At 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.
There is something uniquely elegant about old illustrations. Charles Edmund Brock should be familiar to many an Austen lover. The editions of Austen’s six novels illustrated by him are now in the public domain, and that gives us new treats.
Olde Fashioned is a young, talented artist who breathed new life in his drawings, turning them into beautiful wallpapers and icons.
The famous letters of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wentworth were reproduced by her in the Jane Austen font and combined with relevant Brock’s illustrations, in order to create exquisite wallpapers to Janeites’ heart content.
Austen 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.
When 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.
…I told them my very best tale of the princess who was waited upon by dwarfs. I improve myself by this exercise, and am quite surprised at the impression my stories create. If I sometimes invent an incident which I forget upon the next narration, they remind one directly that the story was different before; so that I now endeavour to relate with exactness the same anecdote in the same monotonous tone, which never changes. I find by this, how much an author injures his works by altering them, even though they be improved in a poetical point of view. The first impression is readily received. We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things; and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavour to efface them.
It’s time to sum up the year. This blog was started on July 24, 2008. Since then it was viewed 4,755 times, the best day being September 18 with 159 views. The number of posts so far is 17 (not counting this one), with 35 comments in 13 categories, and 46 spam comments caught by Askimet (who knows what was there?!). Additionally there are 6 pages created.
Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of ignorance.
Mr. Darcy says to Elizabeth in the new Penguin Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, that, for the first time since the first edition Austen laid her eyes upon, brings to the reader her orginal words.
Austen sold her rights to the first edition of Pride and Prejudice in 1812, and never again had any influence on the printed text. Throughout subsequent years various publishers edited, abridged, and even reorganised its structure according to the 19th century fashions.
It was Chapman who first looked for an old copy and brought us our beloved Austen’s novel in the form we know it today.
Yet, Chapman used Cassandra’s private copy, and while revising the novel applied her private notes. Penguin went further than that, and in their newest edition brings us Pride and Prejudice in the only form Austen has approved. Hence Mr. Darcy mentiones Lizzy’s ignorance rather than innocence, swiftly alluding to the underlying theme of the novel.
There are also slight differences in punctuation and spelling, giving reader the feel of an 18th century novel. The whole is edited with an introduction, chronology and notes by Vivien Jones, and enriched with the original Penguin Classics Introduction by Tony Tanner.
In “The Laws of Etiquette; Or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society” written in 1836 in the US by a Gentleman there’s this paragraph:
If you accompany your wife to a dance, be careful not to dance with her. Such are some of the canons of the ball.
Does anyone know if it was the same in England in Austen’s times? Or if there was such a rule in reference to private balls, was it also valid for public assemblies?
I looked through Emma, and indeed, it seems that husbands and wives are not dancing with each other. When Frank plans the ball he says: “You [Emma] and Miss Smith, and Miss Fairfax, will be three, and the two Miss Coxes five, (…) And there will be the two Gilberts, young Cox, my father [Mr. Weston], and myself [Frank Churchill], besides Mr. Knightley.” Continue reading →
Slavoj Zizek in The Sublime Object of Ideology included this subchapter about Jane Austen:
Hegel with Austen
Austen, not Austin: it is Jane Austen who is perhaps the only counterpart to Hegel in literature: Pride and Prejudice is the literary Phenomenology of Spirit; Mansfield Park the Science of Logic and Emma the Encyclopaedia… No wonder, then, that we find in Pride and Prejudice the perfect case of this dialectic of truth arising from misrecognition. Although they belong to different social classes – he is from an extremely rich aristocratic family, she from the impoverished middle classes – Elizabeth and Darcy feel a strong mutual attraction. Because of his pride, his love appears to Darcy as something unworthy; when he asks for Elizabeth’s hand he confesses openly his contempt for the world to which she belongs and expects her to accept his proposition as an unheard-of honour. But because of her prejudice, Elizabeth sees him as ostentatious, arrogant, and vain: his condescending proposal humiliates her, and she refuses him.
Darcy is about to give his letter to Lizzy.
This double failure, this mutual misrecognition, possesses a structure of a double movement of communication where each subject receives from the other its own message in the inverse form: Elizabeth wants to present herself to Darcy as a young cultivated woman, full of wit, and she gets from him the message ‘you are nothing but a poor empty-minded creature, full of false finesse’; Darcy wants to present himself to her as a proud gentleman, and he gets from her the message ‘your pride is nothing but contemptible arrogance’. After the break in their relationship each discovers, through a series of accidents, the true nature of the other – she the sensitive and tender nature of Darcy, he her real dignity and wit – and the novel ends as it should, with their marriage. Continue reading →
I came across an old article in Persuasions where John Halperin argues that Chevening Park was a model for Rosings.
Rosings is described in Pride and Prejudice as being “well situated on rising ground” and “a handsome modern building,” which fits the account of Chevening Park given in Paterson’s Roads (1826); in Jane Austen’s day it would have been about 165 years old, but it had just undergone extensive renovation.