Jane Austen began writing the novel which later became Pride and Prejudice in October of 1796 and finished it by August of the following year; she was then twenty-one years old. Little is known of this early version of the story beyond its original title: First Impressions. The title Pride and Prejudice refers (among other things) to the ways in which Elizabeth and Darcy first view each other
No copy of that original is known to exist. Three months after Miss Austen completed work on the book , her father offered it to a publisher in the hope that it would make it into print. The publisher refused without ever having seen the manuscript.
Fortunately for all of her admirers, whether Austen was discouraged or not by her first rejection, she continued to write; though, it was not until the winter of 1811, fully fourteen years after finishing First Impressions, that she again picked up that manuscript and began revising it into the version we know today as Pride and Prejudice. This occurred in the wake of her first publishing success--the publication of Sense and Sensibility on 30 October 1811. Pride and Prejudice was far more fortunate than its earlier incarnation; it was accepted for publication and was presented to the world on 28 January 1813
Jane Austen's name was never attached to any of her published novels during her lifetime, and the title page of Pride and Prejudice read only
In late-18th-century England, women were relegated to secondary roles in society with respect to property and social responsibilities. For example, women were not permitted to visit new arrivals to the neighbourhood (such as Mr. Bingley in [pic]Pride and Prejudice) until the male head of their household had first done so. Women were under enormous pressure to marry for the purpose of securing their financial futures and making valuable social connections for their families. Therefore, marriage, though romanticised, was in many ways a...