Homework Help

Explain the meaning of this comment by Jane Austen on Pride and Prejudice.“rather...

user profile pic

dreams99 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:35 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Explain the meaning of this comment by Jane Austen on Pride and Prejudice.

“rather too light, and bright, and sparkling. It wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, unconnected with the story"

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:26 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

In a now famous letter to her sister Cassandra on 14th February 1813, Jane Austen wrote,

“rather too light, and bright, and sparkling. It ["Pride and Prejudice"]  wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, unconnected with the story"

Jane Austen first began writing her second novel "First Impressions" in the year 1796 and completed it in 1797. It was immediately rejected by the publisher. Later on, she revised it extensively and published it as "Pride and Prejudice" in 1813.

In this letter Jane Austen expresses her apprehensions as soon as "Pride and Prejudice" was published. When "Pride and Prejudice" was first published in 1813 the Sentimental Novel was very popular. This type of a novel was characterized by excessive pathos and moralizing and was solemn in tone. "Pride and Prejudice" is so unlike a Sentimental Novel. It is actually an Anti-Sentimental novel sparkling with wit and humor like a Comedy of Manners play. Jane Austen confides to her sister her fear that "Pride and Prejudice" might meet the same fate as "First Impressions."

But she needn't have feared at all because as soon as "Pride and Prejudice" was published it became an instant bestseller, and today it has gained the status of a world classic and continues to be a perennial favorite with millions of readers all over the world. The reason being it is "rather too light, and bright, and sparkling," and because it does not contain "a long chapter of sense," or a chapter "of solemn specious nonsense unconnected with the story."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes