Does Fitzwilliam Darcy actually have a title

Summary of Pride and Prejudice

Provincial idyll in turbulent times

Pride and Prejudice appeared in 1813 at a time of enormous political and economic upheaval. The Napoleonic Wars had set almost the whole of Europe on fire, Great Britain developed into the “workshop of the world” in the course of the industrial revolution and imperial expansion, and the misery and resentment of the proletarians grew in the cities. They and the masses of impoverished peasants had little sympathy for the debauchery and extravagance of the Prince of Wales and later King George IV, who in the "Regency period" from 1811-1820 in place of his father who had gone mad George III when Prince Regent ruled. This whole historical background found no echo in Jane Austen's work; she reduced her novels to the ideal world of the landed aristocracy, clergy and merchant bourgeoisie in village communities. In literary history, the epochs classicism, romanticism and realism overlapped at that time. Jane Austen's work, however, cannot be clearly assigned to any of these categories.


Jane Austen wrote the first version of Pride and Prejudice as early as 1797 - at the age of only 22 years. Her father took the manuscript to a publisher, but the publisher refused to look at it. It has been lost to this day. In the 16 years between the first writing and the publication of the final version, the author made numerous changes. However, it is not known when and to what extent this took place. Like her novel two years earlier Mind and feeling appeared Pride and Prejudice 1813 anonymous. The only statement by the author: "By a Lady" (by a lady). Jane Austen herself characterized her book and self-proclaimed “favorite child” in a letter to her sister Cassandra as “too light and bright and sparkling”. But it is precisely these characteristics of the novel that have always fascinated readers. Because the characters described with a lot of humor and irony arise from the immediate environment and life experience of the author. For example, the family man in the novel, Mr. Bennet, has parallels to Austen's own father. The marriage proposals may also have been inspired by autobiography: At the age of 27, Jane Austen received a proposal from a young man whom she described as "clumsy and awkward". Although she did not love him, she initially consented, only to withdraw her consent the next day.

Impact history

Pride and Prejudice quickly became a huge success. The first edition of around 1500 copies was sold out after a few months and the second followed in the same year. Austen's readers seemed downright relieved to experience everyday, comprehensible situations and to be able to suffer and laugh with people who seemed to be taken from real life. The comment from Annabella Milbanke, who later became Lady Byron, shortly after it was first published, puts it in a nutshell: “She does not rely on any of the usual aids of novelists: no drowning, no conflagrations, runaway horses, lap dogs and parrots; neither housemaids and hatmakers, nor duels and disguises. "

The great spirits parted about Jane Austen: Sir Walter Scott appreciated her talent for making everyday things and characters interesting through true storytelling. Others, such as Charlotte Brontë, Mark Twain or Ralph Waldo Emerson, criticized the sterile atmosphere of a society frozen in tradition and a topic that seemed to be limited to just one question: does he or she have enough money to get married? While Victorian interpreters praised Austen's novels for upholding domestic virtues and teaching women valuable lessons, a century later their feminist successors believed they had also discovered subversive elements in them.

The book's popularity was boosted by the many film adaptations and adaptations, including the popular six-part BBC television series Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the leading roles. Even the bestseller Bridget Jones, also filmed with Colin Firth, here in the role of the gallant lawyer Mark Darcy, is based on the content of the 200-year-old original. Many of today's so-called “chick-lit novels”, most of which are about upward-striving, hip townwomen on the hunt for men, see themselves in the tradition of Jane Austen - a claim that real fans of the master indignantly refuse.