Elinor About Love

SScoverSome time ago I wrote that Elizabeth’s love for Darcy could not bloom before she was assured of his feelings as well as that her wishes and hopes would be rewarded by a proposal.

Elinor expresses similar sentiments when she answers Marianne’s queries about Edward:

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Loveless Marriage

LizzyCharlotteMrCollins-01At the beginning of the 18th century arranged marriages were the norm, but by the end of it they fell out of favour with nearly everyone, the upper class excepted. Family’s interest stood in opposition to Christian morality. Marriage should be for love, because it’s instituted by God, and not by any civil contract. Anglican marriage is a lesser sacrament, and its only condition is the mutual vow of love. One can lie and sign any papers, but one cannot possibly cheat God or hope that God would bless what is an abuse of the sacrament He instituted.

In fact the romantic notion of love and marriage revived because people became more concerned with religion than they were in the 17th century. Yet, it doesn’t mean that they ceased to care about the prudential aspect of it. Parents took care that their daughters met only those gentlemen they could marry without degradation. In other words they were free to fall in love with the men they knew, but the group of the men they were allowed to meet was limited in advance.

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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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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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