Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780679783268Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language Jane Austen called this brilliant work her own darling child and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring And Jane Austen s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England. Critics who consider Austen s works trivial because of their rigid, upper class setting, wealthy characters, domestic, mannered plots and happy endings are almost totally disconnected from reality, as far as I can tell What can they possibly expect an upper middle class English woman to write about in 1813 but what she knows or can imagine Sci fi A history of the American Revolution A real life expos of underage exploitation in the garment district of London Come on What other setting can she be expected to tackle with authority Austen s value lies in her portraiture her characters are believably human in their concerns, vanities, failings and quirks The plots serve largely to showcase their interaction and thus, her observations of human nature, which are pointed, accurate, and hysterical Here, in her best work my opinion , her technical skill as a writer also shows in Pride and Prejudice s tight plotting and economical casting there are no superfluous characters or wasted chapters here My college lit professor used to go on and on about this novel as a revolution of literary form in that dialogue drives the plot as much as exposition I ll buy that but it doesn t thrill me for its own sake as much as it did her It does mean, though, that Pride and Prejudice is a relatively smooth and lively read, that we learn about events and characters as much from what they say to each other as from what Austen narrates to us The banter between Darcy and Elizabeth isn t empty flirting, it s a progression, a chart of their ongoing understanding misunderstanding and a way to take stock of plot developments as well as an enjoyable display of wit Austen s heroines are famously caught between love and money are famously criticized for always getting both in the end I ve got no problem with this wish fulfillment Keep in mind that being married is basically the only possible job available to a woman of her position marrying a rich dude is the only viable escape from the life of poor relation dependency Austen herself lived, there s nothing reactionary or anti feminist about it The other option becoming a governess is barely respectable, putting a woman into an ambiguous class limbo of social invisibility that translates directly into a loss of safety and self governance Expecting Elizabeth to, what, become a doctor is silly and anachronistic, and perhaps if that s your preference you d be better off reading Clan of the Cave Bear, with Ayla and her bearskin bra, or what have you Pride and Prejudice is simply a joy to read, a dance of manners and affection between the leads and a parade of human silliness in the supporting cast edited to add some thoughts specific to the Patricia Meyer Spacks annotated edition I received as a gift for Christmas 2010 It s quite remarkably handsome, and sturdy, and useful for whacking spiders if you are that sort of person Generously illustrated with color and black and white sketches, engravings, and reproductions of earlier editions, household objects, relevant artwork, contemporary cartoons, diagrams and fashion plates.My attention wandered during the editor s introduction in what turned out to be a horribly familiar way While I appreciated Spacks s discussion of historical background, her warnings about the subtlety of language and characterization, and the dangers of identifying too much with our favorite characters because Austen stacks the deck for that purpose, etc etc, it was a sort of technical appreciation dry, and a little bit soulless I was, perhaps, impatient At some point as I yanked my eyes back to the pages I kept trying to read, I realized Spacks is a Professor Emerita at the University of Virginia my former stomping grounds wahoo wa sorry, that happens it s than possible she was MY professor back in 19 I don t remember her name or face, but certainly her style, the steel trap of her mind, and the mildly pushy feeling of her obsession with language all felt very very familiar So, grain of salt I may have some kind of baggage here.That said, this is a must own for the serious PP fan As with any annotated edition, I wouldn t recommend it for a first or even third reading of the book these notes take up half to full pages, sometimes continuing to the next, and only if you re already familiar with the text of the book itself can you spare attention to wander off down these other roads Keep another straight copy of PP around for when you just want to read the thing Some footnotes are simple definitions, or style notes some are mini essays that include their own cited references Spacks includes centuries of Austen scholarship in her notes, not just contemporaries, so points of view vary widely There s quite a smorgasbord of textual commentary to pick through, and you re sure to find little tidbits that strike you as especially resonant or horrendously wrong and weird Two tidbits I liked first, a primary source One note, in discussing the complicated British class system of the day, refers to a table constructed by one Patrick Colquhoun in his A Treatise on the Wealth, Power and Resources of the British Empire, in Every Quarter of the World 2nd ed., London, 1815, pp 106 107 a table which lays out exactly where, for instance, Darcy stands in relation to the Bennett family He s in the second class, they re in the fourth Clearly people put a lot of time and effort into codifying and arguing about societal structure, status and behavior, and I think that would be a fascinating thing to read Another note I lingered over involves Mr Collins, a character we love to hate Here s the upside of an annotated edition I d never bothered to give Mr Collins much of my attention, since he s icky but Spacks points out the oddity of a snippet that I d always ignored before In bidding Elizabeth farewell from Hunsford, Mr Collins apologizes profusely for the humbleness of his style of living, as if he considered her socially above him and this is a complete 180 from his incredibly condescending proposal of marriage earlier in the book, where he deigns to presume he s taking a burden from her parents by opting to support her Also, Spacks has a lot to say about Elizabeth s inconsistency and lack of generosity towards Charlotte Lucas traits I d noticed in past readings without following through to some of their logical conclusions and their connections with Elizabeth s later behavior.Definitely worth the purchase price Add it to your collection, but don t make it your only copy, since it s hard to tuck under your pillow. 6.0 stars Confessionthis book gave me an earth shattering Janeaustegasm and I am feeling a bit spent and vulnerable at the moment, so please bear with me You see, I decided I wanted to get literated by reading the classicals in between my steady flow of science fiction, mystery and horror The question was where to begin.After sherlocking through my Easton Press collection, I started by pulling out my Dickens and reading A Tale of Two Cities which I thought was jaw dropping AMAZO and left me feeling warm, satisfied and content It also made me made retrospectively pleased that I named my youngest daughter Sydney.After Two City Tale ing, I decided to give this book a whirl as I kept seeing it on GR lists of goodest books ever However, I must admit I was hesitant going in to this for two big reasons One, I thought it might be a bit too romantical for me The second, and much distressing, reason was that Twilight was on many of the same lists as this book Austen fans should pull a nutty over that one.So needless to say I went into this thinking I might hate it Well, for the 999,987th time in my life at least according to my wife s records I was wrong I absolutely loved this book and had a mammoth, raging heart on for it from the opening scene at the breakfast table when Father Witty Mr Bennet is giving sly sarcasm to Mrs Mommie Put Upon I literaphorically could not get enough of this story I was instantly captivated by the characters and Elizabeth Bennet, the main protagonist, immediately became one of my all time favorite characters Mr Darcy joined that party as soon as he showed up in the narrative as I thought he was terrific as well.Overall, the writing could not have been better It was descriptive, lush and brilliant The story could not have been engaging or intelligent and the characters could not have been magnificentastic Elizabeth and Fitz are both smart, witty, self confident and good Austen could not have written them better Oh, and I am sorry if this is a bit of a minor spoiler but I need to add that George Wickham is a cock blocking braggadouche of startling proportions I needed to say that and now I feel better This one has made it onto my list of All Time Favorite novels and is truly one of the classics that lives up to its billing A FINAL WORD TO THE GUYS Guys, do not fear the Austenembrace the AustenHIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen started off annoying me and ended up enchanting me Up until about page one hundred I found this book vexing, frivolous and down right tedious I now count myself as a convert to the Austen cult I must confess I have been known to express an antipathy for anything written or set before 1900 I just cannot get down with corsets, outdoor plumbing and buggy rides Whenever someone dips a quill into an inkwell my eyes glaze over This is a shortcoming I readily own up to but have no desire to correct So I admit to not starting this book with the highest of hopes I did really enjoy Ang Lee s Sense and Sensibility however and so when my friend threw the gauntlet down I dutifully picked it up.Boy did I hate him at first To get anywhere with this book one has to immerse oneself in the realities of life and marriage in the nineteenth century At first all this talk of entailment and manners just left me cold I liked the language to be sure Austen s dialogue is delightful through out but dialogue alone no matter how delicious does not a great novel make.A hundred pages or so in though I started to see what a shrewd eye for character this Austen woman had Mr Collins was the first person I marvelled at His character springs forth fully formed as a total but somehow loveable ass From that point on I found much to love about this book I was so into it by the end that I was laughing at some characters, sympathizing with others and clucking my tongue at an unhappy few In short I was completely absorbed In conclusion I must now count myself a fan of Miss Austen s novels and not just their fim adaptations and do so look forward to acqauinting myself with of her work in the future Emma anyone NOTE The review you are about to read was written in 2009 2009 That s almost 10 years ago I was 17 and thought I was the smartest person ever In all honesty I barely remember this book So, negative comments regarding my intelligence are no longer necessary They will be ignored As they have been for probably 6 years now CARRY ON P.S Can we all just LOL at my use of the words mind numbing balls HA This book is quite possibly the most insipid novel I have ever read in my life Why this book is so highly treasured by society is beyond me It is 345 pages of nothing The characters are like wispy shadows of something that could be interesting, the language that could be beautiful ends up becoming difficult to decipher and lead me than once to skip over entire paragraphs because I became tired of having to stumble through them only to emerge unsatisfied, and the plot is non existent, as though Austen one day decided she wanted to write a novel and began without having any idea what would happen except that there would be a boy and a girl who seemingly didn t like each other but in the end got married The story really probably could have been told in about 8 pages, but Austen makes us slog through 345 pages of mind numbing balls and dinner parties I don t care what anyone says, this is not great literature This is a snore.Read my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.