Young Adult Classics – Pride and Prejudice
Read by Jenny Agutter
Pride and Prejudice is a key title for the new Naxos AudioBooks series ‘Young Adult Classics’. An abridged recording with music makes this Regency novel much more accessible to the twenty-first century young adult keen to get to grips with the classics. Pride and Prejudice is a leading title for ‘Young Adult Classics’, being one of the pillars of English Literature, and Jenny Agutter’s friendly reading bridges the gap between the films and the book. This is part of the ‘Young Adult Classics’ series launched by Naxos AudioBooks in 2009: each title contains a CD-ROM with extensive ‘teacher notes’ and the full text of the audiobook.
Running Time: 3 h 40 m
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ISBN: 978-962-634-957-1 Digital ISBN: 978-962-954-848-3 Cat. no.: NA395712 CD RRP: $17.98 USD Download size: 54 MB
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WHY STUDY LITERATURE?
The famous Greek philosophers Plato (427–347 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC) first clashed when answering this age-old question. Plato felt that literature should be banned. He believed that it was a poor copy of the real world and inflamed people to do stupid and wild things in the manner of its heroes. But Plato’s pupil Aristotle argued that far from corrupting our minds literature actually improves us, enabling us to become more moral by making us feel both pity and fear for its central characters.
The argument today remains more or less the same. Literature’s detractors believe it can lead us astray by making us feel sympathy for evil characters, while literature’s defenders take Aristotle’s view that by feeling for fictional characters we become better people, better at empathising and imagining ourselves in different situations.
As a teacher and lover of literature, I take Aristotle’s view: literature takes us to places that we would never otherwise experience. And reading about murderers doesn’t mean we will imitate them; we may actually learn from their grave errors. Literature affords us the chance to live through other people’s tragedies and triumphs, as a result of which we ourselves may emerge wiser, more thoughtful and happier than before.
JANE AUSTEN’S LIFE
1775 Born on 16 December in Steventon, Hampshire, England, sixth in a large family with six brothers and one sister. Her father was Revd William George Austen.
1783 Went with her younger sister Cassandra to be privately educated first in Oxford then Southampton where she survived typhus.
1785 Continued education at boarding school but returned the following year because of financial hardship. Finished education by reading books from her father’s large library.
1787 Earliest examples of juvenilia date from this time: she wrote poems, stories and plays. She copied them into notebooks and added to them throughout her life.
1793–1795 Wrote Lady Susan, an epistolary novel which shows much of the character and wit which made her so admired, even in her own lifetime.
1796 According to Cassandra’s later recollections, a novel called Elinor and Marianne was read to the family before this date.
1797 Her father sent First Impressions (a first draft of Pride and Prejudice) to a publisher, but it was ‘Declined by Return of Post’.
1798 A revision of Elinor and Marianne was completed and it was renamed Sense and Sensibility. And she began working on Northanger Abbey, her satire on the Gothic novel which was originally called Susan.
1800 Jane Austen’s father retired and moved the family to Bath.
1805 Her father died leaving Jane, Cassandra and their mother in a difficult financial situation.
1809 The three moved to Chawton House, owned by Edward Austen, Jane’s older brother.
1811 October Sense and Sensibility became the first novel to be published, by Thomas Egerton. It was not ascribed to Jane Austen: on the title page it was proclaimed: ‘By A Lady’. It was well received and the print run sold out by 1813.
1814 Mansfield Park was published.
1815 Jane Austen visited the Prince Regent (an admirer of her work) at his request and agreed (somewhat reluctantly) to dedicate her next novel, Emma, to him.
1815 Emma was published by the London publisher John Murray.
1816 Persuasion published.
1816 Financial disaster hit the Austen family when Henry Austen’s bank failed. Jane began to show signs of illness.
1817 Despite ill-health, she started Sanditon.
1817 Jane Austen died on 18 July, aged 41, perhaps of Hodgkinson’s disease. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
1820 All the novels fell out of print.
1832 The publisher Richard Bentley bought all the copyrights and reprinted the novels. They have remained in print ever since.