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Pride and PrejudiceBuy Pride and Prejudice now from Amazon
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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 is set at the 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.
The narrative opens with Mr Bingley, a wealthy, charming and social young bachelor, moving into Netherfield Park in the neighbourhood of the Bennet family. Mr Bingley is soon well received, while his friend Mr Darcy makes a less favorable first impression by appearing proud and condescending at a ball that they attend (this is partly explained in that he detests dancing and is not much for light conversation). Mr Bingley singles out Elizabeth's elder sister, Jane, for particular attention, and it soon becomes apparent that they have formed an attachment to each other. By contrast, Darcy slights Elizabeth, who overhears and jokes about it despite feeling a budding resentment.
On paying a visit to Mr Bingley's sister, Jane is caught in a heavy downpour, catches cold, and is forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth arrives to nurse her sister and is thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who begins to perceive his attachment to her, but is too proud to proceed on this feeling.
representing Mr Collins protesting that he never reads novels.
Mr Collins, a clergyman, pays a visit to the Bennets. Mr Bennet and Elizabeth are much amused by his obsequious veneration of his employer, the noble Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as well as by his self-important and pedantic nature. It soon becomes apparent that Mr Collins has come to Longbourn to choose a wife from among the Bennet sisters (his cousins) and Elizabeth has been singled out. At the same time, Elizabeth forms an acquaintance with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who claims to have been very seriously mistreated by Mr Darcy, despite having been a ward of Mr Darcy's father. This tale, and Elizabeth's attraction to Mr Wickham, adds fuel to her dislike of Mr Darcy.
At a ball given by Mr Bingley at Netherfield, Mr Darcy becomes aware of a general expectation that Mr Bingley and Jane will marry, and the Bennet family, with the exception of Jane and Elizabeth, make a public display of poor manners and decorum. The following morning, Mr Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who refuses him, much to her mother's distress. Mr Collins recovers and promptly becomes engaged to Elizabeth's close friend Charlotte, a homely woman with few prospects. Mr Bingley abruptly quits Netherfield and returns to London, and Elizabeth is convinced that Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley's sister have conspired to separate him from Jane.
In the spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Mr Collins in Kent. Elizabeth and her hosts are frequently invited to Rosings Park, home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy's aunt; coincidentally, Darcy also arrives to visit. Darcy again finds himself attracted to Elizabeth and impetuously proposes to her. Elizabeth, however, has just learned of Darcy's role in separating Mr Bingley from Jane from his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. She angrily rebukes him, and a heated discussion follows; she charges him with destroying her sister's happiness, with treating Mr Wickham disgracefully, and with having conducted himself towards her in an ungentleman-like manner. Mr Darcy, shocked, ultimately responds with a letter giving a good account of (most of) his actions: Wickham had exchanged his legacies for a cash payment, only to return after gambling away the money to reclaim the forfeited inheritance; he then attempted to elope with Darcy's young sister, thereby to capture her fortune. Regarding Mr Bingley and Jane, Darcy claimed he had observed no reciprocal interest in Jane for Bingley. Elizabeth later came to acknowledge the truth of Darcy's assertions.
tells her father that Darcy was responsible for uniting Lydia and Wickham. This is one of the two earliest illustrations of 'Pride and Prejudice'.Janet M. Todd (2005), [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=TVcNgW5uH5oC&pg=PA127&lpg=PA127&dq=%22William+Greatbatch%22+Jane+Austen&source=bl&ots=_cGcxYCyvZ&sig=rDQBOOT_UeOPq4oPGR0W1riux_o&hl=en&ei=_cmASt6nOImhjAfTqeyHCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=%22William%20Greatbatch%22%20Jane%20Austen&f=false Books.Google.com], Jane Austen in Context, Cambridge University Press p. 127 The clothing styles reflect the time the illustration was engraved (the 1830s), not the time the novel was written or set.
Some months later, Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley, Darcy's estate, believing he will be absent for the day. He returns unexpectedly, and though surprised, he is gracious and welcoming. He treats the Gardiners with great civility; he introduces Elizabeth to his sister, and Elizabeth begins to realise her attraction to him. Their reacquaintance is cut short, however, by news that Lydia, Elizabeth's sister, has run away to elope with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth and the Gardiners return to Longbourn, where Elizabeth grieves that her renewed acquaintance with Mr Darcy will end because of her sister's disgrace.
Lydia and Wickham are soon found, then married by the clergy; they visit Longbourn, where Lydia lets slip that Mr Darcy was responsible for finding the couple and negotiating their marriageat great expense to himself. Elizabeth is shocked but does not dwell further on the topic due to Mr Bingley's return and subsequent proposal to Jane, who immediately accepts.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh later bursts in on Longbourn; intending to thwart local rumour, she warns Elizabeth against marrying Mr Darcy. Elizabeth refuses her demands. Disgusted, Lady Catherine leaves and drops by to inform her nephew on Elizabeth's abominable behaviour. However, this lends hope to Darcy that Elizabeth's opinion of him may have changed. He travels to Longbourn and proposes again; and now Elizabeth accepts.