Is there a
sprightlier opening than the beginning lines of this time treasured novel? “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession
of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice is considered one of the most entertaining and romantic of stories, a
love story for the ages. Perhaps it is
much more, was Jane Austen also a feminist?
While Pride and Prejudice does tell the love stories of Jane and Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth and Mr.
Darcy, it is also the story of a family, the burdens of having daughters
instead of sons, and the options open to women of the era. The Bennett family has five daughters, the
family home and estate will pass on the death of the father to the next male
heir in line, a rather tiresome clergyman.
If the daughters have not found suitable husbands by that time, they
will be penniless and at the mercy of their distant relative, a precarious
financial position indeed. Austen knew
well of the world she creates in her stories.
She lived this life, endured uncertain financial times as an unmarried
woman, and lived by the generosity of her brothers. So while Pride and
Prejudice will certainly entertain us with the love
story of Darcy and Elizabeth, it will also grant a look at the realities of
life in the early 1800’s. As the saying
goes, we’ve come a long way baby.
— Deon Stonehouse
An iconic novel dressed in a fierce design by acclaimed fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo. This couture-inspired collection also features Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula, The Scarlet Letter and Wuthering Heights.
Ruben Toledo’s breathtaking drawings have appeared in such high-fashion magazines as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Visionaire. Now he’s turning his talented hand to illustrating the gorgeous deluxe editions of three of the most beloved novels in literature. Here Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of Mr. Darcy, Hester Prynne’s fateful letter “A”, and Catherine Earnshaw’s wanderings on the Yorkshire moors are transformed into witty and surreal landscapes to appeal to the novels’ aficionados and the most discerning designer’s eyes.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817.
As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
“The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste.” —Virginia Woolf
“Nobody has ever been slyer with characters than Austen.” —Marlon James, “My 10 Favorite Books,” in T: The New York Times Style Magazine