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Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Posted: 27th March 2015
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Celebrating the bicentenary of its publication in 1813 this year, Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s best-known and most popular novel. It is, first and foremost, the love story of Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters of a small Hertfordshire landowner and his middle-class wife, and Mr Darcy, a matrimonial catch with a grand estate in Derbyshire and a staggering annual income of ten thousand pounds.

Belonging to very different social circles in the snobbish hierarchy of the Georgian upper class, they only meet because Darcy’s slightly less wealthy friend Charles Bingley is renting a house in the neighbourhood and has brought him along to one of the local assemblies, where he promptly shows himself to be too proud to dance with any of the Hertfordshire girls – including the pretty and vivacious Lizzy who, her own pride hurt, takes an immediate dislike to the rude and haughty stranger.

From here develops a battle of wits between Lizzy and Darcy, who is gradually forced to acknowledge that this provincial girl is his equal despite the differences in their wealth and social position.

Strongly influenced by Jane Austen’s love of the theatre, Pride and Prejudice features a cast of caricatures whose character traits are strongly linked to their position in Georgian society, but are still immediately recognisable to the modern reader.

The fast-paced and witty dialogues between them, subtly set down by an author with a keen eye for the ridiculous in the social norms of her day, make this one of Jane Austen’s funniest novels.

 

 


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