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Pride and Prejudice, Annotated, with Commentary

Pride and Prejudice, Annotated, with Commentary

by Jane Austen, Richard Fadem

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Bookdoors’ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is the most richly annotated edition of Jane Austen’s novel available in print or online. Designed to be an ebook, this and the other “In Context” editions of the Austen novels offer you swift, seamless access to information, commentary, and illustrations. These editions were conceived for touch pads such as the Nook.

The modest price underscores BookDoors' mission (please see to make these works accessible to an audience of widely different experience and expectations. The “Literature in Context” series aspires to provide today’s reader with the knowledge an informed reader of 1815 possessed and that Austen took for granted. As you read you'll have throughout the novel, should you wish to access it, an interpretive discussion of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. You’ll also find illustrations, an Austen Glossary of some 1000 words, a time-line that includes cultural, scientific, and technological developments between 1770-1817, a select bibliography, and a brief biography of Austen.

Austen writes in EMMA that "Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken." That's true of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as well, and now, nearly two centuries later, "a little mistaken" and "a little disguised" understate the challenge.

At a basic level PRIDE AND PREJUDICE’S diction can be obscure, for words themselves have changed or disappeared. This In Context edition defines words and phrases such as “blowsy,” “first private seminaries,” “settled by marriage articles,” “pathetic,” “archness,” and “animal spirits.”

A second order of annotation explains the historical background in which Austen roots the novel, including her life and its convergences with her fiction, and the novel’s social and cultural context. This includes the precisely hierarchical relations among the gentry, a ranking dependent on money and birth, country and town. Money is as constant as the force of gravity in every Austen novel. Darcy has the largest income of any Austen character, £10,000 per year, yet to appreciate that and his estate, Pemberley, we need to know them in relation to other landed gentry. Austen’s focus includes the responsibilities of husbands and wives to one another and as parents to their children, an issue for her of supreme importance to the gentry’s national future.

A third level of commentary discusses PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as a work of the literary imagination by one of England’s finest novelists and most piercing observers of manners. The elder Bennets as parents are deficient to the point of delinquent, with near catastrophic results for three of their five daughters. The five young women represent a spectrum of temperaments, from the mild and stoically restrained to the intellectually and physically spirited Lizzy, to the pedantic, to the to the carnal pubescent and sexually adventurous, to the embryonic. Physical attraction and sexuality play a prominent role, at times warping judgment until it hardens into prejudice. This novel, for many Austen’s most engaging, has two of her most memorable comic figures, the insufferable Rev. Collins and the imperious Lady Catherine, in verbal combat with the dauntless, unflappable, and smart Lizzy.

Austen writes of one of her protagonists, Emma, what’s true of all: their two supreme moral strengths are discernment (to see what's actually there) and judgment (what to make of what’s there). Austen expects no less from her readers, but promises that the reward for our keener, braver discernment will be our far greater pleasure.

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940012871947
Publisher: bookdoors
Publication date: 05/22/2011
Series: Literature in Context , #5
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jane Austen was born in 1775, the sixth of seven children and the second and last girl to the Rev. George Austen and Cassandra Leigh of Steventon Rectory in Hampshire. With the exception of two brief periods at girls' boarding schools, the first when Jane was seven, she was educated at home chiefly by her father and by her father’s 500-book library. Otherwise Steventon Rectory remained her home until she was twenty-five. Then, suddenly, her parents decided to leave Steventon for Bath, taking Jane and Cassandra, two years older, to Bath. Jane appears to have suffered from the displacement what seems to have been a prolonged depression. She ceased writing. Following her father’s death in 1805, the three Austen women to save money moved to Southampton and then to Chawton Cottage, which belonged to her wealthy brother Edward Austen-Leigh. Chawton became her permanent home. She died at Winchester on July 18, 1817, where she had gone for medical treatment of, it is thought, Addison’s Disease, a kidney ailment.
She appears to have been in love once when she was twenty. The association was brief, and it's possible that Tom Lefroy’s lack of money and her lack of a dowry made the marriage impossible. Money and marriage figure prominently in her novels, as they did in her society. In 1802 she accepted a proposal of marriage from a man somewhat younger than she, the brother of her close friends and the eventual inheritor of a significant Hampshire estate. By the next morning she thought better her acceptance and withdrew it.

Richard Fadem received a B.A. from Columbia College, an M.A. and Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. His focus was 19th–century British literature, Romantic and Victorian. He taught at Scripps College in California, a member of the Claremont Colleges, and at the Claremont Graduate School. He's currently teaching in the San Juan Islands in Washington.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

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