January 27, 2013

In January 1813, one of the most widely respected and beloved authors of all time released one of the most widely respected and beloved novels of all time- Pride and Prejudice.

Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra and jubilantly exclaimed, "I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London...".  Austen's letters over Pride & Prejudice were even more joyful than over her first novel, Sense and Sensibility.   Like us, Austen loved this book.

Elizabeth Bennett is one of the first real heroines in English literature. Elizabeth  is my favorite Austen character- she is independent, stubborn, rebellious, intelligent, witty, spirited, and loving and caring to those she loves.  I can see why Darcy couldn't help but fall in love with her.  She is irresistible.  Even Austen herself loved Elizabeth, saying, 

"...I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know."

Darcy is popular because he falls in love with Elizabeth for all of the right reasons.  Darcy is completely unlikable at first, but we find out he has a warm heart underneath the stiff upper lip and coat.  Darcy is the man on a pedestal who women often measure all other men up to.  I do confess Darcy is my favorite male character of all time.  

"In vain have I struggled.  It will not do.  My feelings will not be repressed.  You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

The reason P&P is still popular 200 years later is that the themes that run throughout it are universal and timeless:

  • Courtship/Dating
  • Love
  • Reputation
  • Wealth
  • Society and Class
  • Gender Roles and Expectations
  • Family
  • Trust
  • Communication
  • One's Morals and Principles

Pride and Prejudice is a symphony of engaging and relatable characters, witty quips, and universal dilemmas.  It is a book that readers will still be gushing over in another 200 years.

"She is tolerable," Darcy said of Elizabeth.

Taking the letter from his pocket he said,
"But perhaps you would like to read it."

Illustrations by Hugh Thomson from a 19th century edition of Pride and Prejudice.


  1. This is a good reminder to me to encourage some of my friends to read P&P for the first time in honor of its 200th anniversary. I just completed a reread last year and was so thrilled with how different the book was from the last time I read it. Each reading brings me something new.

    1. I am re-reading it now and I am finding it even more enjoyable than I did when I read it in my 20s!

  2. Great post, Rebecca! I do love Jane Austen. :-)

    1. Thanks! Me too! This is by far my favorite Austen, too, though I confess I have not read Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park yet. I need to fix that.

  3. Nice post! I think what I like most about all of Jane Austen's characters is that they're all flawed but you still root for them.

    1. That is one thing I like, too! She creates such relatable characters.


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