During 1796-7 young Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) wrote First Impressions. Her early effort was rejected, but a revised and renamed version was published as Pride and Prejudice in 1813. The title of this comedy of manners highlights personality traits present in both protagonists: impetuous Elizabeth Bennet and aloof Mr Darcy. Issues of class, money and marriage are central in Austen’s novels: contemporary women had limited choices in life and generally needed to make practical, decorous decisions about their futures. The author’s style is deliciously ironic, and her skilful use of free indirect speech subtly draws the reader into sharing the characters’ perspectives.