Review of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

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

First published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is one of the most famous novels ever and is the favourite of many readers. It’s a cultural phenomenon. I’m very fond of the 1995 TV adaptation and in my mind I can’t separate it from the book, which I’ve now read three times.

What to say about this book? It’s quite an improvement upon Austen’s previous published novel, Sense and Sensibility. The writing style is more engaging and the beginning takes us straight into the story, rather than describing inheritances, incomes and estates. The word that sprang to mind while reading was ‘sparkling.’ The wit, irony, drama and dialogues are perfectly expressed. Wisdom and humour on every page. The characters are all differentiated and each are, in their own way, lovable. Even the awful ones such as Mr Collins, Mrs Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lizzy Bennet is a character you always root for. She’s lively, intelligent and can be outspoken but always tries to be polite and sensible. She denies her feelings for the seemingly snobbish Mr Darcy. The problems arise from no one speaking plainly to each other about their issues and how they really feel – social etiquette forbids this kind of intimacy.

I think the novel is often considered wonderfully romantic but that’s really the effect of TV period dramas. Courtship was conducted in a rational way and there are certainly no kisses described. Basically, being a single middle class woman was a problem back then. You didn’t usually inherit property. If you wanted to marry for love rather than wealth, you’d risk waiting until you were past your sell-by date. If you were already rich, you’d be courted by men in debt who were marrying you for money. And if you were in love but the man wasn’t suitable, you could run away together but damage your family’s reputation and have no allowance. This is the theme of every Jane Austen book.

I’m not sure if this is my favourite Austen – I need to re-read Emma before I can decide – but it’s a classic which deserves to be read and re-read.

The Oxford World’s Classics edition was published in 2019, edited by James Kinsley with a new introduction and additional notes by Christina Lupton. I discuss the 2005 film adaptation in this post.

10 thoughts on “Review of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen”

    1. Very special book, I’m sure Jane Austen would be astounded to know how well-loved it is, more than two centuries later!

  1. I am fond of the 1995 TV adaptation as well and remembers it better that the novel. P&P definitely beats Emma in my opinion! My favourite Austen novels are probably Persuasion, P&P, S&S.

    1. I think we are all fond of that TV adaptation ๐Ÿ˜€ Hmm, well I studied Emma on a literature course and that helped me to further appreciate the book. Persuasion is my least favourite! I’m not saying I dislike it, just that compared to the others, it doesn’t appeal to me so much.

    1. Yay! I think you are in the majority of Austen fans there ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not sure, I will re-read Emma at some point and then decide.

  2. Can you imagine that women had a ‘sell-by’ date?? Gosh…Coz when I got married, I was way past my ‘sell-by’ date, so much so that my mom began to worry if I’d ever get married! LOL This is embarrassing to admit, but I have to read any of Austen’s work ๐Ÿ™ I should correct this..just not sure when… :S

    1. Ha ha, things have changed a lot (in some cultures anyway), how shocked the people in Austen’s time would be if they knew that a lot of people don’t even get married at all now. Don’t be embarrassed, I don’t assume that everyone has tried Jane Austen’s books and they don’t appeal to everyone either. Whether you like them is going to depend on how comfortable you are with the older writing style – if you’re not used to reading books from the 19th century then it might seem quite challenging. I guess if you’re going to try any, then P & P would be the one.

  3. I’m so glad you like this one, it’s my favourite, and one that I enjoy each time I read it. I think to use the word sparkling is a perfect description – it absolutely is that! I would pick P&P over Emma but I do enjoy Emma very much as well ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. I’m happy that I featured your favourite Austen ๐Ÿ™‚ I am sure to re-read again in a few years.

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