Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen

Barbara Britton Wenner analyses Austen’s use of nature in her novels and Juvenilia. Nature and culture, female and male, and submissive and oppressive elements are juxtaposed in order to show how the heroines’ relation to nature enhances their experience and gradual self-recognition.

Thankfully the author doesn’t attempt to prove that Austen had one and only proper model either of nature, picturesque or estate, but rather moves above the usual discourse, demonstrating instead how freely and confidently Austen used the late 18th century concepts of landscape in order to show danger or refuge, and desirable or dreaded situations and characters. It’ll help you to better understand both the idea of picturesque and Austen’s novels.

The book is expensive, but likely available from your library. However, if you can afford it, it’s well worth having. Check it either at Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Highly recommended!

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My English Country Garden Blog

My English Country Garden Blog is a wonderful place to sneak into the English countryside.

The blog’s author says:

Here I’ll be sharing my thoughts of other gardens, old recipes and garden writers with you, from William Lawson via Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to Nancy Mitford.

Landscape gardens were one of the major features of Jane Austen’s England. It was more than a nice place to stroll. It was a philosophy of the 18th century life.

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Mary Wollstonecraft « Regency Writings Repository

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie

Mary Wollstonecraft, an eighteenth-century writer, philosopher, and feminist, hardly needs introductions. The Regency Writings Repository is now enriched of her political pamphlet A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) in which she argues against aristocracy and in favour of republicanism. She invokes an emerging middle-class ethos in opposition to the vice-ridden aristocratic code of manners.

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Hannah Cowley in Austen’s The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters is one of the frankest portrayals of “marriage as prostitution” (as Mary Wollstonecraft described marrying for material reasons) within all of Austen’s writings.

Miss Stanhope takes no pains to conceal her motives while negotiating her price:

“You must build me an elegant Greenhouse and stock it with plants. You must let me spend every Winter in Bath, every Spring in Town, Every Summer in taking some Tour, and every Autumn at a Watering Place, and if we are at home the rest of the year (Sophy and I laughed) You must do nothing but give Balls and Masquerades. You must build a room on purpose and a Theatre to act Plays in. The first Play we have shall be Which is the Man, and I will do Lady Bell Bloomer.”

Hannah Cowley

Which is the Man is a play by Hannah Cowley about a fascinating widow who cannot make up her mind among several admirers.

In 1787 Austen’s family considered performing it at Steventon. Although other plays ended up being performed then, Austen was well familiar with Cowley’s plays, and quoted lines from them in her letters.

You can read it in Austenette’s Repository. Follow the link Which is the Man

Written by SylwiaBookmark and Share

Easter in Pride and Prejudice

ppm498_emivAusten chose Easter for the most significant turn in Pride and Prejudice.

Darcy comes to Rosings around Palm Sunday (likely Monday, since Darcy, unlike Mr. Elliot, wouldn’t travel on Sunday), that commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.

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Elizabeth’s Love for Darcy: Holy Matrimony

unknown_germany_c1815_window_sm_gWhen talking of love it is important to define the word. Is it emotion, feeling, decision or all of the elements? According to some Christians i.e. Anglicans and Catholics four kinds of love must be present for the Holy Matrimony to be valid and complete. I’ll try to explain, on their example, Elizabeth’s growing love for Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

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Woman in Love

66_brock_pp_1_sm_gThere is a lot of confusion as to when and why Elizabeth Bennet fell in love. (See this post at Austenprose and subsequent comments for example, but it’s only one of many such opinions.) This post is to show that the reason of it does not come from any imperfection of Lizzy’s affection or Austen’s writing, but rather our modern notions that downplay the significance of love.

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