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Pride and Prejudice

This study guide will help you analyse the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. You can also find summaries of both the entire novel and its individual chapters, as well as ideas for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.  

Presentation of the text

Title: Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Novel

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English writer. Today, she is mostly known for six novels that provide an in-depth description and analysis of British society in the 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly of the middle and upper classes. Her style is known for the use of humour, irony, realism, and social criticism. At that time, it was hard for a female author to publish books under her own name, so Austen published the novels anonymously.

Her novels were very popular with readers both during her life and after her death. Austen became even more popular when her nephews published a memoir on her life 59 years after her death.

However, critics did not pay too much attention to Austen's novels while she was alive, because they did not conform to the Romantic and Victorian literature of the time. Critics became more aware of the literary qualities of Austen’s novels after the memoir on her life was published.

Austen's novels were introduced in academic studies at the end of the 19th century in renowned universities, and after World War II, more several critical approaches to her work were published. Nowadays, her novels continue to be popular and part of school curricula. Film version and adaptations of her novels abound as well.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Style of writing

An important aspect when it comes to Austen's style of writing in Pride and Prejudice is the use of the epistolary genre. In the novel, characters often exchange letters which they read to themselves or out loud to others. The way they read these letters often sets a comical tone. However, letters also help us better understand characters’ feelings and thoughts, conflicts, and resolutions.

As character-building elements, consider Mr Collins’ initial letter which prompts Mr Bennet to conclude that his relative is pompous and foolish.

Finally, one of the most important letters in the novel is the one Darcy addresses to Elizabeth after she rejects his marriage proposal. The letter adds to the climax of the story and also helps us understand Darcy’s reasoning and adds to his characterisation.

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Pride and Prejudice

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