Pride and Prejudice

War and Conflict College

Literary movements of the early nineteenth century were undeniably, at least to some extent, defined by a backdrop of wartime context. It was a time period not only caught up in the midst of the Napoleonic War, but also still suffering from the aftermath of the American Revolution. Certain texts from the time period offer relevant and explicit commentaries on war; Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage[1] and Walter Scott’s Waverley[2] serves as key examples. The former offers an account of personal reflection on war whilst the latter focusses on a historic conflict of the mid eighteenth century. However, along with these more obvious treatments of war there are those which, although initially appearing to be largely uncolored by these conflicts, are actually deeply embued with wartime subtext. Jane Austen’s novels, namely Pride and Prejudice[3] and Mansfield Park[4] serve as key instances of such novels, as they focus on characters who retain separation from the disruption, but are repeatedly unable to escape the permeating ripples of the war that surrounds them.

One of the more self-evident depictions of war within early nineteenth century literature appears in Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, written in a time period...

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