Places: Pride and Prejudice

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1813

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Domestic realism

Time of work: Early nineteenth century

Places DiscussedLongbourn Estate

Longbourn Pride and PrejudiceEstate. Home of the Bennet family in southeastern England’s Hertfordshire. The estate is “entailed,” meaning that it can be passed down only through male heirs. Austen uses the estate to point up the condition of single women in early nineteenth century England, demonstrating why they have an intense need to marry. The Longbourn estate is to pass to Mr. Collins, a pretentious young clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property. After the heroine Elizabeth Bennet turns down Collins’s proposal of marriage, her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, accepts his proposal because she is poor and needs to marry.

Netherfield Park

Netherfield Park. Estate rented by Mr. Bingley, the neighborhood’s new eligible bachelor, in which Austen sets up the novel’s action. The Bennets have five unmarried daughters, and their silly mother is anxious to see them all married. Mr. Bingley soon falls for Jane, the oldest, and it is through him that Elizabeth meets the arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy, Bingley’s best friend. The complex social goings-on at Netherfield illuminate a society in which women scramble to find husbands amid financial snobbery and class prejudice.

Rosings

Rosings. Home of Mr. Collins’s arrogant patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is also Darcy’s aunt. After Charlotte marries Mr. Collins, she moves to the cleric’s cottage near the Rosings estate.

Pemberley

Pemberley. Darcy’s well-ordered home, in which he and Elizabeth come to view themselves as they truly are: Elizabeth recognizes her own prejudice, and Darcy recognizes his own pride. Pemberley is the perfect setting for the ultimate triumph of romantic love. After Elizabeth spurns Darcy, she eventually begins to regard her decision as a mistake, especially as she realizes that she might have been the mistress of Pemberley, in whose miles and miles of grounds she takes great delight.

BibliographyBloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Contains nine essays treating such topics as manners and propriety, love, intelligence, and society. Includes a chronology and bibliography.Brown, Julia Prewitt. Jane Austen’s Novels: Social Change and Literary Form. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979. A response to critics who claim that Austen does not write about important issues because she writes about domestic life. Choosing a spouse points to life’s complexity, which intelligent characters know; the foolish choose badly, dooming themselves and future generations.Gillie, Christopher. A Preface to Jane Austen. London: Longman, 1974. An invaluable guide that includes useful background material and brief discussions of Austen’s novels. A reference section contains notes on people and places of importance, maps, and explanations of numerous words used in the works. Amply illustrated. Annotated bibliography.Halperin, John, ed. Jane Austen: Bicentenary Essays. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975. A collection of essays on various aspects of Austen’s work. An excellent chapter by Robert B. Heilman explains how the title Pride and Prejucide defines the theme and the structure of the novel. In another essay, Karl Kroeber suggests some reasons for the work’s lasting popularity.Halperin, John. The Life of Jane Austen. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. A thorough and highly readable critical biography, written with the stated purpose of making Jane Austen “come alive.” Argues that neither Elizabeth Bennet nor any other character in the novels should be taken as representing so complex a person as Austen. Has perhaps the best summary available of the theories about the genesis of Pride and Prejudice. The book also includes a family tree, copious notes, and numerous illustrations.Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987. A detailed biography that depicts Austen’s life and work and provides a portrait of England and the age. The chapter on Pride and Prejudice focuses on the novel’s reflection of a changing society in which economics, social class, and character all affect individual happiness.Howe, Florence, ed. Tradition and the Talents of Women. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991. Feminist criticism of various writers. An essay by Jen Ferguson Carr notes that although both Mrs. Bennet and Elizabeth are excluded from power in a male-dominated society, only the daughter is intelligent enough to use language to “dissociate herself from her devalued position.”Kirkham, Margaret. Jane Austen, Feminism, and Fiction. Brighton, Sussex, England: Harvester Press, 1983. Although Elizabeth Bennet is the most appealing of Austen’s heroines, the novelist herself had misgivings about Pride and Prejudice, probably because its light-hearted ending depends upon Elizabeth’s losing her integrity. Concludes with a helpful summary of the critical tradition.McMaster, Juliet, ed. Jane Austen’s Achievement. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1976. A collection of six papers delivered at the Jane Austen Bicentennial Conference at the University of Alberta. Lloyd W. Brown’s chapter “The Business of Marrying and Mothering” and A. Walton Litz’s “‘A Development of Self’: Character and Personality in Jane Austen’s Fiction” both deal with Pride and Prejudice.Mansell, Darrel. The Novels of Jane Austen: An Interpretation. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1973. An interesting interpretation that insists Austen is less interested in imitating reality than in depicting the psychological progress of Elizabeth and Darcy. The chapter on Pride and Prejudice provides an excellent analysis of Austen’s use of irony.Moler, Kenneth L. “Pride and Prejudice”: A Study in Artistic Economy. Boston: Twayne, 1989. Intended as a student’s companion to the novel, a useful book for the first-time reader of Jane Austen. Includes a historical context and critical reception of the novel. Also examines the themes of moral blindness and self-knowledge, art, and nature, as well as Austen’s use of symbolism, language, and literary allusion.Smith, LeRoy W. Jane Austen and the Drama of Woman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen shows the ideal marriage as depending upon overcoming the institution’s “threat to selfhood.” Unlike most women of her period, Elizabeth Bennet insists both on choosing her own husband and on retaining her intellectual and emotional independence.Sulloway, Alison G. Jane Austen and the Province of Womanhood. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989. Pointing out that in nineteenth century society men had “rights” and women had “duties,” this author examines the various areas in which women function in Austen’s novels, including the “Ballroom,” the “Drawing Room,” and the “Garden.” Sulloway’s approach is original and perceptive.Yaeger, Patricia, and Beth Kowaleski-Wallace, eds. Refiguring the Father: New Feminist Readings of Patriarchy. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. A collection of essays on various writers. In “The Humiliation of Elizabeth Bennet,” Susan Fraiman argues that when Elizabeth Bennet marries Darcy, she is exchanging a passive, permissive father for a father figure who, as a strong-willed male of lofty social status, may give her ease but will certainly take away her independence.
Categories: Places