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Pride and Prejudice Turns 200

The iconic and venerable book by Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice turns 200 years old this week, and Project Gutenburg is offering free copies on their website.

Upon the whole… I am well satisfied enough. The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants  shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story: an essay on writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparté, or anything that would form a contrast and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and general epigrammatism of the general style”. Jane Austen to Cassandra, reflecting on Pride and Prejudice Chawton, Thursday, February 4, 1813 (From the Jane Austen Centre – Bath, UK)

Ms. Austen received few excellent reviews during a period when women writers were scarce. After the publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811, her work became noticed and was even remarked on by the Prince Regent. Although she wrote several more novels, Emma would be the last one published during her lifetime.

When her nephew published her biography her work reached a larger, more international audience. In the 1940’s she became widely read and was hailed as a “great English writer”, ushering in an entire sub-culture based on her work. Numerous volumes of literary review, reprints of her novels and several movie adaptations of her books have been and continue to be produced.

Additional information about planned celebrations by the Jane Austen Centre can be found by following this link.

 

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