Austen for Beginners

Pride and Prejudice - start here!

Jane Austen’s most famous novel and certainly her most popular one.

It features her favourite heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, and her most sighed-after hero, Mr Darcy.

Also including various embarrassing relatives on both sides (with a few nice ones thrown in), several marriage proposals, an elopement and the odd wedding or two...

Pride and Prejudice was published 200 years ago in January 1813

Classic quotes from the novel you may have heard somewhere before...

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

One of the most famous first lines ever written, but no character actually says this in the novel itself.

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me."

Mr Darcy talking about Elizabeth Bennet when they first meet. Unfortunately for him, she overhears...

She, a beauty! I should as soon call her mother a wit!"

Mr Darcy talking about Elizabeth, not in her hearing this time.

“In vain I have 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."

Mr Darcy proposing to Elizabeth Bennet, in spite of not really wanting to...

“..I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."

’s response to Mr Darcy’s proposal. Rather serves him right, don’t you think?

“ is many months since I have considered her one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance."

Mr Darcy has decided Elizabeth isn’t so bad after all.
A bit tough on Miss Bingley (who he is talking to here), who rather fancies him herself...

Miss Bingley was left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.
In other words, she got what she deserved. She was a pain in the neck, to put it bluntly, and Mr Darcy wasn’t one of her fans.

"This is a most unfortunate affair; and will probably be much talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation."

Mary Bennet on the subject of her youngest sister Lydia’s elopement. An outrageously self-righteous remark which confirmed her reputation as a bit of a prig.

"Well, well, do not make yourself unhappy. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them."

Mr Bennet, trying to comfort his second-youngest daughter, Kitty, after Lydia’s elopement. It wasn’t much comfort.

“Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?"

Mr Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, expressing her horror at the idea of Elizabeth Bennet marrying Mr Darcy. Pemberley is Mr Darcy’s estate in Derbyshire. Aunt Catherine isn’t one of Elizabeth’s fans and thinks Mr Darcy ought to marry her own daughter instead.

“I am most seriously displeased."

Lady Catherine again, when Elizabeth has refused to reassure her that she will not marry Mr Darcy.

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever."

Mr Darcy having another try at a marriage proposal. He makes a better job of it the second time.

“Dear, dear Lizzy. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. I shall go distracted."

Mrs Bennet’s reaction to Elizabeth’s engagement to Mr Darcy. She’s pretty happy about it, really.

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun."

Mr Darcy, when asked by Elizabeth how he came to fall in love with her.

Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.

A double wedding for Elizabeth and Jane.

If you'd like to know more about the story, click here:
Pride and Prejudice - the plot

If you'd like to read the original text, click here:
Pride and Prejudice - the text

The text now has links to explanatory notes - click on the links as you go along to get more details.

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Austen for Beginners 2013

Austen for Beginners   Pride and Prejudice   Sense and Sensibility   Emma   Mansfield Park   Northanger Abbey   Persuasion