The Critical review: or, Annals of. - Internet Archive

Posted by 2018  •  article

This review of Pride and Prejudice appeared in the journal The Critical Review in March 1813, two months after the novel’s publication. Like Jane Austen , The Critical Review was politically Tory. The review is anonymous.

The reviewer describes in detail the plot and characters of Pride and Prejudice . Today, readers tend to regard the novel primarily as a love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. Here, the reviewer identifies Elizabeth as the main character, but emphasises that the novel is the story of a whole family. He suggests that this distinguishes Pride and Prejudice from most novels of the time, in which ‘the whole interest of the tale hang[s] upon one or two characters’.

The reviewer compares Elizabeth Bennet to Beatrice in William Shakespeare ’s play Much Ado About Nothing . Beatrice is a witty and independent-minded woman who despises men and marriage. She argues continually with Benedick, the hero of the play, yet the lively, punning character of their arguments mark them out as well-matched, just as Elizabeth and Darcy’s combative, playful conversations demonstrate their suitability for one another. The reviewer also alludes to another comic play when he compares Wickham to Joseph Surface, a character in Richard Sheridan’s comedy of manners The School for Scandal (1777).

The Critical Review

Posted by 2018  •  article