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Pride and Prejudice Hardcover – August 21, 2011
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"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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Hundreds of romance novels penned since Pride and Prejudice feature a sparring couple who fall in love despite a strong initial dislike of one another. However, I've never read one that used this trope as wonderfully as Jane Austen's masterwork.
I came to Pride and Prejudice relatively spoiler free, and although it did not engage my emotions like Sense and Sensibility did, and it started out slowly for me, I was soon enthralled by Austen's characters, their witty observations and the story of prejudiced Elizabeth Bennett and proud Mr. Darcy.
Austen had an unerring eye for human foibles, and her writing about them is so spot on I wanted to stand up and cheer.
"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"
"We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing."
"Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great lady's attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others."
"Marriage ... was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want."
I enjoy the occasional fluffy romance as much as anyone, but the real strength of Pride and Prejudice was Austen's refusal to sugarcoat. She laid bare the hypocrisies of her society and the obstacles it put in the path of individual happiness - especially the happiness of women.
Her clear-eyed realism made me believe wholeheartedly in Elizabeth and Darcy's romance across all barriers of class and understanding.
Kate Reading was a pleasant reader with the ability to distinguish characters with slight variations of pitch and tone and a knack for playing up the novel's most sardonic moments.
Wonderful story by the beloved Jane Austen.
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Also the paragraph was awkward in appearance
I really loved the story. Jane Austen was such a great writer.