Pride and Prejudice

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 skillful use of free indirect speech subtly draws the reader into sharing the characters’ perspectives.

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Courtship, love and marriage in Jane Austen's novels

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Professor John Mullan explores the romantic, social and economic considerations that precede marriage in the novels of Jane Austen.

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Jane Austen’s characters are continually watching, judging and gossiping about others and, in turn, are watched, judged and gossiped about. Professor Kathryn Sutherland explores the ways in which behaviour and etiquette are closely monitored in the novels, and how characters must learn to be skilful readers of those around them.

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Related teachers' notes

Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Social Judgement

Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Social Judgement

Jane Austen's representation of class in Pride and Prejudice.

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