Jane Austen: 1817 - 1818

Jane Austen: 1775 – 1817

One of the most beloved novels of all time, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, made its bookstore debut 200 years ago today. The second of her six published novels (following Sense and Sensibility), Pride and Prejudice received favorable reviews and earned Austen a modest personal income. Yet because her work was published anonymously, the young female novelist never received the respect among peers and public which she so rightfully deserved.

MediaMonday for January 28, 2013: Celebrating 200 Years of Pride and Prejudice. NY Times Arts Beat, January 28, 2013 lists events happening throughout the globe in celebration of the bicentennial of the book’s publication.

Today’s Penguin blog offers a gallery of Pride and Prejudice book covers through the years.

The original title page from the 1813 edition of Jane Austen's Price and Prejudice.

The title page from the original  1813 edition of Jane Austen’s Price and Prejudice.

The unlikely love story between the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet and the prideful Mr. Darcy drives the plot of Pride and Prejudice, but it’s the sharp observational wit and wise sub-textural comments on culture, morality and society that secures this novel in the canon of world literature.

Despite it being in the public domain and available for free downloads on many sites, the novel continues to sell millions of copies each year. Assigned reading in classrooms and writing workshops across the globe, Pride and Prejudice is a brilliant study in characterization, plot development, and setting.

Born in 1775, Austen was youngest of George and Cassandra Austen’s seven children. Educated primarily by her father, a country parson, and her older brothers, Austen began writing prolifically in her teen years and by the age of 21 had completed the novel that would become Sense and Sensibility. That novel wouldn’t be published until 1811, opening the door with its favorable reception to the novel that in 1813 would become one of the season’s most fashionable reads and in later years a world-wide sensation.

Austen fell ill and died in 1817 at the age of 41. Speculation to the cause of her death range from Addison’s disease to non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Share your Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice remembrance today here on the blog (click comments button above) or in #litchat today at 4pmET through Twitter.