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200 Years - Pride and Prejudice

By January 28, 2013

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Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice is one of the most famous novels in English literature, and it just turned 200 years old today.

A bicentennial celebration is a HUGE accomplishment, but how many books by female authors have been remembered in such a wide-reaching, even fanatical way? We can find Jane Austen fans in nearly every age group--in the UK, around the world, and in every region of the US (Pride and Prejudice is Austen's most widely read novel, internationally renowned).

If you're at all surprised by Jane Austen mania (particularly in this age when we're all supposed to hate reading books--classics in particular), just take a look at some of the stories (and multimedia tie-ins) from today:

So, how did you celebrate the novel (and its author) today?

I can tell you what I've been doing (not just today, but ever since I received the book): I've been reading White's Fine Edition of Pride and Prejudice. It's a rather unique book: real-cloth cover; wrap-around cover design; authoritative text (of course); and thick, acid-free paper. For me (as I've begun to get almost accustomed to Kindle-Fire reading), it has felt something like a rare reading pleasure... (You can see a gallery-display of White's Fine Editions here: Jupiter Books.)

So, I'm curious... Which edition of Pride and Prejudice do you absolutely love? And, then the next natural questions: what do you remember about the story? Here are a few ideas for today:



January 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm
(1) Julie says:

My favorite edition of Pride and Prejudice is the Everyman’s Library hardbound book. This is the only version for me–it was the book in my mom’s library when I first read it; it was the book I reread and fell in love with Jane Austen; and it’s the book I’m using for my Jane Austen essays.

I’ve read the story over and over again and am participating in a Pride and Prejudice essay contest, so everything about it is fresh in my mind (I can even say parts of it by heart), ;)

January 30, 2013 at 2:16 am
(2) Pat says:

Pride and Prejudice is a novel written by and English woman. It has been read and enjoyed by millions of Englishmen for all of its 200 years of existence–long before people in the US ever heard of it. When you write about this book mention its Englishness–people in the US do not own it!!

January 30, 2013 at 10:00 am
(3) Patti Wigington says:

Pat (2), I don’t see anywhere where Esther has claimed P and P as something the United States has dibs on. In fact, the opening sentence of this post refers to it as one of the “most famous novels in English literature.”

Also, while I realize it’s a point of national pride (ha, see what I did there?) to claim British ownership, it’s also a bit disingenuous to suggest that America’s fascination with the novel is something new. The first US publication of the novel was in 1832, which is less than twenty years after British readers got their hands on it. It’s not as though we just found Lizzie and Darcy after seeing Kiera Knightly mumble through the movie. Many of us Americans have loved this book for a long time, and we love the characters – in all their Britishness – as well.

January 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm
(4) Esther Lombardi says:

It was never my intent to suggest American ownership of Pride and Prejudice.I read the novel for the first time MANY years ago, and as life has happened, the novel seems to grow with me. I love the Britishness of the novel, but I also love the fact that the novel can touch each of us–no matter what our experience, social background, nationality, or reading preference.

January 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm
(5) Martin says:

No where has Ms Lombardi tried to make this book seem like some kind of American novel. Being British I am sometimes very glad of Americans taking an interest in our English books, it is rather embarrassing living in the UK and having to get American imports on texts that should still be in print in this country.

Jane Austen though is available everywhere, and it is fun to see and hear from groups who dress up and try the ‘period’ from all over the world.

February 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm
(6) Yvonne says:

I like to focus on the fact that the book brings us together across the globe, and helps us to understand one another not as any particular group but as simply fellow human beings. Good literature can do that in a way that nothing else can. When I was a child, England was just somewhere on the globe they pointed to in school. I had no idea who the people were and what they were like. And yet a book written by a single person clear across the world can open a door to a place someone else has never seen. I’m not just talking about Pride and Prejudice, but all books. They are not just a window into the soul of the person writing them, they’re also a gateway to new unseen worlds. I remember reading A Little Princess when I was a child and thinking of what an Indian Lascar might look like, and imagining English boarding schools and rows of little girls walking down the streets of London. It was very different from here and I loved reading about the differences.

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