Defoe on The Education of Women

unknown_ladyreadinginaninteriour_smI uploaded Daniel Defoe’s short essay on The Education of Women. The more of his works I read the more I wonder whether Austen in particular was influenced by Defoe, or just everyone was, and so the ideas present in his writings were generally embraced by the time Austen was born.

In this Defoe argues in defence of female education, bringing arguments, including a great deal of reading, that make one think of Elizabeth Bennet.

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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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First Impressions

Did Austen want to prove Geothe wrong?

…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.

The Sorrows of Young Werther

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Year’s Summary

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.

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Innocence and Ignorance

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.

Penguin Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice

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.

Available from Amazon.

sm-plusPosted by Sylwia

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

(Not)Dancing With One’s Wife

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?

Waltz, 1817

Waltz, 1817

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