Pride and Prejudice, romantic novel by Jane Austen, published anonymously in three volumes in 1813. A classic of English literature, written with incisive wit and superb character delineation, it centres on the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner.
Pride and Prejudice is set in rural England in the early 19th century, and it follows the Bennet family, which includes five very different sisters. Mrs. Bennet is anxious to see all her daughters married, especially as the modest family estate is to be inherited by William Collins when Mr. Bennet dies. At a ball, the wealthy and newly arrived Charles Bingley takes an immediate interest in the eldest Bennet daughter, the beautiful and shy Jane. The encounter between his friend Darcy and Elizabeth is less cordial. Although Austen shows them intrigued by each other, she reverses the convention of first impressions: pride of rank and fortune and prejudice against the social inferiority of Elizabeth’s family hold Darcy aloof, while Elizabeth is equally fired both by the pride of self-respect and by prejudice against Darcy’s snobbery. The pompous Collins subsequently arrives, hoping to marry one of the Bennet sisters. Elizabeth, however, refuses his offer of marriage, and he instead becomes engaged to her friend Charlotte Lucas. During this time, Elizabeth encounters the charming George Wickham, a military officer. There is a mutual attraction between the two, and he informs her that Darcy has denied him his inheritance.
Jane Austen, (born December 16, 1775, Steventon, Hampshire, England—died July 18, 1817, Winchester, Hampshire), English writer who first gave the novel its distinctly modern character through her treatment of ordinary people in everyday life. She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century.