First published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is the most polished of Jane Austen’s novels, with a humorous and upbeat mood. It was written at a time when the author’s narrative powers were fully developed and the story flows with an ease that conceals the skill of its construction.
The plot line follows the sequence of a love relationship apprehended, misunderstood, and finally realized, which has since become a standard format of the romcom genre. However, Austen complicates the action by involving not one but four romantic relationships in the plot, and using settings featuring an ensemble of characters. In Austen’s other novels, the heroine is either single or one of a pair of sisters. In this novel, the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, has four sisters—all of whom are expected to join the hunt for suitable male partners.
Austen considered Elizabeth Bennet one of her most attractive characters, an opinion shared by generations of fans of her work.