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Eighteenth-Century Female Conduct in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – An Analysis of Elizabeth Bennet


  • Alexandra Taavo

Summary, in English

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was written in a time when courtesy literature was a highly popular literary genre. This genre embodied conduct manuals, which conveyed several viewpoints on what was to be regarded as the proper behaviour and manner of a sophisticated young woman. At first glance, the portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet, the main female character in "Pride and Prejudice", may give the impression of someone who shows little interest in adhering to tradition and old-fashioned values. This essay therefore aims at analyzing if Elizabeth’s character can be claimed to represent an unconventional eighteenth century woman. To gain insight into how well she conforms to the writings of the conduct manuals of Austen’s contemporary society, her character is analysed from three, at that time, major aspects of a woman’s life: accomplishments, courtship and marriage.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • conduct manuals
  • behaviour
  • eighteenth century
  • women in literature
  • virtue


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)