Large Print Reviews
Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - September 28, 2001
This large print edition of Pride and Prejudice is an unabridged republication of the edition originally published in 1813. For those who love Jane Austen, and for those just discovering this wonderful author, this edition is a boon. Most standard print editions of Pride and Prejudice tend to be printed in the tiniest type. There almost seems to be a conspiracy that has ordained that only those with the most excellent of reading vision should be allowed to peruse the works of this popular novelist. Fortunately, this Dover Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice meets the standards of the National Association for the Visually Handicapped. The type used is suitably large, crisp, and the letters are well spaced for ease of reading.
If you've never heard of Jane Austen, let me first give you a little background. She was born in 1775, in the town of Steventon in Hampshire, England. She died in 1817, a spinster. Austen was a clergyman's daughter. For her day, she was well educated, an education that was received primarily at home. Like her heroines, Austen grew up in comfortable, upper-middle class surroundings. Her novels are marked by their social insights and the interpersonal relationship of the pivotal families in the stories. Her novels are primarily novels of dialog, with little extraneous descriptions. Jane Austen is celebrated as being the first, outstanding, female novelist. She wrote six full-length novels as well as several shorter works. Pride and Prejudice is perhaps her most popular novel, gaining popular acclaim as soon as it was first published.
Pride and Prejudice is a amusing tale about the five Bennet sisters, and their mothers unrelenting drive to get them well married. With a scathing wit, Austen highlight the follies and foibles of a society in which a woman is only judged by who she marries, and a society in which a 'good-match' is more important than personal happiness. As the story opens, a young and wealthy, and most importantly single man, by the name of Mr. Bingley moves in the neighborhood. Mrs. Bennet wants to make his acquaintance straight away so that he can be introduced to her daughters before he has a chance to meet any of the other eligible girls in the neighborhood.
Mr. Bingley, much to Mrs. Bennet joy, is taken, straightaway with her daughter Jane. Mr. Bingley also happens to have a rich friend by the name of Mr. Darcy whom everyone hopes will marry Elizabeth, thereby getting the two oldest girls well-settled. And once settled, they can help get their younger sisters well-married. To complicate matters, the Bennet estate is entailed to a male relative, Mr. Collins, who will inherit everything when Mr. Bennet dies. Mr. Collins, being a gentleman feels that his is unfair, so to even up matters, decides to marry one of the Bennet girls, preferably one of the eldest.
Elizabeth and her interactions with Darcy are the primary focus of this story. Throughout, Elizabeth has an undue influence over Jane, just as Darcy has over Bingley. Elizabeth is a strong will young women, and Darcy an arrogant, self-centered aristocrat. Together, they are explosive! In addition to Elizabeth and Jane, Austen also takes a detailed look at one of the younger daughters, Lydia, who runs away with a Mr. Wickam. A move that not only ruins her own reputations, but which could also have the effect of ruining her sisters chances of ever making a good match.
Throughout, this story is told with humor and is full of intelligent insights into English country society. It offers the reader a unique glimpse into a by-gone day. It is almost as if an anthropologist had traveled back in time and recorded the goings-on of the Bennet family. The dialog is realistic and fast paced. The story engrossing, and most importantly, entertaining.
Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful story, one which I am sure that you will read over and over, for with each reading you discover more the of the depth and vibrancy of Austen's work.
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- Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen.
This is a Regency era comedy that dwells upon the matchmaking machinations of an upper-crust English family, and which features the rags-to-riches story of Fanny Price, a kind hearted and unpretentious young woman who is taken from her impoverished home to live with wealthy relatives. (Large Print)
- Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen.
Left impoverished by their father's death, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood must secure wealthy husbands, or face a life of genteel poverty in this classic tale of love and social mores, and manners. (Large Print)
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