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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

  1. How does the setting of early 19th-century England influence the characters and plot of "Pride and Prejudice"?
  2. Explore the theme of marriage in the novel. How do characters like Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, and Lydia Bennet view marriage? How does their perspective contrast with Elizabeth Bennet's?
  3. Discuss the role of social class in the novel. How do characters like Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Mr. Collins represent different aspects of the social hierarchy?
  4. Analyze the character development of Elizabeth Bennet throughout the novel. How does her perception of Mr. Darcy change over time, and what events contribute to this change?
  5. Contrast the relationships of Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley with that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. What similarities and differences do you notice in these relationships?
  6. How does Jane Austen use irony and satire to comment on the society of her time in "Pride and Prejudice"?
  7. Discuss the importance of reputation and gossip in the novel. How do characters like Wickham and Miss Bingley manipulate social perception for their own gain?
  8. Explore the role of women in "Pride and Prejudice." How do characters like Elizabeth, Jane, and Charlotte challenge or conform to societal expectations of women during the Regency era?
  9. Consider the title of the novel, "Pride and Prejudice." How do these two traits manifest in various characters, and how do they influence their decisions and interactions?
  10. What significance does the ending of the novel hold? How does the resolution of the various character arcs contribute to the overall themes of love, social status, and personal growth?

Jane Austen was an English novelist born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was the seventh of eight children born to George Austen, a clergyman, and Cassandra Leigh Austen. Jane and her siblings grew up in a close-knit family environment, and their upbringing was largely influenced by their father's profession and their mother's love of literature.

Austen received a formal education primarily at home, where she was taught by her father and had access to his extensive library. Her education included reading literature, history, and philosophy, as well as learning French and some Italian. Austen showed an early interest in writing, and she began crafting stories, poems, and plays during her adolescence.

In 1801, the Austen family moved to Bath, a fashionable city known for its social scene. During her time in Bath, Jane began to write more seriously, completing the drafts of several novels, including "Northanger Abbey," "Sense and Sensibility," and "Pride and Prejudice." Despite her efforts to publish her work, she faced rejection from publishers.

In 1809, after the death of her father, Jane, her mother, and her sister Cassandra moved to Chawton, a village in Hampshire, where they lived in a cottage provided by Jane's brother Edward. It was during her time in Chawton that Austen revised and published some of her most famous works, including "Sense and Sensibility" (1811), "Pride and Prejudice" (1813), "Mansfield Park" (1814), and "Emma" (1815).

Austen's novels are known for their sharp wit, social commentary, and keen observation of the manners and morals of English society during the Regency era. Her works often explore themes such as love, marriage, social class, and the role of women in society. Despite writing anonymously during her lifetime, Austen's novels gained popularity and critical acclaim, and she achieved literary success.

Jane Austen never married and led a relatively quiet life centered around her family and writing. She continued to write and revise her novels until her health began to decline in the early 1810s. Austen died on July 18, 1817, at the age of 41, in Winchester, Hampshire, England. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Although Austen's literary career was relatively brief, her novels have endured as classics of English literature, and she is celebrated for her wit, insight, and enduring portrayal of human nature and society. Her works continue to be studied, adapted, and enjoyed by readers around the world.


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