Set in England in the late 18th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's five unmarried daughters after two gentlemen have moved into their neighbourhood: the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley, and his status-conscious friend, the even richer and more eligible Mr. Darcy. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy is disdainful of local society and repeatedly clashes with the Bennets' lively second daughter, Elizabeth. Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books". It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Likewise, it has paved the way for archetypes that abound in many contemporary literature of our time. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.
Pride and Prejudice has long fascinated readers, consistently appearing near the top of lists of "most-loved books" among literary scholars and the general public. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, with over 20 million copies sold and paved the way for many archetypes that abound in modern literature. For more than a century, amateur and professional dramatic adaptations, print continuations and sequels and film and TV versions of Pride and Prejudice have portrayed the memorable characters and themes in the novel, to reach mass audiences. The 2005 film Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, is the most recent Hollywood adaptation of the book.