Appropriateness of the Title: Pride and Prejudice

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Appropriateness of the title: Pride and Prejudice. Priya Saklani Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1796-97 under the title of “First Impressions” but later revised by 1813 as “Pride and Prejudice”. The first title seems quite apt as the novel deals with the unreliability of first impressions. The new title however, focuses on the two human vices which are embodied by the two central characters and thus, creating a lot of tension and misunderstandings in their relationship and almost preventing them from marrying. The new title also resonates the philosophical suggestions of Hume’s work as pointed out by Isobel Armstrong in her Introduction to the Oxford edition of Pride and Prejudice (1990). In the following essay, I will be discussing the appropriateness and significance of the title ‘pride and prejudice’ with respect to the ‘first impressions’. At the time Jane Austen was writing her society was concerned with ‘Reputation’ and ‘Appearances’, and Sentimental literature were dominant at that time. In fact, the phrase “first Impressions” was taken from the sentimental literature, where it exhibits “…the strength and truth of the heart’s immediate and intuitive response, usually love at first sight.”1, 2 However, in the novel the first impressions were sometimes turns out to be true and sometimes were not. As suggested by Nicholas Walter the emphasis is on ‘experience’. The story charts both Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey to self enlightenment and in order to achieve this state of self-enlightenment the story leads to greater self-understanding. And this self-enlightenment factor was so far missing from the Austen’s contemporaries’ work. This shows that she was influenced by the ideas of the ‘enlightenment’ and was trying to do away with the sentimental literature. This could be one of the reasons why she changed the title to ‘Pride and
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