Chosen by Jo
A classic that tells the story of Mr Bennet’s five unmarried daughters and the events that unfold when Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy move to town
☁ “Pride & Prejudice was written off and on over more than 15 years before finally being accepted for publication in 1813. Featuring a story of social manners among 18th Century gentries, Pride & Prejudice was the most popular of Austen’s works.
In it, the Bennetts fret over the fate of their five unmarried daughters. For if Mr Bennett dies before any marry, the property and his assets will transfer to a male relative leaving his wife and daughters homeless and penniless. In the opening pages the Bennetts are pleased to hear of that a ‘gentleman of fortune’ has moved to a nearby estate.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
The gentleman, Mr Bingley is introduced to the Bennetts along with his friend Mr Darcy. The daughters are paraded infront of them, social gatherings are held, romance is encouraged, and as expected there are many dances, proposals, love interests, miscommunications, rejections and get-back-together agains.
Though produced in the Romanticism era the youthful passions usually thrown about the pages are more restrained in this example of the genre. Instead of rampant emotionalism, Austen emphasises a balance between reason and emotion and therefore a contrast between the expected and what eventuates.
The story primarily focuses on Catherine Bennett and Mr Darcy, the latter who assumes a lack of money or social status are characteristics that disqualify people from marrying or finding love. However Elizabeth is a keen observer of people and makes it known to her suitor that everyone, irrespective of their status or their flaws deserves love. ‘By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.’ Clearly demonstrating that the two major themes of the novel make up the book’s title.
T. Egerton, Whitehall