‘Pride and Prejudice’
It seems unlikely, yet it is by no means impossible, that all three novels written by Jane Austen at Steventon owed their origin, in part, to The Mysteries of Udolpho. Soon after the introduction of Mrs Radcliffe’ s heroine, we learn that her father St Aubert had instructed her ‘to resist first impressions, and to acquire that steady dignity of mind, that alone can counterbalance the passions’. In this brief passage we have the first title of Jane’ s novel, and an abstract of Elizabeth’ s progress vis-à-vis Fitzwilliam Darcy, after her discovery that early assurance and resentment had been based on misleading impressions and deceit. According to Cassandra Austen’ s note, First Impressions was written from October 1796 to August 1797. It must have given Mr Austen great satisfaction, for in the following November he offered the work to a publisher, describing it as a three-volume novel about the length of Fanny Burney’ s Evelina. The offer was declined immediately.
KeywordsMisleading Impression Love Story Social Prejudice Stage Personality Marriage Proposal
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- See Charles E. Edge, ‘Mansfield Park and Ordination’, Nine-teenth-Century Fiction, Dec. 1961.Google Scholar
- 1.See Janet Burroway, ‘The Irony of the Insufferable Prig’, The Critical Quarterly, 1967.Google Scholar
- 1.1R. A. Austen-Leigh, Austen Papers, 1704 – 1856, Spottiswoode, Ballantyne and Co. Ltd., 1942, p. 126.Google Scholar