Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen
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Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen

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Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen

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Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen


Jane Austen’s Life

Born: December 16, 1775 at Steventon rectory (England)Parents

: Reverend George Austen & Cassandra AustenFather was a member of the clergy


The Austen Family

2nd daughter of seven children (mostly brothers)Closest to her elder sister Cassandra & brother Henry who would later become her literary agentClose-knit family with a exceptionally close bond with her father


Jane Austen’s Life

Some formal education but also learned whatever her father and brothers could teach her at homeExtensive library at home for readingThe family supported Jane’s creative side


Jane ‘s Brush With Love

1795- Met a neighbor’s nephew – Tom Lefroy (age 20)He was studying to be a barrister (trail lawyer)The two fell in love, but Jane’s family had little to offer toward the marriage, and Tom’s family viewed an engagement to Jane as highly impractical.

They sent Tom away and made every effort to keep them apart for good. The romance ended.


Jane Get Engaged?

December 1800: Jane’s father retires from the clergy and the family moves to Bath (age 27)Jane meets Harris Bigg-WitherShe accepts his proposal of marriage (He has a sizable fortune and real estate)

The next day she revokes her acceptance of his proposal, realizing she lacks affection for the manLater, in a letter to her niece she advises her simply not to wed if the affection is not there.Jane never marries.


Life Begins to Change

January 1805- Jane’s father diesMrs. Austen, Jane, and two other daughters move in with their brother Frank at Chawton cottage.Her writing career is rejuvenated (age 33)1816- Jane’s health begins to decline – suffers from Addison’s Disease


Jane ‘s Death

June 18, 1817- Jane diesBuried at Winchester Cathedral


Austen’s Works

Pride and Prejudice (1813) age 37Sense and Sensibility (1813)

Mansfield Park (1814) age 38Emma (1815) age 40

Persuasion & Northanger Abbey (1817)Published after her death


19th Century Society:

The Regency Period Wealth

Social ClassCourtship and MarriageGender Roles

Parents and Family


19th Century Wealth

Inherited wealth is superior to wealthearned through business or a profession.


19th Century Social Class

You should remain in the social class you are born into, only socialize with those of the same class, but treat those “below” you with respect, not contempt.

Major theme in Pride & Prejudice is manners and class differences



th Century Courtship & MarriageUnmarried men and women must always be chaperoned. Courtship is formal and physical contact is limited. Marriage is an economic arrangement to preserve or increase wealth in families.

Courtship was formal, but brief; once a couple became a couple, engagement quickly followed.



th Century Gender RolesMen’s and women’s roles are strictly proscribed along gender lines, from education and work to property rights and speech.


The “Accomplished” Lady

For women of the "genteel" classes the goal of non-domestic education was thus often the acquisition of "accomplishments," such as the ability to:

draw, sing, play music, & speak modern (i.e. non-Classical) languages (generally French and Italian)


The “Accomplished” Lady

Purpose of these “accomplishments” is to attract a husband.In Pride and Prejudice

, Elizabeth Bennet displays her relatively detached attitude towards the more trivial aspects of this conventional game by adopting a somewhat careless attitude towards her "accomplishment" of playing the piano, and not practicing it diligently.



th Century Parents & Family Parents demand and receive deference (putting their interests first) and respect. -They have a strong voice in the choice of marriage partners.


Pride and Prejudice

: Helpful Things to Know . . .

“airs”: songs or tunes

Cards: like business cards, only socialFormality of manners

Importance of introductionsPublic knowledge of private wealthWalking vs. horseback riding vs. the carriage

Invitations to dinners and balls“Standing up with”: dancing across from each other as a couple

Whist: a card game


Niceties and Courtesies: Manners and Customs in the time of Jane Austen

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”-Mr. Bennet,

Pride and Prejudice


Basic Etiquette: The Gentleman

In riding horseback or walking along the street, the lady always has the wall.

Meeting a lady in the street whom you know only slightly, you wait for her acknowledging bow- then and only then may you tip your hat to her, which is done using the hand farthest away from her to raise the hat. You do not speak to her - or to any other lady - unless she speaks to you first.

If you meet a lady who is a good friend and who signifies that she wishes to talk to you, you turn and walk with her if you wish to converse. It is not "done“ to make a lady stand talking in the street. In going up a flight of stairs, you precede the lady (running, according to one authority); in going down, you follow.


Basic Etiquette: The Gentleman

In a carriage, a gentleman takes the seat facing backward. If he is alone in a carriage with a lady, he does not sit next to her unless he is her husband, brother, father, or son. He alights from the carriage first so that he may hand her down. He takes care not to step on her dress.

At a public exhibition or concert, if accompanied by a lady, he goes in first in order to find her a seat. If he enters such an exhibition alone and there are ladies or older gentlemen present, he removes his hat.

A gentleman is always introduced to a lady - never the other way around. It is presumed to be an honor for the gentleman to meet her. Likewise a social inferior is always introduced to a superior. A gentleman never smokes in the presence of ladies.


Basic Etiquette: The Lady

If unmarried and under thirty, she is never to be seen in the company of a man without a chaperone. Except for a walk to church or a park in the early morning, she may not walk alone, but should always be accompanied by another lady, a man, or a servant. (Note: this would seem to have become a more general rule later in the century, as Austen's women are seen walking alone.)

Under no circumstances may a lady call upon a gentleman alone unless she is consulting that gentleman on a professional or business matter.


Basic Etiquette: The Lady

A lady does not wear pearls or diamonds in the morning.

A lady never dances more than three dances with the same partner.

A lady should never "cut" someone, that is to say, fail to acknowledge their presence after encountering them socially, unless it is absolutely necessary. By the same token, only a lady is ever truly justified in cutting someone


Coming Out

The London social season (lasting from Easter until August 12th, the start of Grouse hunting season) was each year awash in girls just "out" in society.

The principle reason for "coming out" was to marry well. Girls were expected to be quite childlike until they were about 18, when they were taken to London from their parents' country homes to be presented at court.

This was their official entry into society which made them available for parties, balls, and of course,

marriage. At least, is the idea for the daughters of the nobility and gentry.


Coming Out

I have yet to discover what exactly this meant for girls of "good" family such as the Bennets. It is not a family of nobility who would have been received in court. I can only assume that for their daughters to be "out" meant that they were permitted to go to social events. Therefore when Lady Catherine De Bourgh questions Elizabeth Bennet on the subject, Lizzie replies that all her sister are "out" because they all attend the local parties and balls.


I Could Have Danced All Night...

In Jane Austen's time, the most common dances were "country dances" which consisted of several couples walking through a series figures together. It is described a figure as a "series of movements" in which the couples stood, moved forward, walked around one another, sometimes with arms or hands interlaced, wove between the other dancers, and then stepped back into their places.

One or two, or all of the couples could move at the same time. In some cases, this left a number of the dancers standing by waiting their turns to move allowing, "time for the long, bantering Austenian conversations



I Could Have Danced All Night...


Characters in

Pride & PrejudiceThe Bennets

Mr. Bennet- long-suffering & witty

- (Elizabeth is his favorite daughter)

Mrs. Bennet-

emotional, silly, shallow (Elizabeth is her least favorite daughter)


The Bennet Girls

Jane sweet, pleasant, very pretty, sees best in everyone

Elizabeth sharp, clever, observant, attractiveMary

smart, bookishKitty shameless flirt

Lydia shameless flirt


New Neighbors at Netherfield

Fitzwilliam Darcyhandsome, arrogant, smart, rich, at times contemptuous

Has inherited Pemberly estateNephew of Lady Catherine DubourghByronic heroDotes on her sister,



New Neighbors at Netherfield

Charles Bingley pleasant, handsome, rich, available young manIs renting Netherfield estate; neighbor to the Bennets

Is attracted to Jane Bennet

Bingley’s two sisters: extremely stuck-up, openly mocking


is the most vocal


Also Neighbors to the Bennets…

Mr. Collins: clergyman, both servile and self-important, very pompous

Lady Catherine de Bourgh


Darcy’s aunt, wealthy, controlling, “owns” Collins


Also Neighbors to the Bennets…

Charlotte Lucas: Elizabeth’s best friend; is very plain looking & marries out of necessity

Mr. Wickham:

Young lieutenant from the militia in Meryton who wronged Darcy and blackmails the Bennet family