Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.

Though the story's setting is characteristically turn-of-the-19th-century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books' such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

The main plot of the novel is driven by a particular situation of the Bennet family: if Mr Bennet dies soon, his wife and five daughters will be without home or income, as the Longbourn estate is entailed to one of Mr Bennet's collateral relativesmale only in this case—by the legal terms of fee tail. Mrs Bennet worries about this predicament, and wishes to find husbands for her daughters quickly. The father doesn't seem to be worried at all.

The narrative opens with Mr Bingley, a wealthy young gentleman and a very eligible bachelor, renting a country estate near the Bennets called Netherfield. He arrives accompanied by his fashionable sisters and his good friend, Mr Darcy. Attending the local assembly (dance) Bingley is well received in the community, while Darcy begins his acquaintance with smug condescension and 'proud' distaste for all the country locals. After Darcy's haughty rejection of her at the dance, Elizabeth resolves to match his coldness and pride, his prejudice against country people, with her own prideful anger—in biting wit and sometimes sarcastic remarks—directed towards him. (Elizabeth's disposition leads her into prejudices regarding Darcy and others, such that she is unable to 'sketch' their characters accurately.)

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