Bloom, Harold, ed. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea House, 2007.
A collection of essays discussing the novel from a range of different critical perspectives (for example, feminism, Marxism). It also includes a chronology of Austen’s life.
Bush, Douglas. Jane Austen. New York: Macmillan, 1975.
A critical biography that begins by introducing the historical and social context in which Austen wrote, before discussing her life and providing analysis of each of her novels.
Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, reprint edition 2002.
This work of literary scholarship was among the first to argue that Jane Austen’s writing is deeply influenced by the political controversies of her lifetime, such as the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Butler shows how novels that seem to have little connection to larger political events in fact engage in highly charged debates.
Emsley, Sarah. Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
This work of literary scholarship discusses how Austen’s novels are influenced by her understanding of philosophy and religion. Since Austen’s books usually involve a young woman making choices about how to live her life and what kind of person she wants to be, Emsley argues that Austen is engaging with ancient philosophical questions.
Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, reprint edition 2000.
This book is a major milestone in the development of feminist criticism. It discusses many female authors, including Jane Austen, arguing that within their writing, female writers share a pattern of expressing frustration with gender roles.
Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, reprint edition 1996.
A very detailed biography of Austen with a focus on the events of her life rather than a discussion of her books. The biography includes an extensive discussion of Austen’s family and how her relationship with them was a major influence throughout her life.
Laski, Margaret. Jane Austen and Her World. Norwich, England: Thames and Hudson, 1977.
An early biography of Austen that is most notable for the images. It includes 137 illustrations, including portraits of important people from Austen’s life and images of houses and objects that provide historical context for Austen’s time.
Morrison, Robert. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge, 2005.
This collection contains excerpts from important documents from Austen’s time, such as the conduct books that were used to instruct young women in proper behavior. These documents provide context for understanding the novel, while excerpts from important critical essays highlight some of what the most influential thinkers have had to say about Pride and Prejudice.
Ross, Josephine. Jane Austen: A Companion. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003.
This book includes a brief biography of Austen, followed by chapters providing historical and social context about the time period in which Austen lived and set her novels.