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Analysis

Pride and Prejudice Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?

PG-13

Okay, true, there's no graphic bodice-ripping in the novel's actual text, but there is one pretty racy section that was almost scandalous when Pride and Prejudice came out. We're talking, of course, about Lydia. Oh, Lydia! The idea that this young girl (dudes, she's fifteen!) running off with some sleazeball to shack up in the middle of London without any intention of getting married or even any plans beyond a few months of getting it on? Not only that, but the idea that, instead of getting the traditional premarital-sex comeuppance—basically, either early death of a life of prostitution followed by early death—Lydia just prances back into town, same as ever? Well, that's some unusually sex-positive stuff right there. For Austen's day, at least.

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