Pride and Prejudice: Third Norton Critical Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Donald J. Gray

When reviewing an annotated Jane Austen novel, I always want to emphasize that I am focusing solely on the quality of the critical content featured in this particular edition. (I don't have anything left to say about Pride and Prejudice other than it's amazing, and if you haven't already read it you should stop poking around the internet and jump right on that.)

If I had to pick the ideal reader for Pride and Prejudice: Third Norton Critical Edition, I would suggest either a dedicated college-level student or a hardcore Austen nerd. More than a third of this book is devoted to critical content, organized chronologically and ranging from contemporary reviews to psychological analysis to a rather dry (but very informative) “Note on Money” from editor Donald J. Gray. The essays vary in depth and quality, but there are several outstanding entries, including an impressively thoughtful character analysis of Mr. Darcy by actor Colin Firth. While I found the actual annotations inadequate and weirdly chosen*, the volume and quality of the critical content more than made up for it.

*As longtime readers of the site know, I judge Pride and Prejudice annotations on the reference to “white soup” in chapter XI. The best annotations offer actual recipes; this book doesn't bother to define white soup at all, although it does note in the same paragraph that “cards” means “invitations”. Thanks, Mr. Gray! I never could have guessed!
Posted by: Julianka


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