Introduction to Pride and Prejudice # Jane Austen’s first novel, initially called First Impressions, then Dignity and Perception and finally Pride and Prejudice, was sent to a publisher in 1797 by her father who also offered to pay for its publication. It was sent back immediately with a note; “Declined by return Post”. It was finally published 16 years later as Pride and Prejudice in 1813 by Thomas Egerton for £110.
Pride and Prejudice - Context and Background - Austen # Jane Austen is an accomplished writer who polarises her audience; they either passionately adore or absolutely abhor her. Regardless of your tastes, she is a writer of merit and maintains a tremendous influence on the development of the English Novel. Her Novels deal with the lower nobility, a leisured class but without the ostentatious wealth and position of the landed Dukes and Earls of the higher nobility.
Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzy) # The second daughter of the Bennets who is lively, intelligent, witty and sensible. ‘I must confess,’ writes Jane Austen, of Elizabeth Bennet, ‘that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least I do not know.’ Letters, II, p. 297 (to Cassandra Austen, 29 January I813).
Jane Austen – a life # Jane Austen was born in 1775 to a Clergyman and his wife Cassandra in Hampshire. She had a sister, Cassandra and five brothers, two who also became clergymen and two who went into the Navy. When her father retired they lived in Bath for six years. Love affairs # Jane fell in love during the winter of 1795 at the age of 20. While she had some other suitors, she does not seem to have considered any until she met Tom Lefroy, a young Irish law student.
Digital dating and the sly art of the ‘vanishing act’ # Nov 7 [EMILY POWER] In today’s Tinder-ised dating landscape, the art of politely breaking off a new relationship has given way to disappearing in a puff of smoke. Emily Power looks at the rise of ‘the vanishing act’. [It’s like Hugo Boss has started selling Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.] It’s hard to say no these days, from that extra task at work to the invite you’d rather do without.
Pride and Prejudice - CHARACTERS # We must remember that character creation is a construct; an artefact and central ones do not necessarily represent the author. Characters are either portrayed sympathetically or unsympathetically. The former are called protagonists, heroes or good guys while the latter are antagonists, villains or bad guys. Sometimes main characters are picaresque – likeable but harmless rogues, larrikins or scoundrels –“loveable rogues”. Martin Amis points out that over two millennia humans first told stories of Gods, then Kings, then Epic Heroes, then ordinary people , then anti-heroes, then villains, then demons and finally themselves.
Austen: Language - Pride and Prejudice # It is through the development of her characters, her experimental narrative techniques, dramatic interplay, nuances of tone, revelatory dialogue and the compelling design of her novels that we can discover her main concerns. It is her style of language that impressed many of her audience. The fact that her favorite words were civility, fancying and imprudence, may give us a clue on what she was on about.
Austen Techniques - Pride and Prejudice # Jane Austen deliberately and intentionally kept her novels limited to the ordinary day to day lives of rural lower gentry: “3 or 4 families in a Country Village is the very thing to work on” She wrote to her niece, Anna Austen and later to her brother she describes it as * “the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory”* as the boundaries of her work.
THEMES - Pride and Prejudice - # The meanings of a novel emerge indirectly or implicitly via the vicarious personal involvement or identification and empathy of us the responders. Writers write to depict their perspectives of life which become evident through their characters, plots and outcomes. Jane Austen writes satire so that we can perceive her outlook on life through how she portrays her characters, either sympathetically, disinterestedly or derisively.
Pride and Prejudice - Favourable and Critical Evaluation – Austen # Jane Austen is an accomplished writer who polarises her audience; they either passionately adore or absolutely abhor her; either at her feet, or at her throat. Some, who initially reacted negatively toward her, become grudging converts to the intimate portraits of characters and scenes she draws. Most of what see writes is a subtle satire of society, making her an invaluable chronicler of her time.