Rating: 4.5 /5
Author: Jane Austen
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing
Publishing Date: First edition (2013)
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Cost: Rs. 79 (Paperback), Rs.163 (Hardcover)
Pride and Prejudice follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the female protagonist of the book who learns about the consequences of her judgments and understands the difference between superficiality and actual goodness. The plot majorly revolves around the Bennet family.
Mr. Bennet of Longbourn estate has five daughters, but his property is entailed and can only be passed to a male heir. His wife also lacks an inheritance, so his family will be destitute upon his death. Thus, it is imperative that at least one of the girls marry well to support the others, which is a motivation that drives the plot. The novel revolves around the importance of marrying for love, not for money or social prestige, despite the communal pressure to make a wealthy match.
Set in the early 19th century Regency era in rural England, the plot revolves around a family setting which represents traditional England at that time. It unfolds the various societal issues through the various characters. The character of ‘Elizabeth Bennet’ who is sharp, unconventional, free in her ideas and spirit, rational and argumentative stands in stark contrast to her elder sister ‘Jane Bennet’ who is soft, mellow, diplomatic and not very direct in her approach.
Being a romantic novel, a very interesting character is ‘Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’ who is the male counterpart of Elizabeth Bennet and provides the story with the right amount of seasoning. The characterisation is so strong that the chemistry between these two characters do evaporate through the book to its readers.
Pride and Prejudice uses the narrative technique of free indirect speech. It is almost as- if the characters of the book were alive, they would have spoken or thought the same way as they converse in the book.
This book also delves deep into themes like marriage, wealth, class, self-worth and Feminism. What is more noteworthy is Austen doesn’t preach you these ideologies but lays forward both - the good and the bad through the characters, and thereby it doesn’t seem to burden its readers.
Milestones of the book:
• In 2003 the BBC conducted a poll for the "UK's Best-Loved Book" in which Pride and Prejudice came second, behind The Lord of the Rings.
• In a 2008 survey of more than 15,000 Australian readers, Pride and Prejudice came first in a list of the 101 best books ever written.
• The 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice on 28 January 2013 was celebrated around the globe by media networks such as the Huffington Post, The New York Times, and The Daily Telegraph, among others.
• Pride and Prejudice is one of Five Books most recommended books with philosophers, literary scholars, authors and journalists citing it as an influential text.
Pride and Prejudice has engendered numerous adaptations including the notable film versions include that of 1940, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier (based in part on Helen Jerome's 1936 stage adaptation) and that of 2005, starring Keira Knightley (an Oscar-nominated performance) and Matthew Macfadyen.
Notable television versions include two by the BBC: a 1980 version starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul and the popular 1995 version, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
About the Author:
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.
She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era’s novel of manners, but they also became timeless classics that remained critical and popular successes two centuries after her death.