Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yesterday I took a look at the world of "Pride And Prejudice", as seen through the eyes of a young woman from modern-day London who was trapped within the book's plot.

Thanks to Wikipedia, here's an edited look at the history of Jane Austen's most popular novel:

Pride and Prejudice, first published on 28 January 1813, is the most famous of Jane Austen's novels and one of the first "romantic comedies" in the history of the novel. The book is Jane Austen's second published novel. Its manuscript was initially written between 1796 and 1797 in Steventon, Hampshire, where Austen lived in the rectory. Called First Impressions, it was never published under that title, and following revisions it was retitled Pride and Prejudice.

Jane Austen's father wrote to London bookseller Thomas Cadell on November 1, 1797, offering it for publication, but it was rejected unseen by return of post. The unpublished manuscript remained with Austen, and it was not until 1811 that the first of her novels would be published, Sense and Sensibility.

Buoyed by the release of her first published novel, Austen revised the manuscript for First Impressions, probably between 1811 and 1812. She renamed the story Pride and Prejudice, an "apparent cliché" phrase of the times. In renaming the novel, Jane Austen probably had in mind the "sufferings and oppositions" summarized in the final chapter of Fanny Burney's Cecilia, called "Pride and Prejudice", where the phrase appears three times in block capitals.
It is also possible that the novel's original title was altered to avoid confusion with other works. In the years between the completion of First Impressions and its revision into Pride and Prejudice, two other works had been published under that name: a novel by Margaret Holford and a comedy by Horace Smith.

Austen sold the copyright for the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110 (Austen had asked for £150). This proved a costly decision. Austen had published Sense and Sensibility on a commission basis, whereby she indemnified the publisher against any losses and received any profits, less costs and the publisher's commission.

Unaware that Sense and
Sensibility would sell out its edition, making her £140, she passed the copyright to Egerton for a one-off payment, meaning that all the risk (and all the profits) would be his. Jan Fergus has calculated that Egerton subsequently made around £450 from just the first two editions of the book.

The novel was reviewed favourably in British Critic and Critical Review in early 1813. In 1819 Henry Crabb Robinson called it: " of the most excellent of the works of our female novelists", and Sir Walter Scott, in his journal, described it as: "...Miss Austen’s very finely written novel... That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with."

However, others did not agree. Charlotte Brontë wrote to noted critic and reviewer George Henry
Lewes after reading a review of his published in Fraser's Magazine in 1847. He had praised Jane Austen's work and declared that he "...would rather have written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels". Miss Brontë, though, found Pride and Prejudice a disappointment: "...a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck."

Of course, all of that is from the real world. In Toobworld, it probably follows in a similar fashion. However, Miss Austen was writing about actual people and she shares the same TV dimension as Elizabeth Bennett.

I wonder what Jane Austen would have thought of "Seducing Mr. Darcy", a saucy little novel which shares the basic plot with 'Lost In Austen'....

Toby O'B

Here's the only version of the book that I'd probably read.....

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