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.
There are quite many views of this blog now. For some time the number has oscillated between 300-500 views a week. It’s nice to see it grow, and it’s nice to see that there are at least 40 views daily, and sometimes even over 100. Nonetheless, it’s sad not to know who’s reading. The numbers always seem virtual when not linked to a nick or name.
I thought I can be guilty of the same. There are quite many blogs I follow regularly but don’t always comment on them. Or rather, I’m the kind of person who posts mostly to disagree about some tiny detail, while forgetting to compliment on the whole, or even worse – to post anything when I agree with the entire post.
Although I’m not sure I can change my nature, and as a Pole I’m in general not a very apprising person (famously, Poles speak only to complain), I thought I could redeem myself at least a bit by posting links to my Netvibes.
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.
Melissa Renee’s thoughtful series about Mr. Bennet and the Entailment touches upon an important issue of Mr. Bennet’s pushing his responsibility for his family onto the next generation, instead of actually taking the effort of securing the future of his wife and daughters.
Moreover, in her second post in the series she points out that if he saved only Ł100 a year, that is one twentieth of his yearly income, he’d arrive at extra Ł2,300 for his daughters by the beginning of Pride and Prejudice.
That got me thinking, and actually it’d be even more. If he saved Ł100 a year but didn’t use the interest, after the first year it’d be just extra Ł4, but if he left it in the bank the interest would grow and bring additional percentage from interest.
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.
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.
…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.
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 →
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’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 →