Which Edition of Pride and Prejudice Should You Read?

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen

Thus began one of the most beloved novels ever written.

The popularity of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, 200 years after its publication, cannot be debated…however, which edition should you read, gift, or collect?

Here is a list of my favorite editions currently in print for pleasure readers, students, collectors, and Austen fans.

Enjoy!


GORGEOUS COVERS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Signet Classics), by Jane Austen (2008)

There are 1,000s of paperback editions of this classic in print. With so many choices, I recommend the Signet Classics edition for the first-time reader and the veteran. In addition to the full-unabridged text it includes an excellent introduction by Austen scholar Margaret Drabble, which is both accessible and enlightening, and an entertaining afterword by bestselling historical romance author Eloisa James. The new cover is also appealing to a modern reader.

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Penguin Drop Caps), by Jane Austen (2012)

Sometimes you just want a beautiful cover to admire as much as what is inside. This striking red edition with a boldly stamped “A” for Austen is the first in a series of 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by type superstar Jessica Hische.  

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Barnes & Nobel Classics), by Jane Austen (2015)

I love this cover because it is my favorite color, and the design is so appealing. It is part of the Barnes & Nobel “flexibound” editions of collectible classics that also includes Austen’s Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. No Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey yet, I am sorry to say. Of my many editions of Jane Austen’s novels, this takes in pride of place on my bookshelf because it is colorful and beautiful.  

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ILLUSTRATED EDITIONS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE UNFOLDED: RETOLD IN PICTURES, by Jane Austen, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander (2015)

If you are in a hurry, or just enjoy beautiful illustrations, this fold-out concertina style Pride and Prejudice is fast and fun. Lushly illustrated by Becca Stadtlander, and part of the Classics Unfolded series, this title is protected by a gorgeous slipcase. By condensing the story into 14 scenes, it is a perfect introduction to a young reader as well.

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Folio Society), by Jane Austen, illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso (2013)

Any Jane Austen fan would give their eye teeth for this glorious, illustrated collector’s edition from the Folio Society, a small press in England who create exquisite fine editions of classics. This beautifully designed book includes the full-unabridged text of Jane Austen’s novel, an introduced by Austen scholar Sebastian Faulks, and the stunning full-color illustrations by sisters Anna and Elena Balbusso. Swoon!

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CLASSICS REIMAGINED, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, illustrated by Alice Pattullo (2017)

Charming, delightful, and enchanting, this edition is part of the Classics Reimagined series that includes a full-unabridged text and full-color, folkloric illustrations by contemporary artist, Alice Pattullo. It comes in hardcover and soft cover binding too.

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THE OXFORD ILLUSTRATED JANE AUSTEN: VOLUMNE II: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, edited by R. W. Chapman (1988)

A stalwart classic, this edition is part of a set of Austen’s novels and minor works. Edited by the eminent Austen scholar R.W. Chapman in the 1920s, it is lightly illustrated with early nineteenth-century plates. It also contains excellent supplemental material to add to your enjoyment and understanding of the novel, Jane Austen’s writing, and the era in which she lived.

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ANNOTATED EDITIONS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: AN ANNOTATED EDITION, by Jane Austen, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks (2010)

My favorite annotated edition, this beautifully illustrated and extensively annotated edition was edited by distinguished scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks. It included a full-unabridged text, a lengthy introduction, notes on the text, social context, and numerous full-color and black and white illustrations and reproductions of paintings in support of the story. It is just dazzling..

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THE ANNOTATED PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, annotated and edited by David M. Shapard (2007)

A sheer delight for Jane Austen fans, this volume contains a massive resource of 2,300 annotations from prominent Austen scholar David M. Shappard. It includes a full-unabridged text, explanations of historical context, citations from Austen’s life, letters and other writings, definitions, literary comments and analysis, maps and illustrations, an introduction, a bibliography, and a detailed chronology of events. It is truly a Pride and Prejudice gold mine.  

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GIFT EDITIONS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Easton Press), by Jane Austen, illustrated by Hugh Thomson (2021)

The 1894 “Peacock” edition of Pride and Prejudice is the most valued and collectible of the late 19th century re-issues of Austen’s novels. In addition to its striking cover, it contained 160 illustrations by Hugh Thomson. If you were to find a vintage copy it could cost as you much as $9,000! Easton Press has reproduced the book with some improvements. It has recreated each page of the full text, the illustrations, and the cover and upgraded it by binding it in full-leather and encasing it in a custom slipcase. It’s not cheap, but nothing really worth having is!

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, illustrated by Marjolein Bastin (2021)

The internationally celebrated artwork of Marjolein Bastin graces the pages of the timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice. Beyond bringing the full text to life, this edition includes elaborately designed ephemera, such as four-color maps, letters, family trees, and sheet music. I lovely edition in which you will spend hours enjoying the extras and illustrations.

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: THE COMPLETE NOVEL, WITH NINETEEN LETTERS FROM THE CHARACTERS’ CORRESPONDENCE, by Jane Austen & Barbara Heller (2020)

This deluxe edition includes re-creations of the nineteen letters exchanged between characters within the full text. Each will transport you even further into Jane Austen’s world than you have experienced before. Designed with gorgeous calligraphy and housed in glassine pockets placed throughout the novel, what a thrill it is to hold and read Mr. Darcy’s “Be not alarmed” letter to Elizabeth that changes the course of the novel.

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JANE AUSTEN’S PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: A BOOK-TO-TABLE CLASSICS (Puffin Plated), by Jane Austen, recipes by Martha Stewart (2018)

This edition combines a deluxe, full-color hardback edition of the perennial Jane Austen classic with a selection of recipes for tea-time treats by the one and only Martha Stewart!

Jane Austen + Martha Stewart = a Regency tea party in full costume. Too fun!

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CRITICAL EDITIONS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Oxford World’s Classics), by Jane Austen, introduction and notes by Christina Lupton, edited by James Kinsley (3rd edition, 2020)

This recently revised edition is a must for students, young and old. The contents include a full unabridged text, introduction, notes on the text, select bibliography, a chronology of Jane Austen, appendices on rank, social standing, dancing, textual notes, and explanatory notes.

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Penguin Classics), by Jane Austen, introduction by Tony Tanner and Vivien Jones, edited by Vivien Jones (2006)

As the years have rolled along, these expanded and supplemented editions of literary classics just get better and better. This Penguin edition of Pride and Prejudice is excellent. Edited with introduction and notes by Vivien Jones, it also includes the original introduction by Tony Tanner. The enriched eBook includes even more material: notes, nineteenth-century reviews of the novel, a chronology, suggested further reading, appendices on what Austen ate, how to prepare tea, Austen sites to visit in England, maps of locations in Pride and Prejudice, etiquette and dancing in Austen’s day, and period illustrations. That is quite a bundle.  

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GRAPHIC NOVELS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Marvel Illustrated), by Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler, illustrated by Hugo Petrus (2009)

Modified for the modern reader by two-time Rita Award-Winner Nancy Butler, this Marvel Comics version of Pride and Prejudice is as light, bright, and sparkling as a comic book edition can be. The numerous illustrations by popular graphic novel artist Hugo Petras are entertaining and amusing.   

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CHILDREN’S EDITIONS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Usborne Young Reading Series), by Jane Austen, adapted by Susanna Davidson, illustrated by Simona Bursi (2011)

Abridging and adapting the text of an early nineteenth century classic of English literature for a younger audience is challenge. Susanna Davidson’s version is the best that I have encountered. Along with the excellent full-color illustrations by Simon Bursi, and the larger sized format, you can proudly gift this beautiful edition to both young and old.  

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SEARCH AND FIND PRIDE & PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen, adapted by Sarah Powell, illustrated by Amanda Enright (2017)

I liked this search and find edition of Pride and Prejudice so much that I purchased several copies for my Austen friends. One is a schoolteacher who shared it with her delighted students, the other is a big graphic novel reader, and the other loves games of all kind. They were all thrilled to receive it.

Each page has a two-sided color illustration of a scene in the novel with many objects and characters hidden within it. The objective is to search and find – like where’s Waldo in Jane Austen’s novel. Accompanied by an abridged text, this edition is perfect for sharing with little ones too.  

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AUDIOBOOKS

PRIDE AND PREJDUICE, by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson (2021)

I have listened to many audio recordings of Jane Austen’s most popular novel over the years. This new edition by Naxos Audiobooks is read by esteemed British actress Juliet Stevenson. It contains 14 hours and 2 minutes of pure bliss and is the best by far. Stevenson brings us a flawless performance by using her years of acting experience on stage and screen to each character by giving them unique voices, inflection, drama, and humor. It is delightful.

ADDITIONAL INFO


I hope you find the Pride and Prejudice edition of your dreams from my curated list. Please share if I have missed your favorite.

Best, Laurel Ann Nattress, editor


We purchased a copy of the book for our own enjoyment, or we received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover images are used courtesy of the respective publishers; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2022, austenprose.com. This post was last updated on February 22, 2022.

24 thoughts on “Which Edition of Pride and Prejudice Should You Read?

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  1. Great list – looks like I have some reading to do! I confess I don’t actually own ANY editions of Pride & Prejudice (or, for that matter, any of her books). I often go to the bookstore, stand in front of the Jane Austen section and stare at all the editions, wondering which one to buy. I’m always torn between the ones with beautiful covers and the ones with intriguing commentary. Perhaps I should read some of these and just…choose a couple! ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For the Greater Boston Jane Austen Bookclub meetup’s reading of P&P, I borrowed from the library the Best “friendly” edition The Annotated Pride and Prejudice (Anchor Books), introduction and annotation by David M. Shapard. I greatly enjoyed it once I got used to reading the annotations. I especially liked some of the comments when characters “lie”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice list,Laurel-I also have the Modern Library edition as well as the Penguin Classics(the non deluxe one)and the Annotated,which is extremely extensive!

    In addition to those,my P&Ps included a ML hardcover tie-in to the BCC series(the one that Tom Hanks tries to read in You’ve Got Mail), a Paperback BOMC with the Hugh Thomson illustrations and a small red with gold trim hardbound from 1927 with illustrations by Charles Brock.

    That last one I bought during my one and only trip to England(so far,anyway) in a little bookshop at Lyme Regis. Funny,but I didn’t come across a copy of Persuasion there(did find the screenplay from the 1995 film version,however!). Sorry for going off the P&P track there-my bad:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve studied Regency and Victorian fiction, both academically and just for fun. And so I thought I knew enough of the historical background and daily facts (social standings, money equivalents, food, etc.) to give me a full appreciation of Austen’s books. And, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice a number of times using a number of editions. Reading now with the Anchor annotated edition has made a tremendous difference and enhanced my pleasure immeasurably. I sometimes disagree with the opinion and analysis, but that just makes it more fun, almost like having a teacher and a book club all in one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice list! I LOVE the Annotated Pride & Prejudice!!! My dad laughed at me when I bought it, but I really and truly love it. Massive amounts of information tucked in neatly, and it’s just pretty. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved the list. I love my annotated version best. Then I don’t know which of the others I own would compare with your list at the moment. But I have two others. I love the cover detail espescially that you gave.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great list! I am sooo glad that I’m not the only one who has more than one copy of P&P. Everytime I go to the bookstore I take a few minutes and look for any new cover that strikes my fancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Where’s the Norton Critical Edition? As an English major, Norton Critical Editions are just about the best you can get if you’re looking for a “powerhouse” edition. I have several different copies of P&P and the Norton is the one I access when I want to delve deeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Retro Penguin Books is delightful to hold & read – iTune have many audio readers for Pride & Prejudice – Lindsay Duncan (Lost in Austen/Under the Tuscan Sun/A Year in Provence) reads with not many changes of voice yet her timing is impeccable and thus you can “hear” the character.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely list, Laurel Ann! – one can never have too many editions of P&P! [I cease to count…] – all the various introductions by scholars [love best Tony Tanner’s analyses and that Penguin thoughtfully reprinted his P&P essay in their newest edition] – I do not have the White’s, so you have convinced me to add yet another – alas! no shelf space, so will also take your suggestion to put it on a table…

    [and I agree with Mary Kathryn – the ‘”twighlighted” cover is awful…]
    Deb

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  11. I personally love the Annotated version of Pride and Prejudice. I love how the entire novel is on the left hand of the page and the annotations are on the right hand side of the novel – that way you are not constantly flipping to the back. I also love knowing more about the context and little things about the Victorian Age.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I knew Pride and Prejudice was good but I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my cash (hell I was wrong) so I just bought the cheap Penguin classics version.

    No commentary or notes whatsoever. Just the pure old English language I barely understood. But it was in that way that I understood bit by bit the story through rereading it for a couple of times. You can say, self taught.

    That’s a very good list LA. I think I saw the Penguin Classics and Penguin Classics Deluxe edition at the bookstore. I might give in and buy!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “But now really, do not you think Udolpho the nicest book in the world?”

    “The nicest—by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend upon the binding.” (Northanger Abbey, Ch. 14)

    Pride and Prejudice is great no matter what the binding :)

    I really like my copy of Pride and Prejudice—the replica of the ‘peacock edition’, illustrated by Hugh Thomson—it is beautiful. The illustrations are hilarious! Hugh Thomson definitely had a sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The first two for the cover art, the last two for the extra content… must balance vanity with the improvement of my mind by extensive reading! ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I currently have the Barnes & Noble edition, though I recently picked up the Penguin Classics edtion as well. The print is good in both, though I wonder out loud what would be the best “large print” edition out there (I assume that there is at least one available).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I must add that I bought the Jane Austen app for my iPhone. This way when I’m caught waiting in line or have to endure a ball game at a friend’s house, I can just pull out my iPhone and read an Austen novel.

    Thanks for the list. I do plan to collect the real books, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have to admit, I really do like the cover of the penguin deluxe edition. However my favorite edition is the new penguin classics one with the yellow cover. While the yellow does tend to look a little garish, the fabric lining the novel is reminiscent of an older time. In my opinion, that edition is the best to read on a rainy/snowy day, by your fireplace, with a hot cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’d add one more to this list: the 2020 edition curated by Barbara Heller which includes “Nineteen Letters from the Characters’ Correspondence, Written and Folded by Hand”. Her commentary on the ins and outs of the postal service and correspondence conventions of the period is interesting, and having the letters, especially some of the key letters, is a lot of fun.The print is a bit on the small side and the paper is thin enough that the ink shows thru from the other side a bit more than usual, but if you ever wanted to see Darcy’s exculpatory letter to Elizabeth, or Jane’s letters to Lizzy about Lydia, treat yourself to this edition.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My favorite is the Marvel graphic novel of Pride adn Prejudice, adapted by regency author Nancy Butler and with marvelous illustratons. (The artists in the other Marvel adaptatons don’t impress me as much.)

    But really, my favorite edition of Pride and Prejudice, or any Austen, is just the plain text on plain paper. It all takes place in my head, just Ms Austen telling me a story, and I am not troubled by visualizations which clash with what she says to me :)

    Liked by 1 person

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