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The world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is that of the country gentry of south-east England. Even in her own time, this was a world inhabited by a small minority of the British population. The Industrial Revolution had led to increasing urbanization, and the growth not only of London, but of the newer cities in the midlands and north such as Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham. Although Jane Austen’s novels portray, to a degree, a life that was familiar to many of the readers who had subscriptions to the circulating libraries (women from moderately prosperous families), her work does not portray the worlds of the working classes, of dissenters, of northern or western England or the Celtic fringe, the lives of tradesmen or the poor, etc. and thus would have been unfamiliar to all but the types of people portrayed in the novels.
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