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About the Author: Jane Austen <16,Dec,1775 - 18,July,1817>external image jane-austen.jpg

Jane Austen was born at Steventon rectory to George and Cassandra Austen. She was born into a rural proffesional middle class, and her father was a country clergyman who was a descended from a family of woollen manufacturers. He rose from the merit from trade with a Kentish family and lower professions. Cassandra, her mother on the other hand, came from a higher birth rank but wholeheartedly accepted the life of a lower class and raised eight children; Cassandra, her six brothers and one elder sister.
Jane was sent to study at Oxford with her sister in 1783 following the family tradition. However, during this period she caught typhus causing her to nearly die. Therefore, she was educated at home until she left to boarding school in 1785. In 1786 however, she and her sister returned home due to the economic problems her family faced. It is said that she lived at home during her life after returning. After returning, Jane was then given books to educate herself and taught by her father and elder brothers. She and her sister were also provided with expensive writing equipment such as paper and encouraged to draw and write. It is said that the Austen family were all great readers and reading aloud was very common within the household. George Austen had a collection of over five hundred books, including novels from rental libraries. These libraries were common between families with an interest in literature and were the key source to accessing books and magazines which were expensive to buy. Her family were also frequently putting on plays, which were easy due to the Austens already having a full cast. These things led to Jane writing all types of literature before she was in her teens, eager to amuse and entertain her family. However, it was prose fiction that jane was most interested in.
By the age of 21, Jane was already working on First Impressions which was then sent to the a bookseller to be published, however it was rejected rudely and sent back without even being opened. This was later rewritten to be Pride and Prejudice. Therefore, her first novel to be published was Sense and Sensibility in 1811. This was a revised version of her epistolary novel, Elinor and Marianne. It sold out within two years, raising about £140 which was enough to finance someones living costs for one whole year. With this published, she then turned to First Impressions, rewriting it and renaming it Pride And Prejudice.She then sold it in November during 1812 and it was already published in January the procceding year. Other works following this include, Mansfeild Park: A novel <1814>,Emma: A Novel <1816>, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion <1818> and Lady Susan <1825>.
During the period between Mansfeild and Emma, Jane began to feel unwell yet she ignored her illness. However, she got worse and by 1817 she experienced difficulty in walking and finding energy for activities. By April she was unable to move from her bed and died in July at the young age of 41. Her siblings, Cassandra and Henry carried out her work and published her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. After some time, her novels were out of print due to low sales. However,due to a publisher called Richard Bentley publishing her works in 1833, her works have never been out of print since. To this day, she is one of the rare "classic" writers whose works are read by a wide range of people.
A humorous story of love and life: Pride and Prejudice

external image pridenovel.jpgexternal image 23764.jpgexternal image 1593083246.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpgAbove: The many editions of Pride & Prejudice Pride and Prejudice is a novel that revolves around a protagonist named Elizabeth Bennet a.k.a. Eliza and Lizzy. She is the second eldest in the family and although she is not as beautiful as her sister Jane, she is still fairly attractive, intelligent and extremely witty. The novel begins with the wealthy handsome bachelor, Mr Bingley entering the neighborhood. Mrs Bennet, Elizabeth's mother is delighted by this since her goal in life is to marry off her daughters successfully to wealthy gentlemen.
The Bennets are first introduced to the Bingleys at Meryton ball, where Mr Bingley takes great interest in the eldest Bennet, Jane. They are also introduced to Mr. Darcy, the male protagonist, who is a proud and wealthy man. Although he is also said to be even more attractive than Mr Bingley,due to his poor manners, the ladies are disgusted by him and his popularity is soon over turned. He also scarrs Elizabeth's pride at the ball by stating that she is not worthy enough to dance with, causing Elizabeth to dislike him and base all his actions on her first impression of him. This is the beginnig of all the misunderstandings and blindness to their true feelings.
However, as they frequently meet each other, Darcy finds himself becoming attracted to Elizabeth and admires her wit and fine eyes. Elizabeth does not notice this and continues to think of him as an arrogant man, therefore, becoming confused with his actions.
Due to one of Mrs Bennet's plan to get Jane closer to Mr Bingley failing, Jane becomes ill on her way to the Netherfeild estate were Mr Bingley lives. Therefore, Elizabeth goes over to nurse Jane and is invited by the Bingley sisters to stay until Jane recovers.During her stay, Darcy becomes more and more attracted to Elizabeth, which is perceived by Miss Bingley, who is attracted to Darcy. Therefore, she becomes jealous and tries to turn Darcy away from Elizabeth by criticizing her.
After Jane and Elizabeth return to their house in Longbourn, they recieve notice from Mr Bennet's cousin, a bachelor who is in line to inherit the estate. During his stay, the Bennet ladies and Mr Collins go on a walk where they are introduced to an officer called Wickham. They also meet Darcy and there is an awkward moment between the two. After Darcy leaves, Wickham explains the reason behind the friction between them. Elizabeth feels pity for Wickham and her dislike towards Darcy grows stronger.
After some time, Mr Bingley hosts a ball where Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance. She becomes confused and although she accepts, she stays away from him for the rest of the time and Mr Collins takes over. He also asks her to marry him since he notices that Jane is already in love, but she refuses right away since he is too silly to live a stable life with. The misunderstandings get even worse when Bingley and Darcy goes away to London on buisness matters. Although Mr Bingley was planning to return quickly, some fraud takes place and Jane begins to think that Bingley was not interested in her and has no intention in marrying her. However, Elizabeth plans a trip to London for Jane in hopes of reuniting the two, which ends badly. Elizabeth herself also travels to London to see Charlotte and meets Darcy and his cousin during her stay. Although Darcy tries his best to win her affections, Elizabeth gets along with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam and hears a story of Darcy saving a friend from a wrong marriage. Elizabeth thinks this is about Bingley and Jane, therefore when Darcy proposes later on she refuses rudey. She recieves a letter from him before he leaves and finds out the truth behind all of his actions. She also realizes how she had thought badly of Darcy only because of the first time they met where he wounded her pride. She becomes ashamed of her actions and from this point, starts to see the other characters in a new light.
Soon after, Bingley returns from London and reunites with Jane and they become engaged. Darcy also returns and during a walk with Elizabeth, he explains how he still loves her and wishes to marry her. Elizabeth, now knowing the truth, accepts and explains how wrong it was of her to judge him only on his first impression. Both couples marry and the story ends with most characters content.

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Above: Chart of Relationships
Review: My thoughts




I enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice and thought it was an interesting peice of work that focuses on one of the common mistakes a person makes during their life, judging people only upon their first impression. Since I like to read books that are written mostly only about a certain character's behavior and veiws, it was entracing to see the world from Elizabeth's point of veiw and examine her thoughts. Also, it was interesting to see how people thought and behaved during the 1800's in England.
external image Everybody_needs_love_by_skeev.jpgMy favorite character from the book was Fitzwilliam Darcy, an handsome and highly intelligent yet egoistic man who grows to love Eliazabeth. Since Jane Austen mostly refers to Elizabeth's opinions about situations, I was swallowed into her thoughts and therefore I too strongly disliked Darcy. However, through all the experiences with Darcy, I could understand the changes in Elizabeth's feelings. It felt to me as if everyone was blinded from his actual appearance and personality in the beginning. Therefore, now, after finishing the book, I truly like this character and how he deals with the barrier he encounters of loving a person in a different social class. Other than Darcy, I felt as though Jane Austen had written cleverly about all the characters personalitys in story. By focusing on Elizabeth's opinions on people, she manages to hide away the real personalitys of the characters and reveals them skillfully at the end.
The relationship between Elizabeth and the other characters were all very entertainingly written. It made me feel as though I was simply seeing a scene that happen in school or anywhere between two people of the same or opposite gender. Since she is already a fully grown woman, I thought Elizabeth dealt with every character maturely and with respect, even towards Mr Darcy. However, it is obvious that there is tension between the two, especially at the beginning. Although they simply act mature, the feeling of dislike is visible and I liked how Jane Austen illustrated the changes in those feelings.
One of the important issues in the novel is manners. I thought the story was sarcastically written and funny but at the same time, I felt as though it was teaching us a lesson. And the lesson is something that parents teach their children all the time and something we are told not to do but cannot deny that we do. It is to judge people only from their first impression you get from them. I personally think that I probably unconciously do this alot at from reading this novel, I felt that I should get to know people much much better before making irrational ideas about them. The book overall was still an excellent read and is very reader friendly. It does not go on about romance as much as other romance novels do and I think many people are able to relate to Elizabeth and her feelings. I think this is one of the reasons why it is still one of the most best selling classic novels and also the reason why I enjoyed reading it so much.
First Impressions to Pride and Prejudice
---> The background behind the story
During the time of Jane Austen's life,class distinctions were very strict, especially for women. They were based on the wealth and the families connections with other higher class families and therefore, Jane is very critical of the upper class that were careful about this. At the same time however, she is also very critical of the lower class and their poor manners. For women born to the lower class, life was mainly about keeping their life and family in order. It was only the upper class that experienced the pleasure of visiting and spending time with friends, having grand dinners and attend dances. They simply lived in ease and were not burdened with the household chores. Therefore, it can be stated that the Bennets belong to the somewhere between the middle and upper class. Although the women during Jane's time had more freedom in marriage, they were still restricted by the practical considerations of that time. Also, most young girls only started to court after their eldest sister had married. This is the reason why Lady Catherine is practically shocked when she overhears that the Bennet girls are courting. Also, education during this period was also restricted for women and only girls in the upper class were able to be educated. However, most rich families thought it was a waste of time to educate women. This can be seen in Pride and Prejudice through characters such as Mrs Bennet, a lady who is foolish and has no social ambition other than to marry off all her daughters to wealthy gentlemen.
Since travelling was slow during Jane's time, the connections of news and mail were slow and there were no newspapers going round daily as there are today. This is one of the reasons why Pride and Prejudice does not include the outer world and simply is about the things Jane knew well about, the family and peoples values.
In the arts at that time, the movement of Romanticism was becoming greatly known. This stressed the importance of emotion and indivisual imagination. However, Jane did not follow this new wave and wrote Pride and Prejudice in which dialogue and comment take important values. Her work was very different from the other works during this period which were mostly about Romantic issues of Gothic and dark matters. Also, her admiration of writers during the 18th century such as Samuel Johnson are important to mention, since their way of writing making witty observations of life also led to her style in writing.

Throughout the ages: Pride and Prejudice now.

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Pride & Prejudice
A 2005 movie version of the novel. The key plot of the movie is "Sometimes the last person on earth you want to be with is the one person you can't be without." and the story is fairly close to the book. Some changes include the elimination of some characters and changes in the scenes. Also, the setting throughout the movie is made to be more romantic than the book. The movie recieved high remarks from the society, even earning a 9 out of 10 from the Daily mirror. There were some debates about the choice in cast, especially about Darcy's role, dividing between the role portrayed by Colin Firth in a 1995 adaptation and the choice of Matthew Macfadyen in this version. However, Macfadyen's Darcy still recieved good comments such as him being very alike the character in the novel.
MAIN CAST
・Keira Knightley - Elizabeth Bennet
・Matthew Macfadyen - Fitzwilliam Darcy
・Donald Sutherland - Mr Bennet
・Brenda Blethyen - Mrs Bennet
・Simon Woods - Charles Bingley
・Rupert Friend - Mr Wickham
・Judy Dench - Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Links
IMDB page
Official Site




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Anne of Green Gables
By Lucy Maud Montgomery a.k.a. L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables is a easy-to-read series made up of 8 books and 2 books including short stories with the protagnist, Anne Shirley. It is a story of a girls life going on until she reaches her 50's. Anne Shirley is an orphan who was 'accidently' adopted by Mr and Mrs Cuthbert, a middle-aged couple who wanted a boy. They were set on sending her back since they had no need for a girl in their farm in green gables, Avonlea. However, they grow to love the girl and therefore Anne starts her life on the farm. The story goes on about the troubles she gets into with her 'bosom friend' Diana and her classmates and goes on until she grows up.
This book is similar to Pride and Prejudice since the relationship between Anne and her classmate Gilbert is the same as that of Elizabeth and Darcy. It's interesting and funny to read about the relationship changing as they grow up. I would mostly recommend this to girls to read when they don't have anything else to do!

Links
Read online now - AOGG


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Pemberley or Pride and Prejudice continued
By Emma Tennant
This is a sequel to the book by Emma Tennant. If anyone enjoyed the book Pride and Prejudice and would like to know what happened after, perhaps this is the book you are looking for. It is about Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage and how Elizabeth copes afterwards. She is now Mrs. Darcy living at the great estate of Pemberley and it is near christmas. The story is about how she deals with having her foolish mother and sisters and at the same time Lady Catherine de Bourgh over for christmas. The review on the Los Angeles Times states "With all the wit and style of Jane Austen, Emma Tennant brilliantly imagines both the perils and pleasure of such a marriage." However, the book also has some bad review from the readers such as how the book doesn't flow in the same rythem as Jane Austen's version. Nevertheless, Pemeberley is probably an interesting read for those who are fans, from another equealy devoted fan.

LINKS
Read the first part online!

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Briget Jones's Diary
Novel by Helen Feilding, Movie directed by Sharon Maguire

Briget Jones's Diary was originally a newspaper column that was rewritten into a novel in a diary style about the life of a women named Briget Jones. She is a lady, little over 30 who lives in London, worried about her single life as her friends all get married. Her diary is about her daily life and she mostly writes about her love life. After some time she gets involved in two relationships, one with her attractive boss Daniel Cleaver and another with a man named Mark Dancy.
The motive to writing this novel was from Helen's love of Jane Austen's book and the BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth. Therefore, since he played Mr Darcy in the BBC version, Colin Firth was casted to play Mark Dancy in the film Briget Jones's Diary. The connection between Pride and Prejudice and Briget Jones's Diary is the relationships Briget encounters and the characteristics of Briget and Mark's parents. Obviously, Mark Dancy is the Fiztwilliam Dancy of the story and the relastionship between Briget and Daniel is said to be similar to that of Elizabeth and Wickham's. Briget Jones's Diary has been nominated for many awards such as an Oscar as well as an BAFTA Film Award and has also won many awards. If anyone's up for a laugh, please check this out! Don't miss the sequel Briget Jones:The edge of Reason either!

MAIN CAST
●Renee Zellweger - Briget Jones
●Hugh Grant - Daniel Cleaver
●Colin Firth - Mark Dancy
LINKBJD-IMDB page BJD-Official Site


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Hana Yori Dango
Hana Yori Dango (meaning "flowers more than boys") is a typical japanese manga/drama/movie that is very popular among Japanese High School girls. It's a story about a overly exaggeratedly poor girl who goes to a rich school thanks to her scholarship. There, she meets people who live in a completly different world and starts to grow tired of everyone who follow the latest trends. She also has a fight with one of the richest boys at the school and from that point, a brand new 'friendship' is born. The protagonist and the boy's status difference and the way there are complications due to it are similar to that of Elizabeth and Darcy.
Hana yori Dango is now a worldwide hit and can be found in many languages across the internet. It may be interesting to see Pride and Prejudice in a japanese light.
LINKS
Japanese Drama Page
Eng-Drama Wiki Page