A Preview of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, by Susannah Fullerton

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

On January 28, 1813, Jane Austen’s most popular novel Pride and Prejudice was published in three volumes by T. Egerton, Whitehall, London. 2013 will mark the Bicentenary anniversary—200 years of the classic story of Mr. Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth Bennet’s prejudice—and all of her other very memorable characters. Few will dispute the novel’s lasting impact on writers and readers.

There will be much to celebrate next year, including many new books honoring Austen’s classic tome. The first up on my reading list will be Susannah Fullerton’s Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, published on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013. And—what a great way to ring in the New Year it shall be. Here is a brief description from the publisher.


Jane Austen’s brilliant work Pride and Prejudice is incomparable for its wit, humor, and insights into how we think and act—and how our “first impressions” (the book’s initial title) can often be remarkably off-base. On the two-hundredth anniversary of the book’s publication, Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, written by preeminent Austen scholar Susannah Fullerton, delves into what makes Pride and Prejudice such a groundbreaking masterpiece. Fullerton explores the story behind the book’s creation, its initial reception, and its tremendous legacy, from the many films inspired by the book (such as the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth) to the even more numerous “sequels,” adaptations, and mash-ups.

Pride and Prejudice MGM (1940) five Bennet sisters

Interspersed throughout are fascinating stories about Austen’s brief engagement, the “Darcin” pheromone, the ways in which Pride and Prejudice served as bibliotherapy in the World War I trenches, and much more. Celebrating Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful celebration of a book that has had an immeasurable influence on literature and on anyone who has had the good fortune to discover it.


Susannah Fullerton is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia (the largest literary society in the country), a post she has held for the past fifteen years. She is a popular literary lecturer, the author of Jane Austen and Crime and many articles about Austen, and the co-editor of Jane Austen: Antipodean Views.

My “first impressions” of this tribute to one of my favorite novels was the stunning cover resplendent with the plume of a peacock (the iconic symbol or pride) and appropriately in peacock blue! As I peruse the pages I am impressed that the book is really a substantial offering at 240 pages and stuffed with full color vintage and contemporary images. The chapters are broken down to interesting topics such the writing of, the reactions to, the style of, the heroine, the hero, illustrations, sequels and adaptations, theatrical versions, and a whole chapter devoted to the famous first sentence: (if you forgot what it is, I’ll give you a hint—“It is a truth universally  acknowledged…


  • Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, by Susannah Fullerton
  • Voyageur Press (2013)
  • Hardcover (240) pages
  • ISBN: 978-0760344361
  • Genre: Literary Criticism


We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, and author bio courtesy of Voyageur © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2012, austenprose.com. Updated 13 March 2022.

41 thoughts on “A Preview of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, by Susannah Fullerton

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  1. . “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

    It is just such a heartfelt declaration of Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth.


  2. My favorite quote from the book is actually this exchange between Lizzie and Darcy:
    “And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”
    “And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

    It stands out because they call each other out on what they don’t like about the other. Not only that, but it shows that Darcy cares enough to let Lizzie know what he honestly thinks.


  3. “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Lizzie. One of my favorite that I use to bolster my strength whenever I am feeling weak. Lizzie is the ultimate strong female role model for me.


  4. “Yes,” replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer, “but that was only when I first saw her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.”

    He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.

    Caroline gets her well deserved come-uppance.


  5. The one that makes me cheer every time is this one by Mr. Bennet:

    “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.—Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

    Although, I have to say his other quip about being well acquainted with her nerves is a good one, too.


  6. My favorite quotation is Mr. Bennet’s response to Lydia’s scandalous behavior:

    on her (Elizabeth) briefly expressing her sorrow for what he must have endured, he replied, “Say nothing of that. Who should suffer but myself? It has been my own doing, and I ought to feel it.” “You must not be too severe upon yourself,” replied Elizabeth. “You may well warn me against such an evil. Human nature is so prone to fall into it! No, Lizzy, let me once in my life feel how much I have been to blame. I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will pass away soon enough.”


  7. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.
    Pride and Prejudice

    I love this quote because it shows the first glimpse of Darcy’s love (or liking) for Elizabeth! :)


  8. “I am only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”

    You have to admire her standing up to the bully that is Lady Catherine.


  9. There are so many good ones in this book, it’s hard to choose. Since “In vain I have struggled…” has already been used, I’ll say, “‘Till this moment, I never knew myself.” This quote comes to mind often in my daily life- like so many of Austen’s words, they are so versatile that they apply to many situations. In the book, this is the beautiful moment when Elizabeth realizes how wrong she’s been and sees everything differently, causing everything to fall into place.


  10. There is a part where the Bennets are visiting the Lucas family and Mrs. Bennet gets into an argument with one of the Lucas’ boys. It shows Mrs. Bennet’s inmaturity (one of those ‘Is” vs. “is not”). Then the narrator says, “..and the argument ended only with the visit.” LOL.


  11. “You mistake me, my dear. I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They’ve been my constant companion these twenty years. .” Mr Bennet


  12. Elizabeth entreats Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her:
    “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
    That is how a strong, proud, self-assured man falls in love: utterly, wholly, and completely so much that he forgot which way was up. *sigh*


  13. There are so many great quote from P&P, but I’ll say this one: “You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.” Elizabeth to Darcy

    I love how she defends herself after that frist proposal. I wish I could have a quick mind like Elizabeth!



  14. There are so many good quotes from P&P, but I love the opening line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”


  15. To avoid duplicating favorite quotes, I would like to like to put this one out there: “She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous.” The “story” is when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth first meet at the assembly and she overhears Mr. Darcy’s comment “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men,”

    I like the description of Elizabeth, and I think the screenwriter, Andrew Davies had this in mind when he includes the scene of Elizabeth playing with Bingley’s dogs at Netherfield (to demonstrate her “playful disposition”) when she is visiting Jane — this is in the 1995 version of P&P with our ever favorite Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.


  16. My favorite line is “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

    I just love this because reading is the part of my day I look forward to the most. Plus I kinda judge people by the library or lack of. I prefer friends who are well read and it doesn’t have to be the same books I like to read. I like someone who I can have a conversation with that can dissect a book and analyze it.

    This book has been on my wish list on Amazon since it first became available for preorder. Hope I win a copy.



  17. First, thank you for the generous offer…..

    In Ch 56, one of Miss Austen’s finest discourses is Lady Catherine confronting and trying to use her station to intimidate Elizabeth over her possible marriage to Mr. Darcy:

    “You are then resolved to have him?”

    “I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”

    This unforgettable exchange puts the label of HERIONE on Elizabeth in bold, underlined, and capital letters. It is Elizabeth’s intelligent courage here that I admire and Mr. Darcy dearly loves!

    Obviously, all of Ch 56 is too large to paste in here but this is a masterpiece of dialogue. You go girl! Such is Miss Austen’s genius…


  18. “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
    Mr. Bennet is my favorite character (aside from Lizzy and Darcy, of course!). I love that he is willing to support Elizabeth’s wishes and stick up for her happiness rather than follow his wife’s conception of what marriage should be. While he has been a quiet source of bemusement throughout the novel, here is where he really takes a major stance.


  19. Hmmm….the whole book is a lovely quote (too long to copy/paste here) so I’ll have to go with the line that kicks it off:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.


  20. “If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”


  21. I would have to say: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Because it starts out this amazing book!


  22. My favorite is the opening line because it sets the tone of the novel, and told me as soon as I read it that the author had a sense of humor I would enjoy immensely.


  23. “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” This is my favorite because it seems that JA is describing herself as well as her character in P&P.


  24. It would be almost impossible to pick one favorite quote from the whole book…it is just a masterpiece! But I like the sassy little piece in Mrs. Gardener’s letter where she say Darcy needs a little more liveliness –
    “And that, if he marry prudently, his wife may teach him. I thought him very sly…he hardly ever mentioned your name. But slyness seems the fashion.”
    I think HER very sly for such cute allusion to their romance and her little tease of Elizabeth and her suitability for the great Mr. Darcy!


  25. “I have not the pleasure of understanding you.”
    ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
    I love hearing the stories of people’s lives, not the gossip, the hopes an dreams and the story of their becoming.
    I love that Jane looked past what people present to the world, to see who they really are.


  26. “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,’ said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

    This is one of my favorites- though it’s hard to narrow it down!- because it really gives some perspective on his behavior. My daughter has Aspbergers, and even after years of training social interaction is still difficult for her. Not saying that Darcy had autism, but I do think he had some genuine social difficulties.


  27. What a wonderful range of favourite quotes! They show just how loved this marvellous novel is, and also how hard it can be to choose just one quote from amongst so many gems.
    Thanks for your lovely comments about my book, Laurel Ann. I’m starting to get some great feedback from readers and am just thrilled that my book is giving such enjoyment and also new information. So far every reader has said that my book has made them immediately want to rush back to read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ all over again.
    I have written a few books on Jane Austen, but no book has given me such joy to write as did ‘Celebrating Pride and Prejudice’. I sometimes forgot that my family might need dinner – I got so lost in the world of the Bennets, Bingleys and Darcys.
    I learned a lot while researching and writing it, and it made me think about the book in new ways. For example, when writing about Elizabeth Bennet I stopped to think about her entry into the novel, the way she is introduced to the first-time reader (for many of us, that’s quite some time ago!). Sitting at my desk, I realised I didn’t know what Elizabeth’s very first spoken words in the novel actually are. She is spoken of for many pages before she actually gets to say something herself. So I had to pick up the book and go through to find Elizabeth’s very first utterance. And I found that her first spoken words are to contradict her mother! In an age when conduct-book heroines were the norm, when daughters were supposed to be meek, quiet, docile and obedient, we get this revolutionary heroine who begins her literary life with a contradiction. Some contemporary readers disapproved of Elizabeth’s independence and outspoken ways, but it is her wit, strength and independent spirit which make us modern readers love Elizabeth so much! I hope all my readers will enjoy my chapter about this gorgeous heroine – I certainly loved writing it.
    Keep sending in fabulous quotes we can all share, and I hope whoever wins my book loves every page of it.


  28. I was extremely firtunate in being able to read one of the first copies available of this new book. At the conclusion of her assessment of Pride & Prejudice, Susannah Fullerton likens the novel to the ultimate precious stone. Her book provides the ideal reading companion for JA’s most famous creation. From the Austen novice to the dedicated Janeite, there is something here to resonate with all. Far from losing sight of the unique sparkling tone of her subject, the author demonstrates perfect pitch in her discussion of the famous opening sentence, full range of characters, film and theatre versions and the industry that has grown from them. And there is much more besides, showing the author’s deep knowledge of and affection for P&P. Here is a celebration that deserves complete appreciation.


  29. When Darcy and Elizabeth are talking after Lady Catherine has an argument with Elizabeth about whether or not Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged:

    “It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly.”

    I love this part because it shows just how much Darcy knows and understands Elizabeth and her actions. She does not have to say how she feels, instead, it was the fact that she didn’t say anything that gave Darcy the hope and encouragement to propose to her once again.


  30. “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
    I love this quote because it’s a great example of Austen’s wonderful sense of humor and also of her brilliant way of developing characters through dialogue.


  31. My favorite quote from “Pride and Prejudice” is “Till this moment I never knew myself.” I used it as the quote in my high school yearbook. To me, it sums up Elizabeth’s journey of self-discovery.


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

    It means a lot to me since it’s saying you have to have money to be in need of a wife. Without money you can’t get anything even if there’s true love involved.


  33. I love this quote from Mr. Bennet “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.—Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.” Mr. Bennet is quite the character!


  34. When I recently reread P&P, I was struck by the narrator’s description of Mrs. Bennet at the end of Chapter 1: “The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.” In that one sentence, Austen nails down Mrs. Bennet’s entire character. Amazing!


  35. One of my favorite quotes is by Elizabeth in response to Mr. Darcy’s assertion that character study is useless in the country, as it is a “very confined and unvarying society.” She counters with, “But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.” I think this underscores one of the book’s great themes, that change is possible in everything, and more to point, within one’s self and between two people.


  36. Mrs. Bennet: “Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.”

    Mr. Bennet: “You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least.”

    I don’t know if it’s my all-time favorite– that would be a hard pick. But it’s certainly one of the favorites. Mrs. Bennet is always full of histrionics, and Mr. Bennet has learned how to deal with her after so many years. I love how he plays with her!


  37. What a wonderful giveaway! My favorite quote from P&P would be “And your defect is a propensity to hate every body.” “And yours,” he replied with a smile, ‘is wilfully to misunderstand them.” I just love this scene between Darcy and Elizabeth!!


  38. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” I love those lines. So much restrained passion and longing at a time when displays of affection were frowned upon (to say the least). I even bought a shirt on Etsy with that quotation inscribed on it. J’adore.


  39. There are so many lines I love (including many already mentioned), but one I especially like is: “Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.”

    Poor Mary! She’s overlooked even by the author and I can certainly relate to the feeling!


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