General Editor's preface ix Acknowledgements xiii Chronology xv Introduction xxii Note on the text lxxix Pride and Prejudice 1Corrections and emendations to 1813 text 432Phomas Egerton and the publication history 437Legal and military background 441Pemberley and its models 452Note on the second and third editions of Pride and Prejudice 456Abbreviations 459Explanatory notes 461 - were published, and for much of that time writers and critics have passionately disagreed about the true caliber of her work.Austen's books received a few respectful reviews and lively attention from the reading public during her lifetime, but it wasn't until nearly thirty years after her death that some critics began to recognize her enduring artistic accomplishment--and others to debate it.It is well to remember that in the early years of the century, when Thomas Arnold saw his first train tearing through the Rugby countryside he said: "Feudality is gone forever." So close was it possible then to feel to the immemorial, static feudal way of life; so quickly was that way of life to vanish as the modern world laboured to be born.
But Austen's strongest suit is her thorough knowledge and happy delineation of human nature.
Throughout the early years of the century the cities were growing at a great rate; the network of canals was completed, the main roads were being remade.
Regency London, in particular, boomed and became, among other things, a great centre of fashion.
Living amidst the cultural fallout from the self-absorbed, sensibility-prone 1960s, we appreciate Austen's emphasis on reason, moderation, fidelity, and consideration for others.
Austen wrote her books at the dawn of the nineteenth century, when vast social changes were already encroaching on the way of life she so loved and rendered with such exquisite artistry.