Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen. First published in 1813, as her second novel, she started it in 1796 as her first persevering effort for publication. She finished the original manuscript by 1797 in Steventon, Hampshire, where she lived with her parents and siblings in the town rectory. Austen originally called the story First Impressions, but it was never published under that title; instead, she made extensive revisions to the manuscript, then retitled and eventually published it as Pride and Prejudice. In renaming the novel, Austen may have had in mind the final chapter of Fanny Burney's Cecilia, itself called "Pride and Prejudice" and where the phrase appears three times in block capitals. (She may also have been concerned that the original title might be confused with other works.)
The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, moral rightness, education and marriage in her aristocratic society of early 19th century England. Elizabeth is the second eldest of five daughters of a country gentleman landed in the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, not far from London.
Though the story's setting is uniquely turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books' such as the Big Read. It still receives considerable attention from literary critics. This modern interest has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.
To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.
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