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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The Blue Coat

While it’s not news that blue coat was fashionable among young men of Austen’s era, not everyone might be aware that it was due to Goethe’s  influence.

In The Sorrows of Young Werther we read:

SEPTEMBER 6

It cost me much to part with the blue coat which I wore the first time I danced with Charlotte. But I could not possibly wear it any longer. But I have ordered a new one, precisely similar, even to the collar and sleeves, as well as a new waistcoat and pantaloons.

But it does not produce the same effect upon me. I know not how it is, but I hope in time I shall like it better.

Werther

Werther in his blue coat and yellow waistcoat.

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Bingley and Georgiana

Bingley

Mr. Bingley

Twice in the book we are told about Darcy’s wishes for Bingley’s marriage to Georgiana. Once by Caroline, the second time by the omniscient narrator.

This is the one thing about Darcy people have the most trouble to believe in, even though Austen said so. One can think it in the first part of the book, but in the second, when one already knows what a great man Darcy is, an arranged marriage of his sister seems out of character.

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Caroline and Darcy’s Joint Wishes

Caroline and Darcy

Caroline and Darcy

Caroline writes to Jane:

Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister, and to confess the truth, we are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting, from the hope we dare to entertain of her being hereafter our sister.

It’s funny that after mentioning that “[Georgiana’s] relations all wish the connection as much as [Bingley’s] own” she ends her letter with: “With all these circumstances to favour an attachment and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?”

While Darcy’s POV during Lizzy’s visit at Pemberley focuses on the one circumstance that might prevent it, however, what I found interesting now is the use of words: Continue reading

Ballroom Etiquette

I thought that I might write down the things I know about balls and the ballroom etiquette, since they might be helpful in understanding Austen’s books.

There were three kinds of dancing opportunities:

1.) A public assembly,
2.) A private ball,
3.) An impromptu dance at someone’s house.

Almacks

London society at Almack's

General rules about dancing:

Every set of dances consisted of two dances and took up from half an hour to an hour or even longer. A man could ask a woman twice, which means that they would dance two sets and spend an hour or even two together during one evening. Asking a woman twice always meant a special attention, however, the meaning of the attention would depend on the kind of the ball. If there were many ladies of a man’s acquaintance he could ask one lady twice only if she was his fiancée, or he meant to propose to her soon. If he knew only a few ladies it would mean that he preferred the one above the others, and if he knew only one or two ladies present it’d mean nothing. Continue reading