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Pride and Prejudice is an 1813 romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen. The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book, who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and eventually comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. A classic piece filled with comedy, its humour lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage and money during the Regency era in Great Britain.
Mr Bennet of Longbourn estate has five daughters, but because his property is entailed it can only be passed from male heir to male heir. Consequently, Mr Bennet's family will be destitute upon his death. Because his wife also lacks an inheritance, it is imperative that at least one of the girls marry well to support the others upon his death, which is a motivation that drives the plot. Jane Austen's opening line--"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife"—is a sentence filled with irony and sets the tone for the book. The novel revolves around the importance of marrying for love, not simply for economic gain or social prestige, despite the communal pressure to make a good (i.e., wealthy) match.
Pride and Prejudice has consistently appeared near the top of lists of "most-loved books" among literary scholars and the reading public. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature with over 20 million copies sold and has inspired many derivatives that abound in modern literature. For more than a century, amateur and professional dramatic adaptations, reprints, unofficial sequels, films, and TV versions of Pride and Prejudice have portrayed the memorable characters and themes of the novel, reaching mass audiences. The 2005 film Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, is the most recent film adaptation that closely represents the book, with the 2016 action, comedy, and horror spin-off Pride and Prejudice and Zombies being the most recent Hollywood film adaptation.
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Pride and Prejudice
date of publication: 1813
inspired by: The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Cecilia, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded
genre: novel of manners, satire, psychological novel, romance novel
main subject: self-knowledge, happiness, femininity, social order, marriage, social class, Perspectivism, pride
narrative location: Netherfield, Meryton, Longbourn, Hertfordshire, Pemberley, Westerham, Ware, Hunsford, Rosings Park, Lambton
characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Bennet, Mary Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Catherine Bennet, Mr. Darcy, George Wickham, Mr Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Mr William Collins, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Caroline Bingley, Mr. Gardiner, Georgiana Darcy, Charles Bingley, Mary King, Mr. Jones, Haggerston, Mr. Philips, Charlotte Lucas, Sir William Lucas, Mrs. Hill, Miss de Bourgh, Mr. Denny, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Hurst, Mrs. Philips, Maria Lucas, Mr. Hurst, Captain Carter, Lady Lucas, Colonel Forster, Mrs. Forster, Mrs. Jenkinson, Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Younge, Mr. Dawson
follows: Sense and Sensibility
followed by: Mansfield Park