'What think you of books?': Reading in 'Pride and Prejudice'

Katherine Newey


To the attentive reader, the emphasis on reading in Jane Austen's novels is striking, as is Austen's accomplished deployment of her own reading in the creation of her fiction. Discussions of books and reading are an important way in which Austen's characters and her readers are trained to identify, categorize and assess character. The books and writers which are either mentioned by name or referred to obliquely, the frequency of quotation and allusion, and the discussions of books, writing, and ideas, which occur in Austen's novels present the reader with a rich intellectual experience, belying the apparent limitations of the fictional material of '3 or 4 Families in a Country Village.'

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