Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story charts the emotional development of the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, who learns the error of making hasty judgements and comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial and the essential. The comedy of the writing lies in the depiction of manners, education, and marriage and money in the British Regency.
Mr Bennet of the Longbourne estate has 5 daughters, but his property is entailed meaning that none of the girls can inherit it. Having married a woman who had no fortune, it is imperative that one of the girls marries well in order to support the others on his death. However, 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 playfulness. The novel revolves around the necessity of marrying for love, not simply for mercenary reasons despite the social pressures to make a good (i.e.) wealthy match.
Pride and Prejudice retains the fascination of modern readers, consistently appearing near the top of lists of "most-loved books" among both literary scholars and the general public. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, with over 20 million copies sold, and paved the way for many archetypes that abound in modern literature. Continuing 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....LESS