In 2013 Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice turns 200. Again and again in polls conducted around the world, it is regularly chosen as the favourite novel of all time. Read and studied from Cheltenham to China, there are Jane Austen Societies from Boston to Buenos Aires, dedicated to sharing the delights of Jane Austen's masterpiece.
Here is the tale of how Pride and Prejudice came to be written, its first reception in a world that didn't take much notice of it and then its growing popularity. As well as discussing the famous characters — sex-symbol Mr Darcy, charming heroine Elizabeth Bennet, and the superb range of comic characters who make readers laugh again and again — Susannah Fullerton looks at the style of the novel — its wicked irony, its brilliant structuring, its revolutionary use of the technique known as 'free indirect speech'.
Readers through the years have both loved the book and hated it — the reactions of writers, politicians, artists and explorers can tell us as much about the reader as they do about the book itself. Pride and Prejudice has morphed into many strange and interesting forms — screen adaptations, sequels, prequels and updates. Happily Ever After explores these, and the wilder shores of zombies, porn, dating manuals, T-shirts, tourism and therapy.