January 29, 1813, the day after Pride and Prejudice was published, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra. It’s the first critique of the book, as Austen beats the reviewers to the punch:

She mentioned a friend who “really does seem to admire Elizabeth,:” and adds: “I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.—There are a few Typical errors—& a ‘said he’ or a ‘said she’ would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear—but ‘I do not write for such dull Elves’ . . . The 2d vol. is shorter than I cd wish—but the difference is not so much in reality as in look, there being a larger proportion of Narrative in that part. I have lopt & cropt so successfully however that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S. & S. altogether.”

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Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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