Pride and Prejudice (Hardbound)
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In the delightful social comedy of Pride and Prejudice (1813) Jane Austen delicately handles the problem of love and money in marriage where, in spite of many hurdles, eventually love triumphs over 'pride' and 'prejudice'.
With a mild satiric tone Austen unfolds the growing romance between the Bennet daughters and the eligible young bachelors, but keeps the reader guessing, as much as the girls' mother and the neighbourhood, about the prospects of the tentative relationships. Elizabeth and Jane are the most delightful and the sweetest of the five Bennet sisters, but Jane's lover Mr Bingley has snobbish sisters and friends while Elizabeth's suitor Mr Darcy himself is proud of his lineage. How are the problems to be solved? Or, how does pride get humbled and prejudice dissolved?
Every page is enjoyable for the mellowed humour, and fine narrative touches.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the daughter of a well-off, cultivated Hampshire clergyman, the Rev. George Austen. She was the sixth in a family of five sons and two daughters. Her main education was from her father. As a child and young woman she read widely, including among novelists, Fielding, Sterne, Richardson, and F. Burney; and among poets, Sir W. Scott, Cowper, and her particular favourite, Crabbe. She began her literary career by writing parodies and sketches for the amusement of her family. Some of these were later worked up into the major novels of her maturity. Her life is notable for its lack of events; although she had several suitors, she did not marry. In 1801 the family moved to Bath, in 1806, after Mr. Austen’s death, to Southampton, and 1809 to Chawton, again in Hampshire, where she lived till her death in 1817.
Jane Austen wrote of the provincial life she had seen (she never visited London) and there are no peasants and few noblemen among her characters. But her sense of comedy was aroused by the absurdities of the sentimental and gothic novels that she encountered, and her sharp mind enabled her to write ironically amusing sketches of character and situation; she minutely dissected snobbery, bourgeois morality and hypocrisy in an understated manner that comes as a relief from the excesses of many of her contemporaries.
Though her life was uneventful, placid, and circumscribed, Jane Austen was highly sensitive to what went on around her. Her observations on the manners of her time and of her class are reflected in her novels: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816).
On July 18, 1817, at Winchester, Hampshire, the author died, as quietly and serenely as she had lived.
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