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.
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.
In Rambler 97 Samuel Richardson argues in favour of the course of courtship of his own youth. It is interesting to see how much the mores had changed between his times and those of Austen.
Austen famously paraphrased his words in Northanger Abbey:
for if it be true, as a celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman’s love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her.
It is likewise significant to note that no positive hero of Austen’s ever seeks the lady’s family’s approval for courtship or asks for her hand before her own consent is given. Such a kind of behaviour is left to men like Mr. Collins or Henry Crawford.
I’ve been wondering whether Anne and Georgiana might have more in common than it seems. We see both of them mostly through Lizzy’s eyes and all of our other sources are as biased. Lizzy finds Anne rude, and Georgiana shy. Is it possible that if she could look at Anne without prejudice, or with a favourable bias like in Georgiana’s case, she’d find her shy as well?
Anne de Bourgh - P&P 2005
Both Lady Catherine and Darcy are rather overbearing parental figures. While I think that Darcy is much more normal than Lady Catherine there might have been difficult moments when Georgiana would have to face his anger i.e. in the case of her attempted elopement.
Lizzy thinks of Anne “her features, though not plain, were insignificant” while of Georgiana “less handsome than her brother”, which might mean they’re both similarly pretty.
The obvious differences are that Anne is small and thin, while Georgiana is tall and her figure well built. Georgiana is accomplished, while Anne is not, and we might assume that Georgiana isn’t sick. But they both speak very little, and each of them needs their companion’s guidance. I have a feeling that it’s not so much that Anne is so dumb and Georgiana so sensible, as that Darcy hired a better lady companion than Lady Catherine did. Continue reading →
Everyone who has ever read fanfiction must be acquainted with the concept of Mary Sue. Why fan fiction and not fiction? Because professional authors don’t have this problem! It’s something that happens to 13 years old home writers of Harry Potter’s mysterious encounters with Draco Malfoy.
Or so I thought before I looked through the iTV press release for their new mini series. It seems that one doesn’t have to be 13 years old to be a freshman and find themselves Lost in Austen!
The authors’ original idea about coming with an original idea by marrying original ideas of others (Austen’s DNA in conjugal bliss with Life on Mars) is already discussed by John Sutherland in the Guardian. I, however, would like to focus on their prime achievement: their ORIGINAL CHARACTER Amanda Price is a superior human being.
Don’t read further if you don’t want to have the Lost in Austen tv series spoilt for you. What follows is a list, the list, I should say, of characteristics that make Mary Sues all over the world blush in their inferiority. Continue reading →