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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813. It is a novel of manners that is set in the English countryside during the beginning of the 1800's. The events in the novel surround the Bennet family. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five female children. The society of the time required that all property be left to the oldest male heir. Since Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have no sons, Mr. William Collins is the one who will inherit the Bennet estate. This will leave the Bennet women without a home. To prevent this potentiality, Mrs. Bennet sets out to have her daughters marry into wealth so that they will all be provided for in the event of Mr. Bennet's death.

 "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession
of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 1


Background Information


Mr. and Mrs. Bennet – the parents of 5 girls
Elizabeth Bennet – Bennet's second daughter, the protagonist of the novel who believes in marrying for love rather than money; eventually marries Fitzwilliam Darcy
Jane Bennet – oldest of the five children, the beauty of the family; eventually marries Charles Bingley
Catherine Bennet (Kitty) – daughter number 4
Mary Bennet – daughter number 3
Lydia Bennet – youngest daughter; scandalizes the family by running off with George Wickham
Fitzwilliam Darcy – proud and wealthy gentleman, Mr. Bingley's friend; eventually marries Elizabeth Bennet
Charles Bingley – wealthy bachelor with good connections; moves into Netherfield (one of the great houses in the neighborhood); marries Jane Bennet
Caroline Bingley –Charles Bingley's sister, tries to separate Elizabeth from Darcy and Jane from Charles; looks down on marrying for money/security
William Collins – a cousin of Mr. Bennet, slated to inherit Mr. Bennet's estate and move into the family home; marries Elizabeth's best friend, Charlotte Lucas
Lady Catherine De Bourgh – Mr. Darcy's aunt, proud and controlling


moral blindness | self-knowledge | individualism | relationships | change and transformation | pride | prejudice | irony

Topics for further study

marriage in the 18th century  – gender roles  –  social codes & expectations  - family – virtue – aristocracy in the 18th century – social classes


Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice during the Middle of the Romantic Period of literature.  Pride and Prejudice was written and revised over a period of several years (1797-1813) before being published anonymously in 1813.  Austen lived and wrote during the late 18th and early 19th century.  Major events occurring during this time were the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and the Industrial Revolution, although none of these events figure prominently in the novel.

 Librarian Talk . . .About Books!

Apply online for a library card. Use your card to:
1) Place a Hold on a book and have it sent to the library closest to you
2) Access journal and reference databases from home, and
3) Access e-Books from the Ebook Collection.

  • The catalog is online.
  • Online or e-Books are available at  Ebook Collection.  Use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to log in.
More about...Finding Books (31 sec.)

Recommended Reference Books

PN 41 .D5 – Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) – v. 116 – Contains biographical information about Jane Austen.  Arrranged alphabetically by author's last name.

PN 50 .L574 – Literature and Its Times – v.2, p. 295-300 – Gives a historical context for the novel.

PN 56.4 .H69 – Characters in 19th Century Literature – p. 19-22 – Lists the characters in the novel.

PN523 .W67 – World Literature Criticism –  v. 1, p. 142-158

PN761 .N5 – Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (NCLC) – v. 1,13, 19, 33, 51, 81, 95 – Contains excerpts of critical articles about the novel.  Arranged alphabetically by author's last name.  Volume 13 (p. 51-112) contains the most information about Pride and Prejudice.  

PN 3385 .N66 – Novels For Students – v.1, p. 282-305. 

PN 3451 .C7 – Magill's Critical Survey of Long Fiction – v.1, p. 115-127 – Gives biographical & background information.  Provides an analysis of all of her works as a whole.  

PR 85 .B688 – British Writers – v. 4, p. 101-124 – Biographical information.

PR 85 .C76 – The Chelsea House Library of Literature Criticism: The Critical Perspective – PR 85 .M33 – The Chelsea House Library of Literature Criticism: Major Authors Edition

PR106 .S7 – Reference Guide to english Literature – v. 1, p184-186 (Austen), v. 4, p.1786 (Pride and Prejudice).

PR 4036 .A28 – Jane Austen Encyclopedia.

Circulating Books

  • Use the Kingwood Library Online Catalog and search Jane Austen as subject keywords.  Many of the circulating books about Jane Austen include literary criticism.
  • Ebook Collection is a collection of online books. Search Jane Austen as your key words to see what is available. "Create a Free Account" to save favorite book titles and notes.

Librarian Talk . . . About Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!

Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your library card to login to the following databases. If you find an article that is not full-text, ask a librarian for assistance. There is some overlap of articles in the following databases. However, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic. 

Use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to login.
More about searching databases (25 sec.)

Databases are electronic resources useful for finding journal articles which analyze literature.  Some of the Lone Star College - Kingwood Library databases most useful for examining Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen are listed below.  Click on the link to go into the database from computers on campus, or use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to login from off-campus.

Jane Austen Society of North America publishes the journal Persuasions.  Issues from 1999-2004 are available online.  Paper copies are available in our library (1993-2004, numbers 15-26).

Literature Resource CenterIncludes articles from literature reference books and Twayne's Masterworks series of books, as well as many full-text journal articles from scholarly journals. The MLA database can also be accessed from this location by clicking on the MLA International Bibliography tab.
JSTOR |  Print or save full-text articles from high quality scholarly journals, generally from older issues.

Project Muse |   Find scholarly, full-text articles from recent journals.

Bloom's Literary Reference Online |  This database is a collection of many analytical essays discussing literature. These essays, originally published in print form, are accessible now for research online. Find information about Pride and Prejudice, or read about Jane Austen's life and entire body of work.

Academic Search Complete |  This multi-discipline, full-text database contains articles on Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen. Limit your searches to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals to find the appropriate articles.

Librarian Talk . . . About the Internet!

The Internet will be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you do want to find reputable sites. Look at:

  1. Accuracy - The information should be researched and show proof that it has been.
  2. Source - Who wrote the information? Look at the domain.  .edu .gov. org .net are valid research sources.
  3. Authority - What are the author's credentials?  (Don't quote from another college freshman's paper.)
  4. Coverage - Does the page have the information you need for your research?
  5. Objectivity - If a work is biased, use it - just make sure your professor knows YOU know. And offer both sides of issues, where applicable.
More about finding internet sources (25 sec.)

Internet sites can be helpful for research in literature.  Students should be aware that not all sites are academically suitable for the type of research colleges require.  Look at the site and judge it for quality (is it well written?), validity (are facts and statements correct?), currency (how recently was the information updated?), authority (who wrote or created the web page?), and general acceptability.   If you are in doubt, check with your instructor.  The following are a few sites that might be helpful. provides links to other Austen sites on the internet and also has the full text of Pride and Prejudice.

Reading Group Guide to Jane Austen is good to get an overview of how to discuss a piece of literature. This site may give you ideas about writing or getting started.

Jane Austen Information Page contains links to biographical and other information.  There is a special section dedicated to Pride and Prejudice which includes a link to the complete text with additional information including links to passages illustrating the themes of "pride" and "prejudice."

Librarian Talk...About Getting Help!

Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources. Putting it all together takes time and effort. Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors. Please consider the following resources if you need additional help. Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor.

More about getting help (25 sec.)

Citing Sources Using MLA Style | Lone Star College-Kingwood Library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

Avoiding Plagiarism  |   Excellent information and guide on how to avoid plagiarism from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.

University of Texas Copyright Crash Course | This helpful guide on copyright is suggested by Lone Star College-Kingwood Teaching and Learning Center.

The Learning Center   |   Check the TLC hours for in-house tutoring.

Page by Connie Coyle, 7/23/2003; Rev. 4/2013 BB.

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