Critical Reception

  • Raymond Wilson
Part of the Macmillan Master Guides book series


The critical attention given to Pride and Prejudice on its publication was in general favourable and encouraging. In the British Critic, February 1813, the anonymous reviewer has confidence enough to declare:

It [Pride and Prejudice] is very far superior to almost all the publications of the kind which have lately come before us. It has a very unexceptionable tendency, the story is well told, the characters remarkably well drawn and supported, and written with great spirit as well as vigour.

But there is little analysis to back up this judgement, and the ‘very unexceptionable tendency’ of the story (its rectitude in tone and content) is what primarily commends it to the reviewer. Literary judgements at this period were generally subordinated to moral considerations, as a second anonymous reviewer, writing in the March 1813 issue of the Critical Review, clearly testifies:

An excellent lesson may be learned from the elopement of Lydia:—the work also shows the folly of letting young girls have their own way, and the danger which they incur in associating with the officers, who may be quartered in or near their residence.


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© Raymond Wilson 1985

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  • Raymond Wilson

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