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Pride and Prejudice

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History Behind Pride and Prejudice

 What audience was Austen writing to?
All of Austen's works were published under a psudonym, and it was not publicly known that she was a writer until her brother annouced it after her death. Austen was concerned about her own social status because of the fact that she criticized the very people she was writing for. Austen's audience was the middle and upper classes of England, to demostrate the seeming idiocy of their social world.
 What was going on in the world when P&P was published?
The Napoleonic Wars were in full force, which caused the threatened safety of monarchies throughout Europe. Repression of writers, women, and the public in general was widespread and commonly felt. The government was also prone to frequent censorship of literature.
What historical information is alluded to in the novel?
The Napoleanic Wars, which were in full swing during the years Austen was writing and publishing Pride and Prejudice, are alluded to in various parts of the novel. Mr. Wickham is an officer in the local militia, which brings him higher status because military men were especially looked upon as socially acceptable.
 What significance do important historical events have to the novel?
The England depicted in Pride and Prejudice is one of limited social mobility and strong class-consciousness. At the time the book was written, the social stratification and class divisions of Regency England were severe and rooted in wealth and family status. Austen is critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper-class England, and focuses on the differences between internal and external merit. She both satirizes the elite and laughs at the misbehaviors of the lower class, all stemmed from the basics of life at that time period.
(this page by ML)

“My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.”
(Austen, #1)

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