas Hardy, Frederic Harrison refers to Austen as a "heartless little cynic" who composed "satirettes against her neighbors whilst the Dynasts were tearing the world to pieces and consigning millions to their graves." Is this charge fair?
6. Charlotte Bronte wrote in an 1848 letter to G. H. Lewes: Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. What induced you to say that you would have rather written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels? I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate, daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully - fenced, highly - cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses. Do you agree with Bronte's claim that there is no poetry or passion in Pride and Prejudice, and her conclusion that "Miss Austen being ... without sentiment, without poetry, maybe is sensible, real (more real than true), but she cannot be great"?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I recently read Pride and Prejudice to relax, and I can honestly say that it is one of the best novels I have ever read. The characters of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are well developed and enthralling. Elizabeth is the classic stubborn and brazen heroine; a no nonsense kind of girl whose personality from their first meeting rubs Mr. Darcy the wrong way. Through several different personal struggles we see these characters grow as individuals, as well as closer to each other. It is a must read for all the hopeless romantics out there.
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of...' a copy of Pride and Prejudice. I had felt guilty that I had watched many film versions of the book before actually reading it. That being said, I grabbed a copy at Barnes and Noble and ran home to read. I'll admit that the language of Jane Austen's day can be a bit confusing at first, but after the first three chapters, I was transported to eighteenth century England, sipping tea, and watching Elizabeth bedazzle Fitzwilliam while dancing at the Netherfield ball. This is a definite must-read for any, true booklover. Bon appetit!
This is a scan of the 1894 George Allen edition. There are a lot of problems with the scanner software not being able to recognize letters, or maybe the document was just dirty, but you have to do a lot of guessing as to the words. A difficult read and not for those who have not read Pride and Prejudice before this.
I saw the movie before I read the book. Actually, it was the movie that made me want to read the book. I'm a bit of a bookworm, and I started reading this at the end of my sophomore year (high school). I finished reading it during the summer, and I loved it. Sure, it was slow during some parts, but other than that, it was fantastic. Jane Austen was a fantastic author. I'm reading Sense and Sensibility next.
It is simply the greatest book ever. What else can I say?
Pride & Prejudice was an unexpected jewel. The novel is so much more than you would expect.I loved this book the first time I read it, and then watched the mini series with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I reread the book and I am sure that I will read it many times again. Austin is brilliant!
I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and I thought it was a great book. It was brilliantly and beautifully written. Some of the characters were based upon people that Jane Austen¿s own life. The setting is in the 18th century and old English style writing and is historical fiction. Pride and Prejudice is a story about a poor family with five girls who are still not yet married. Mrs. Bennet very much wants her daughters to get married. When two handsome rich men go to their town there are balls and love is everywhere. Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest girl and she is a happy and proud girl who loves to read books. Jane Bennet is the eldest of the girls and is shy and has a big heart. Mr. Darcy is a handsome rich man and is very stubborn and disagreeable. Mr. Bingley is Mr. Darcy¿s best friend and he is a complete opposite of him. He is sweet and respectful man and has a bid heart. This book is for young adults and adults. I recommend this book to you if you liked The Note Book. Pride and Prejudice was published in 1894, and has 371 pages. Do not just rush through this book; take your time to really think about the characters and the themes of love class and marriage. If you are looking for a great love story Pride and Prejudice is a great book to read.
I love this book, but the formatting on this edition is terrible - missing entire pages, skips paragraphs and is missing words. Would not recommend
I've been a bookworm since 5th grade (I am now 40) and this is the best book of all time! Especially if you like romance. Jane Austen is probably the most gifted writer of all time. Everyone should read this classic love story. It deals with so many issues like first impressions, lust vs. real love, integrity, sacrifice, I could go on and on. The story centers around Elizabeth, a beautiful, witty, and very opinionated young lady, and Mr. Darcy, a handsome, rich, reserved and very prideful man. You will fall in love with these characters from the beginning! But will they fall in love with each other? Jane Austen is a master story teller and her writing style is truly elegant and beautiful. A must read for everyone!
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, is a very sophisticated book. It is a great love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It is very well written and definitely a classic. It was personally hard for me to get into, as it really never grabbed my attention with an intricate plot. Well, not one that I could understand. Mrs. Bennett is a HILLARIOUS character. Very bossy and always opinionated. While her husband is the complete opposite. Jane Bennett, Elizabeth's sister, is a beautiful young woman, and most commonly chosen as the favorite through out the book. Her to-become husband Mr. Bingly is also a very sweet man. Kitty and Lydia, two more sisters, could be the most annoying characters out of any book. Ever. But I do see where they could be considered necessary for the book. It's a good book to read if you enjoy more old time, literature writing styles.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time. I've read it about five times and i've never lost interest. It's a great, unique love story. And the way Jane Austen wrote it makes it even more intriguing. The way she starts off Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship was so different from other novels of the time period, it makes it stand out from other 18th century novels. Read it.
Dont let all those rude coments about how they think that the book is horrible and is only for adults i am 11 seen the movie about a 100 times and now i am reading the book!
This was an amazing book!! It is one of my favorites. It is about a girl named Elizabeth Bennet who takes PRIDE in her good judgments. She judges a rich, handsome, rude, new-to-town guy named Mr.(Fitzwilliam) Darcy. (Mr. Darcy has alot of PRIDE which is what I believe to be the main reason for the pride part of the title.) Through Elizabeth's PREJUDICE, she misjudges Darcy and Darcy writes all of these truths in a letter. She reads it and finds out about everything she thought. Darcy changes his attitude by becoming kind and caring. He ends up saving Elizabeth's family from disgrase and Elizabeth falls in love with Darcy. (Darcy had loved Elizabeth for at least months now and has already proposed to her once, she declined.) Darcy proposes a secound time and Elizabeth accepts. This was a really great book and it was alot better than i thought it would be. My only suggestions is to either keep notes of the characters or use an online character chart and to keep some form of a dictionary around because there are alot of uncommon words. Hope this was usefull!!!!!!!
If a person dies without reading this book...they have missed one of the greatest pleasures that the world could give them! This book is undoubtedly my most favorite book and I would recommend it to the entire world! The spirited Lizzy, smoldering Mr. Darcy along with all the side characters are likely to keep you entertained for days together even after you have finished!
This book is a novel detailing the life and trials of a young girl and family. She is trying to find love and happiness in a world where people marry for money and status. This woman endures many trials and errors dealing with the dark sides of people and also the surprising good that is hard to find in some individuals. The book is heartwarming and carefully written, a difficult read for some, but well worth it.
This review is not about the story, but the quality of the ebook. It's just short of unreadable! Random symbols....bits and pieces of letters spaced and strewn. I'll be looking for a better copy.... disapointing.
This particular version jumped chapters in the middle of sentences, very confusing and incomplete
Format is impossible to read. Page 3 skips to the beginning of Chapter 10 and then to Chapter 6 within the next 2 or 3 pages. Disappointed, looked forward to this...
There aren't words to express how ardently I love this novel. My first reading of this novel came when I was in high school. Upon that first reading it instantly became my favorite novel and still is today. This novel has lead me to develop a love for so many other novels, through Pride and Prejudice fan fiction sequels. The story of Lizzie and Darcy is one for the ages. Their story is timeless because they're relatable. When I first read Pride and Prejudice I instantly wanted to find my own Mr. Darcy. Pride and Prejudice is the story of how Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy come to be. Their story is plagued with conflict, misunderstanding, and yes you guessed it pride and prejudice. Through multiple circumstances they come to realize their love for each other. After a disastrous first proposal the two are thrust apart and back to their own separate lives. They unintentionally run into each other a few months later and somehow something has changed between them. No more pride, no more prejudice, no more conflict. They've been changed. From there you have to read the rest of the novel. It's inlaid with many other characters who you laugh with/at and some that your heart will break with. I heartily encourage everyone to read this novel at least once in their life. You'll be so thankful you did.
Pride and Prejudice is truly a book everyone should read at least once in their life. Jane Austens classic tale is and will be emulated throughout movies and other novels for a very long time. It would be easier for people to understand these copycats if they had read the original. It is a great book that proves if you stay true to yourself instead of worring about what others think of you you will be just fine.
I had recently watched the pride and predijce mini series with my family and fell in love with the characters and story. I bought this book as soon as I could. At first I was a bit nervous because I am only a freshman in hs and was afraid I would not understand what was going on. It was hard in the beginning but after the first chapter I was transported.to their time period.he pace is very slow and is mostly conversations, which I don't mind at all. I just have trouble reading it for long periods of time. I usually do not read romance novels so I was surprised by how much I loved this book! The chatacters are amazing and so real. I know each time I read it I will love it more and more.
It has WAY to many screw-ups in this book to make any sense. Do yourself the favor and DO NOT GET THE FREE VERSION!!!!
I just finished this book today, and i must say it was extrodinary! Fantastic! I loved it every time i read. I became emersed into the story. When i had finished, id felt content, but id also felt as if id lost a good friend. I just fell in love with the [likeable] characters, and i swooned over the love stories of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet. There really isnt much to dislike, though it is a bit hard to understand if you arent familiar with the word choice of the 18th-century. Jane Austen is a brilliant writer with a keen sense of love! I must read her other books!
This book is great. Pride and predjudice is about Elizabeth Bennet, a girl in 18th century England (or 19th), who finds the person she loves in a seemingly unlikely man. I enjoyied the wide veriety of characters who each played their roles in getting the story moving forward at a reasonable pace. Before you read Pride and Predjudice be aware that it is written to the time period it takes place in and if you do not understand the language or the story line you will most likely hate it. I would recomend this book to anyone who is interested in the way of life in late 18th century England or has heard of it and is on the fence about reading it. It is a classic to add to any library.
Read the part about the size of font in thee description! Mine would not let me shrink and that bothered my eyes i couldnt take the book serious even though it is such a wondrful peice of literary art. Bought a different copy... reccomend the book just not this version... unless u dont mind a big font size.