Along with the plays of William Shakespeare and the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen’s novels are among the most beloved books of Western literature. Pride and Prejudice (1813) was in Austen’s lifetime her most popular novel, and it was the author’s personal favorite. Adapted many times to the screen and stage, and the inspiration for numerous imitations, it remains today her most widely read book. Now, in this beautifully illustrated and annotated edition, distinguished scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks instructs the reader in a larger appreciation of the novel’s enduring pleasures and provides analysis of Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine, and all the characters who inhabit the world of Pride and Prejudice.
This edition will be treasured by specialists and first-time readers, and especially by devoted Austen fans who think of themselves as Friends of Jane. In her Introduction, Spacks considers Austen’s life and career, the continuing appeal of Pride and Prejudice, and its power as a stimulus for fantasy (Maureen Dowd, writing in The New York Times, can hold forth at length on Obama as a Darcy-figure, knowing full well her readers will “understand that she wished to suggest glamour and sexiness”). Her Introduction also explores the value and art of literary annotation. In her running commentary on the novel, she provides notes on literary and historical contexts, allusions, and language likely to cause difficulty to modern readers. She offers interpretation and analysis, always with the wisdom, humor, and light touch of an experienced and sensitive teacher.
[Spacks] provides an extremely useful introduction, detailing Austen's life and noting (along with her "further reading" section) the ongoing scholarly attention. Readers will also appreciate Spacks's well-placed references to the interpretations of other scholars, such as Tony Tanner and Linda Colley...A valuable addition for any Austen student, scholar, or fan. -- Kathryn R. Bartelt Library Journal 20100901 Reading Pride and Prejudice with Spacks as a guide illuminates the richness of Austen's historical context, as the annotations draw attention to important material that might initially be missed...This beautifully produced and informative guide to reading Austen's brilliant and beloved novel in its historical context will be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who has read, or plans to read, Pride and Prejudice more than once...Both specialists and fans will find it a great pleasure to read, learn from, and argue with Spacks's annotated edition of this classic novel. -- Sarah Emsley Open Letters Monthly 20101001 So interesting and comprehensive are Spacks's notes on Austen, she could conceivably even introduce the author to a few male readers who might otherwise have veered away from all the bonnets and ruffles...Spacks is fascinating on the topic of Austen, and especially on the author's deft use of dialogue and observation to layer dense levels of meaning into her stories, the notes do open up new vistas of enjoyment and understanding, especially for those approaching the goings-on at Longbourn for the first time...Spacks's notes can be invaluable...For history buffs and period fetishists, who must surely comprise some significant part of the audience for historical romance, this annotated Pride and Prejudice is a treasure trove...This edition should prove equally refreshing to even the most ardent of Miss Bennet's amateur readers. -- John Birmingham The Australian 20100925 An appropriately handsome, witty, deeply smart and buoyantly informative annotated edition of Jane Austen's beloved novel, prepared with astuteness and affection by scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks. Barnes and Noble Review 20100924 A treat for the legions of Jane Austen enthusiasts, Pride and Prejudice: The Annotated Edition is an oversized volume packed with period illustrations and notation, illuminating the text and the life of Austen. National Post 20100925 [A] handsomely produced annotated edition...Spacks' annotations are illuminating...The dozens of illustrations--a watercolor of Austen by her sister, for example, and images of late 18th-century drawing rooms--add a layer of visual delight and edification to the clarifying notes Spacks offers. -- Lauren Winner Books & Culture 20101020 Austen's most famous novel needs no introduction, but it does benefit from the hundreds of loving notes--historical references, vocab tips, and more--provided by Austen scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks. Entertainment Weekly 20101210 [A] beautiful new illustrated edition...The great benefit of Spacks's notes, set out in columns beside the text, and sometimes occupying whole facing pages, is that they make you read more slowly. Instead of letting Austen's delicious confection slip down like a syllabub, you have to think about each sentence, and that enriches and complicates everything...Pride and Prejudice is a rarity among great books in being both a trenchant moral tale and the wispiest wish fulfillment, as unreal as Cinderella. -- John Carey Sunday Times 20101219 Delightful illustrations and perspicacious annotations deepen the pleasures of this great book, paradoxically showing how much we converge and diverge with Miss Austen's world of Regency England. Spacks anticipates our questions because she has spent countless afternoon teas in the company of an author whose ear was tuned to subtleties of dialogue and whose heart was sensitive to both the machinations of romance and the meanness of wealth. -- Christopher Benson First Things 20101221 In this annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice, Patricia Meyer Spacks offers a guide to the nuances of Austen's language...It is useful to have such glosses adjacent to Austen's text, along with concise explanations of points of etiquette, historical detail, parallels with other Austen novels and involving subjects such as the Bennet girls' marriage prospects. -- Michael Caines Times Literary Supplement 20110527