Books and Movies Reviews

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen was born in Steventon, England, in 1775, where she lived for thefirst twenty-five years of her life. Her father, George Austen, was the rector of the local parish and taught her mostly at home. She began to write as a teenager and completed the original manuscript of Pride and Prejudice, titled First Impressions, between 1796 and 1797. A publisher rejected the manuscript, and it was not until 1809 that Austen began the revisions that would bring it to its final form. Pride and Prejudice was published in January 1813, two years after Sense and Sensibility, herfirst novel, and it achieved a popularity that has remained to this day.(Butler, 96) During Austen’s life, only her immediate family knew of her authorship of these novels. At one point, she wrote behind a door that creaked when visitors approached; this warning permitted her to hide manuscripts before anyone could enter the room. Though publishing anonymously prevented her from gaining reputation as a writer, it also allowed her to maintain her privacy at a time when English society associated a female’s entrance into the public with a blameworthy loss of femininity. Additionally, Austen may have wanted to remain anonymous because of the more general atmosphere of repression spread through her era. As the Napoleonic Wars threatened the safety of monarchies throughout Europe, government censorship of literature grew.(Honan, 28)
Pride and Prejudice is set primarily in the town of Hertfordshire, about 50 miles outside of London. The novel opens at with a conversation at Longbourn, the Bennet’s estate, about the arrival of Mr. Bingley, “a single man of large fortune,” to Netherfield Park, a nearby estate. Mrs. Bennet, whose obsession is to find husbands for her daughters, sees Mr. Bingley as a potential suitor. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five children: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydi…

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