A Summary and Analysis of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, is Jane Austen’s best-known and probably most widely studied novel. But what does the novel mean? What is it really all about? And where did that title, Pride and Prejudice, come from?

Before we attempt to answer some of these questions, it might be worth recapping the plot of Austen’s novel. So, before our analysis of Pride and Prejudice, here’s a brief plot summary.

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The Best Jane Austen Poems Everyone Should Read

Jane Austen is best-known as the author of six classic full-length novels and, to a lesser extent, the author of a handful of shorter (often unfinished) novellas. But Jane Austen (1775-1817) was also an occasional poet, and even though Austen’s poems are not as celebrated as her fiction, it helps to shed light on some of the salient themes of her better-known work. So, here’s a brief introduction to some of Jane Austen’s best poems…

‘Ode to Pity’. We begin this pick of Jane Austen poems with a very early work, written while the budding author was still a teenager. With a wry satirical wink at eighteenth-century meditative odes written on the theme of pity, the young Austen manages to write an ode to pity that doesn’t actually address the topic of pity at all. NB: ‘Cnceal’d’ is Austen’s own (mis)spelling.

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‘To the Memory of Mrs Lefroy who Died Dec:r 16 – My Birthday’: A Poem by Jane Austen

Jane Austen is, of course, best-known for her six full-length novels rather than for her poems, but she did also write poetry – such as this fine verse. ‘To the Memory of Mrs Lefroy who Died Dec:r 16 – My Birthday’ was written to commemorate her friend, Anne Lefroy, who died on, of all days, Austen’s own birthday, 16 December.

To the Memory of Mrs Lefroy who Died Dec:r 16 – My Birthday

The day returns again, my natal day;
What mix’d emotions with the Thought arise!
Beloved friend, four years have pass’d away
Since thou wert snatch’d forever from our eyes. –

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Lois Austen-Leigh’s Incredible Crime

In this week’s Dispatches from the Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle returns to the Golden Age of detective fiction with this crime classic

Before Colin Dexter breathed new life into the genre with his Inspector Morse novels published from 1975 onwards, the Oxbridge crime novel was already a sizeable subgenre within detective fiction: there was the Queen of Crime Dorothy L. Sayers, whose Gaudy Night (1935) had helped to blaze a trail for the Oxford crime novel, and in her wake, Bruce Montgomery, under the pen name Edmund Crispin, wrote mystery novels set in Oxford, where he was studying for a degree when he wrote his first, The Case of the Gilded Fly, in 1943. Crispin’s creation, the amateur sleuth Gervase Fen, is also an Oxford don and English Literature professor at the university.

But before these, there was Lois Austen-Leigh’s quartet of Cambridge crime novels, of which the 1931 novel The Incredible Crime (British Library Crime Classics) was the first. Now, the British Library have brought the novel back into print as part of their Crime Classics series. Lois Austen-Leigh (1883-1968), who was the great-great-niece of Jane Austen, has languished forgotten in old libraries and second-hand bookshops for over half a century, her novels known only to aficionados of the Golden Age of British crime fiction, lasting around two decades between the two world wars. Even then, as Robert Davies has noted, even experts in the field often haven’t heard of Austen-Leigh.

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Jane Austen Adaptations Throughout History

By Spencer Blohm

The body of work produced by Jane Austen remains as relevant today as the time period in which it was written. Her keen observations of human nature and human conventions as portrayed through the lens of her times have made her works timeless. And of course, her acute ability to satirize those same conventions has preserved their lasting bite. Over the last century, numerous film adaptations have been created based on Austen’s novels – some faithful to the source material, others perhaps less so, but wherever there is a trace of Austen wit there is always a plot worth following.

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