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Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002

3,266 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0141439518 ISBN-10: 0141439513

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Next to the exhortation at the beginning of Moby-Dick, "Call me Ishmael," the first sentence of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice must be among the most quoted in literature. And certainly what Melville did for whaling Austen does for marriage--tracing the intricacies (not to mention the economics) of 19th-century British mating rituals with a sure hand and an unblinking eye. As usual, Austen trains her sights on a country village and a few families--in this case, the Bennets, the Philips, and the Lucases. Into their midst comes Mr. Bingley, a single man of good fortune, and his friend, Mr. Darcy, who is even richer. Mrs. Bennet, who married above her station, sees their arrival as an opportunity to marry off at least one of her five daughters. Bingley is complaisant and easily charmed by the eldest Bennet girl, Jane; Darcy, however, is harder to please. Put off by Mrs. Bennet's vulgarity and the untoward behavior of the three younger daughters, he is unable to see the true worth of the older girls, Jane and Elizabeth. His excessive pride offends Lizzy, who is more than willing to believe the worst that other people have to say of him; when George Wickham, a soldier stationed in the village, does indeed have a discreditable tale to tell, his words fall on fertile ground.

Having set up the central misunderstanding of the novel, Austen then brings in her cast of fascinating secondary characters: Mr. Collins, the sycophantic clergyman who aspires to Lizzy's hand but settles for her best friend, Charlotte, instead; Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy's insufferably snobbish aunt; and the Gardiners, Jane and Elizabeth's low-born but noble-hearted aunt and uncle. Some of Austen's best comedy comes from mixing and matching these representatives of different classes and economic strata, demonstrating the hypocrisy at the heart of so many social interactions. And though the novel is rife with romantic misunderstandings, rejected proposals, disastrous elopements, and a requisite happy ending for those who deserve one, Austen never gets so carried away with the romance that she loses sight of the hard economic realities of 19th-century matrimonial maneuvering. Good marriages for penniless girls such as the Bennets are hard to come by, and even Lizzy, who comes to sincerely value Mr. Darcy, remarks when asked when she first began to love him: "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." She may be joking, but there's more than a little truth to her sentiment, as well. Jane Austen considered Elizabeth Bennet "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print". Readers of Pride and Prejudice would be hard-pressed to disagree. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Austen is the hot property of the entertainment world with new feature film versions of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility on the silver screen and Pride and Prejudice hitting the TV airwaves on PBS. Such high visibility will inevitably draw renewed interest in the original source materials. These new Modern Library editions offer quality hardcovers at affordable prices.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Though the domain of Jane Austen's novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her family's entertainment. As a clergyman's daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called "The First Impressions" an early version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1801, on her father's retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death on July 18, 1817. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Austen's identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jane Austen is one of the great masters of the English language, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is her great masterpiece, a sharp and witty comedy of manners played out in early 19th Century English society, a world in which men held virtually all the power and women were required to negotiate mine-fields of social status, respectability, wealth, love, and sex in order to marry both to their own liking and to the advantage of their family. And such is particularly the case of the Bennetts, a family of daughters whose father's estate is entailed to a distant relative, for upon Mr. Bennett's death they will lose home, land, income, everything. But are the Bennett daughters up to playing a winning hand in this high-stakes matrimonial game without forfeiting their own personal integrity?

This battle of the sexes is largely seen through the eyes of second daughter Elizabeth, who possesses a razor-sharp wit and rich sense of humor--and who finds herself hindered by her own addlepated mother, her sister Jane's hopeless love for the wealthy Mr. Bingley, and her sister Lydia's penchant for scandal... not to mention the high-born, formidable, and outrageously proud Mr. Darcy, who seems determined to trump her every card. But the game of love proves more surprising than either Elizabeth or Mr. Darcy can imagine, and sometimes a seemingly weak hand proves a winning one when all cards are on the table.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is simply one of the funniest novels ever written, peopled with memorable characters brought vividly to life as they both succeed and fail at the game of life according to the manners of their era. It is a novel to which I return again and again, enjoying Austen's brillant talent. I have little respect for people who describe it as dull, slow, out of date, for as long as men and women live and fall in love it will never be out of style, always be meaningful, and always be funny. A masterpiece of wit and style; a timeless novel for the ages.
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133 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Shelby Miller on September 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Emma Woodhouse is priviledged. Very priviledged. She comes from the richest, most important family in her small town. Everyone looks up to her, including her indulgent governess and even more indulgent papa. The theme of her life, from the time she was small, has always been "Emma knows best". Emma takes this to heart when she takes an interest in young Harriet Smith, the beautiful, empty-headed daughter of, well, someone. The book follows Emma's misadventures as she tries to marry Harriet off to the local parson and meddles in the lives of her friends and neighbors, eventually learning that perhaps she doesn't always know best.

This is, I think, one of Jane Austen's less popular works, perhaps because there isn't a great deal of romance in it. It is, as I titled the review, more of a character study, as well as a study of society at that time. On first reading, I didn't care for the book or for Emma's self-centered goodness. After reading it again, I grew to enjoy the book as much if not more than her more popular works, like Pride and Prejudice. The wit is sharp as usual (and maybe slightly more ascerbic), and more thought seems to have been put into the secondary characters. Definitely worth a read.
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111 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Ann VINE VOICE on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just when I thought I had more editions of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE than I should ever own up to, I will freely admit to just one more. After all, what Janeite could resist this tempting package? An unabridged first edition text; Annotations by an Austen scholar; Color illustrations; Over-sized coffee table format; Extensive introduction; And, supplemental material - all pulled together in a beautifully designed interior and stunning cover. *swoon* Where are my aromatic vinegars?

This new annotated edition appeals to modern readers on many levels beyond being a pretty package of a beloved classic. Austen is renowned for her witty dialogue and finely drawn characters, but not for her elaborate physical descriptions or historical context. When PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was originally published in 1813, this brevity was accessible to her contemporary readers who assumed the inferences, but after close to two hundred years words have changed their meaning, insinuations and subtle asides have become fuzzy, and cultural differences from Regency to twenty-first century are worlds apart. Anyone can read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and follow the narrative, but it is so much more enjoyable if you can read it on an expanded level understanding it in social, cultural and historical context. Editor Patricia Meyer Spacks has not only added extensive notes on plot, characters, events, history, culture and critical analysis from a vast array of Austen and literary scholars, but added her own personal insights and observations from years of reading Austen and her experience as a college professor. From shoe roses to Fordyces Sermons to military floggings to the 19th-century meaning of condescension, readers will be informed and enlightened on every aspect related to the novel, the author and her times.
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524 of 574 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi on July 8, 2010
One of the versions listed is published by "General Books LLC." Another reader complained about the tiny and almost unreadable font - you probably bought the version published by General Books LLC - and here's the reason.

General Books LLC is an imprint of VDM Publishing, (google them and take a look at the Wikipedia article on them) and they specialise in publishing books that are free of copyright without doing any editing or quality control. A few quotes from the publishers website will explain more:

"We created your book using OCR software that includes an automated spell check. Our OCR software is 99 percent accurate if the book is in good condition. However, with up to 3,500 characters per page, even one percent can be an annoying number of typos....

After we re-typeset and designed your book, the page numbers change so the old index and table of contents no longer work. Therefore, we usually remove them. Since many of our books only sell a couple of copies, manually creating a new index and table of contents could add more than a hundred dollars to the cover price....

Our OCR software can't distinguish between an illustration and a smudge or library stamp so it ignores everything except type. We would really like to manually scan and add the illustrations. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies....

We created your book using a robot who turned and photographed each page. Our robot is 99 percent accurate. But sometimes two pages stick together. And sometimes a page may even be missing from our copy of the book. We would really like to manually scan each page and buy multiple copies of each original. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies.....
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