Pride and Prejudice
Publication Date: February 1, 2020
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"'For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?'"
Set in the English countryside at the turn of the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice opens upon the excitement of the Bennet family of Longbourn Estate when a rich, eligible, and unsuspecting gentlemen has taken residence at nearby Netherfield. In the interest of financial security, little can deter Mrs. Bennet from doing all she can to encourage a marriage between amiable Mr. Bingley and one her five daughters— even if her efforts are at times counter-productive. Notwithstanding the disadvantages, if not the absurdities of the Bennet family— Charles Bingley quickly falls for kindly Jane Bennet. But meanwhile, Elizabeth Bennet has been offended by Bingley's aloof friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, who has scarcely said of her, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me," when he begins to be drawn to that lively nature so unlike his own, and that playful mind never shying away from a match of wits with his own. But Elizabeth makes sport of him out of disapproval of his pride... though the faults are not all his own.
A novel brilliant and beautiful, from an authoress who has been held in high esteem by many of the great writers and intellectuals of the past two centuries, Pride and Prejudice is a must-read for all.
Praise for Jane Austen
“...Read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me.” —Sir Walter Scott, in his journal, 1826
“...The influence of her genius is extensively recognized in the American Republic, even by the highest judicial authorities. The late Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, of the Supreme Court of the United States, and his associate Mr. Justice Story, highly estimated and admired Miss Austen, and to them we owe our introduction to her society....” —The Quincy family of Boston, Massachusetts, in a letter to Admiral Sir Francis Austen, 1852
“When I take up one of Jane Austen's books, such as Pride and Prejudice, I feel like a barkeeper entering the kingdom of heaven. I know what his sensations would be and his private comments. He would not find the place to his taste, and he would probably say so.” —Mark Twain as quoted by A. B. Paine, 1909
“…The strength and subtlety of woman had certainly sunk deep into English letters when George Eliot began to write.
Her originals and even her contemporaries had shown the feminine power in fiction as well or better than she. Charlotte Brontë, understood along her own instincts, was as great; Jane Austen was greater. The latter comes into our present consideration only as that most exasperating thing, an ideal unachieved. It is like leaving an unconquered fortress in the rear. No woman later has captured the complete common sense of Jane Austen. She could keep her head, while all the after women went looking for their brains. She could describe a man coolly; which neither George Eliot nor Charlotte Bronte could do. She knew what she knew, like a sound dogmatist: she did not know what she did not know— like a sound agnostic. But she belongs to a vanished world before the great progressive age of which I write...
Jane Austen was born before those bonds which (we are told) protected women from truth, were burst by the Brontës or elaborately untied by George Eliot. Yet the fact remains that Jane Austen knew more about men than either of them.... When Darcy, in finally confessing his faults, says 'I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice though not in theory,' he gets nearer to a complete confession of the intelligent male than ever was even hinted by the Byronic lapses of the Brontës’ heroes or the elaborate exculpations of George Eliot's. Jane Austen, of course, covered an infinitely smaller field than any of her later rivals; but I have always believed in the victory of small nationalities." —G.K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature, 1913
"...Jane lies in Winchester, blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made.
And while the stones of Winchester—or Milsom Street—remain,
Glory, Love, and Honour unto England's Jane!"
—Rudyard Kipling, Jane's Marriage, 1924
"... Why do the characters in Jane Austen give us a slightly new pleasure each time they come in, as opposed to the merely repetitive pleasure that is caused by a character in Dickens?... The answer to this question can be put in several ways; that, unlike Dickens, she was a real artist, that she never stooped to caricature, etc. But the best reply is that her characters, though smaller than his, are more highly organized. They function all round, and even if her plot made greater demands on them than it does they would still be adequate.... All the Jane Austen characters are ready for an extended life which the scheme of her books seldom requires them to lead, and that is why they lead their actual lives so satisfactorily.... How Jane Austen can write! " —E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel, 1927
"... It is perhaps worth emphasizing what may be called the hardness— at least the firmness— of Jane Austen's thought exhibited in all these undeceptions. The great abstract nouns of the classical English Moralists are unblushingly and uncompromisingly used; good sense, courage, contentment, fortitude, 'some duty neglected, some failing indulged', impropriety, indelicacy, generous candor, blamable trust, just humiliation, vanity, folly, ignorance, reason. These are the concepts by which Jane Austen grasps the world.... All is hard, clear, definable; by some modern standards, even naively so. The hardness is, of course, for oneself, not for one's neighbors.... Contrasted with the world of modern fiction, Jane Austen's is at once less soft and less cruel.... It remains to defend what I have been saying against a possible charge. Have I been treating the novels as though I had forgotten that they are, after all, comedies? I trust not. The hard core of morality and even of religion seems to me to be just what makes good comedy possible. 'Principles' or 'seriousness' are essential to Jane Austen's art. Where there is no norm, nothing can be ridiculous, except for a brief moment of unbalanced provincialism in which we may laugh at the merely unfamiliar. Unless there is something about which the author is never ironical, there can be no true irony in the work. 'Total irony'— irony about everything— frustrates itself and becomes insipid.... If charity is the poetry of conduct and honor the rhetoric of conduct, then Jane Austen's 'principles' might be described as the grammar of conduct. Now grammar is something that anyone can learn; it is also something that everyone must learn.... She is described by someone in Kipling's worst story as the mother of Henry James. I feel much more sure that she is the daughter of Dr. Johnson: she inherits his common sense, his morality, even much of his style...." —C.S. Lewis, A Note On Jane Austen, 1954
I own all of Jane Austen's novels and often come back to reread them. Austen is brilliant! I believe her one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Everyone should read her— men, let not the film adaptations scare you away, her novels were written for your enjoyment as well as that of the other sex.