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Shapard, David M., ed. The annotated Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.

SHAPARD, David M., ed. The annotated Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. Random House, Anchor. 739p. illus. bibliog. c2004.0-307-27810-4. $16.95. SA

Jane Austen's most popular novel is presented here with some 2,300 annotations on facing pages, including illustrations, maps, and a chronology of events in the story. True, many of the notes are definitions, but the others are lengthy expositions on the following categories found in the bibliography: the language of the period, everyday life, marriage and the family, the position of women, female education, entails and settlements, money and finance, landed society, housekeeping and servants, the rural world, urban life, London, the professions, the church and clergy, the army, law and lawyers, medicine, higher education, books and publishing, libraries, the press, writing, the postal service, transportation, hunting, the theatre, tourism, music and dance, interior decoration, country houses, dress, food and drink, etiquette, and dueling morals, social norms, inheritance laws, marriage, the ministry, education, the military, music, and fashion. The annotations will be of interest to those familiar with the novel and a useful accompaniment to those new to the work and life in the early 19th century. Shapard's introduction emphasizes the importance of theme in the book and the critical choice of hero and heroine--the pride of Darcy and the prejudice of Elizabeth. And Elizabeth did make the better catch--Darcy's 10,000 pounds a year and a huge estate made him one of the wealthiest men in England at that time. Jane's Mr. Bingley has only four or five thousand a year. Jane Austen herself lived most of her life on less than five hundred a year. Janet Julian, English Teacher (retired), Grafton, MA

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Author:Julian, Janet
Date:May 1, 2007
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