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Pride And Prejudice Full chapter Book Summary
The primary focus of the novel Pride and Prejudice is the extended romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. In the end, they are happily married. Secondary plotlines unfold around the romances of Jane and Bingley, Lydia and Wickham, and Charlotte and Collins. Through her writing, Austen explores concepts of love, wealth, and matrimony. These remain thought-provoking and meaningful to readers even to this day.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock Pride and Prejudice, a masterpiece from the celebrated British novelist Jane Austen.
In 2003, a poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation produced a shortlist of the nation’s 100 best-loved novels. Pride and Prejudice was ranked second. The novel was written over two hundred years ago, at the end of the 18th Century. Yet, today, it remains cherished by readers from all over the world. The American literary critic Edmund Wilson once said, “There have been several revolutions of taste during the last century and a quarter of English literature, and through them all perhaps only two reputations have never been affected by the shifts of fashion: Shakespeare’s and Jane Austen’s.”
In fact, the prominence of this enduring literary classic has dimmed little over time, notwithstanding the relatively narrow scope of its narrative. American author and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson has criticized Austen’s novels in general for being limited to themes of marriage and family. Charlotte Brontë, the British novelist who wrote Jane Eyre, which we have unlocked for you in a previous bookey, made a similar comment on the stifling domesticity of Austen’s world, saying, “I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.”
Indeed, in her lifetime Austen wrote six novels and all of them, without exception, focus on marriage and family. Pride and Prejudice, the novel we are interpreting today, follows this pattern, telling of the romances and marital experiences of four young couples. Austen had a flair for evoking such seemingly trivial topics in her writing. In her own words, she put it like this, “3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to work on.” On one occasion, someone suggested to her that she should try dabbling in other literary genres, but she tactfully turned down this suggestion, saying, “No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way.”
Austen’s preference to write about marriage and family is inseparable from her personal experience. She was born in Parsonage House in the town of Steventon in the English county of Hampshire, the seat of an ancient family. Her father was the local rector, and the family were financially secure. She remained unmarried throughout, living with her parents and sisters for the greater part of the 41 years of her life. Most of her days revolved around household chores, visiting family and friends, participating in balls, watching plays and playing cards. These occupations were similar to the experiences engaged in by the women in her novels. And her day-to-day cares also parallel the concerns of the women she wrote about – fashionable clothes, neighbourly gossip, interesting friends and handsome gentlemen. Therefore, her novels consist of mundane and seemingly trivial details of everyday life. Her plots unfold, being spurred by seemingly ordinary events such as dances, social visits over tea, family dinners, games of cards, as well as countless other episodes of idle chatter and leisurely walks.
Yet the restricted scope of her material did not impede Austen’s vision. Perhaps Austen’s own perspectives are best represented by something said by Elizabeth Bennet, the female protagonist in Pride and Prejudice. When her love interest Darcy tells her: “The country can in general supply but few subjects for such a study. In a country neighbourhood you move in a very confined and unvarying society.” Elizabeth replies, “But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them forever.” Even if there were limitations to the types of characters that Austen wrote about, she could through them always reveal aspects of life’s theatricality. She wrote of the universal and multiple facets of human nature.
We will now share our interpretation of the novel in three parts. We will find out how Austen’s simple story of marriage and family has stood the test of time and continued to touch the hearts of so many, right up until the present day.
In Part One, we will provide you with a summary of the novel’s plot;
In Part Two, we will interpret for you the way Jane Austen has conveyed various perspectives on marriage in the novel;
In Part Three, we will share several key aspects of the novel’s comedy with you.
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- 00:00 Kapitel 1
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