Pride and Prejudice captures the affectations of class-conscious eighteenth-century English families with matrimonial aims and rivalries. This story of the Bennet family and the novel's two protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, is told with sparkling wit.
The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. Austen's artistry also shows in her delineation of the minor characters: the ill-matched Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Charles Bingley and his sisters, and particularly the fatuous Mr. Collins, whose proposal to Elizabeth is one of the finest comic passages in English literature. Austen's characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.