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Publishers celebrate Pride and Prejudice bicentenary
15.10.12 | Charlotte Williams
January 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that publishers never miss an opportunity to celebrate a literary milestone.
HarperPress has a new biography of the author, The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things (3rd January, £25/£12.99, e-book), written by academic Paula Byrne. Byrne recently discovered a previously unknown contemporary portrait of Austen.
Summersdale, Constable & Robinson and Frances Lincoln are among the independents publishing around the anniversary, with Summersdale's Jane Austen (7th January, £8.99, hb) by Constance Moore, billed as a "treasury" of Austen quotes, grouped into themes such as "How to Find the Perfect Husband". Editorial assistant Debbie Chapman said: "It is a cliché but her works are timeless so they will always appeal. I think the anniversary is a great time to highlight this, and to bring new readers to her work. The collection shows her versatility."
C&R's A Brief Guide to Jane Austen (18th October, £8.99, pb) by Charles Jennings includes a potted biography, a section covering each of the novels—from Sense and Sensibility to Mansfield Park—as well as sections on the Regency period and Austen's home life and a look at the TV and film productions of her work. Its editor Duncan Proudfoot said: "It is a fairly crowded market, and this is not the book aiming to beat all others in terms of extent or price—it takes an everyday approach in looking at different aspects of her work and the Regency, and helps put the works in context for the general reader—it's light-hearted, chatty, discursive and fairly brief."
Frances Lincoln's Happily Ever After (3rd January, £14.99, hb) by Susannah Fullerton discusses the book's famous characters, from Mr Darcy to Charlotte Lucas, and examines how it came to be written, and how the reactions of readers through the ages sparked a whole industry of spin-off productions and merchandise.
Penguin Classics is issuing a new edition of Pride and Prejudice on 29th November (£25, hb), with Cambridge University Press publishing The Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice as a £50 hardback and £17.99 paperback on 1st February.
Meanwhile, Random House Children's Publishing is reissuing the sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine's Necklace, written by Joan Aiken. The title for readers aged 12+, takes place at Rosings Park, the estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. It is published on 25th October 2012 as a £9.99 paperback.