Today is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a book that over the years seems to have drawn as many interpretations and critical approaches as it has drawn readers.
There are those who simply enjoy the plot, those who praise the character studies, those who see an earnest depiction of romance, and those who see the characters so mercilessly drawn as to be not so much earnest as satirical. There are those who see a democratic message in the cross-class match between protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. There are those who, on the contrary, see the courtship as being, as much as anything, about these two individuals’ sense of superiority to everyone around them. That’s before you even get to Edward Said.
An email this afternoon from Atlantic contributing editor Sage Stossel pointed out that The Atlantic was already joining in on the debate about Austen in February of 1863.
From The Atlantic on “The Atlantic’s 1863 Case for Why Jane Austen is Great” by Heather Horn
After 200 years, we’re still talking about it. To me, that’s just spectacular! ~S