Category Archives: Romance and Marriage

The Beast and Mr Darcy

What does the beast from Beauty and the Beast and Mr Darcy have in common? Well they are both unreconstructed males until love brings them to self knowledge and a better version of themselves. What I like about Austen’s prose though is that she is often even handed in doling out the imperfection in her Continue reading

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Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love

It centers on one couple: Rabih  and Kirsten. It is very modern in that the nuclear couple reign supreme; the friends and family only get a passing glance. But it is a very poignant look at the couple in modern life. It feels like  an everyman couple; a couple we can all relate to. And its premise, that the proof of love begins when the romance fades is so apt. Rabih and Kirsten are like  minor characters in an Austen novel, they are Mr and Ms Bennett, Mr and Mrs Palmer or Mr and Mrs Musgrove in the Austen Six. Only in a post modern novel can they take their place centre-stage. But that is the beauty
of the modern; the ordinary Continue reading

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How attractive is a loving family?

Virtuous and Undervalued Anne Elliot does regret her family’s lack of feeling when she is to marry Captain Wentworth. She had “the consciousness of having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value.” An extended family that is supportive and fun is an attractive part of any partner’s dowry:

quizanne

The disproportion in their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment’s regret; but to have no family to receive and estimate him properly; nothing of respectability, of harmony, of good-will to offer in return for all the worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could be well sensible of, under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity”. Continue reading

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What sort of a partner might Austen recommend?

ringsOn this St Valentine’s Eve let’s ponder on what sort of a partner Austen might recommend. Are we all looking for the perfect partner? And is there a danger in this? It is interesting that in the Austen Six the seemingly perfect partner is often introduced early but inevitably found wanting.

In Emma, Jane seems to be suggesting that the seemingly perfect partner has issues. Once Frank Churchill has been found to have been playing a duplicitous game Emma says:

“It has sunk him, I cannot say how it has sunk him in my opinion. So unlike what a man should be! – None of that upright integrity, that strict adherence to truth and principle, that disdain of trick and littleness, which a man should display in every transaction of his life.”

It is as if Jane Austen is telling us exactly what we want in a partner,  or at the very least, should want: Integrity and honour rather than  succumbing to the romantic idealism often inside the Hallmark card.

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What about Cassandra’s first and only love?

English: Silhouette of Cassandra Austen (1773-...

English: Silhouette of Cassandra Austen (1773-1845), sister of Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More successful  than Jane’s first love but with a tragic outcome was Jane’s sister Cassandra‘s  love affair with Tom Fowle. Tom was a friend of the family having spent time as a pupil in Mr George Austen’s school. In some ways these young adults grew up together. The school was part of the house and George Austen’s pupils  joined the Austen family, both the brothers and the sisters in family life.

Cassandra became engaged to Tom in 1792, but there was no money and so rather than a marriage, Continue reading

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Is it important to make the first move?

sally hawkins and rupert penry-jones filming p...

sally hawkins and rupert penry-jones filming persuasion (Photo credit: Owen Benson Visuals)

Why is it that when we really like someone we can hardly speak, let alone tell the target of our fantasies of our feelings? Yet this can be crucial. It is humbling to put yourself out there and it is one big risk. But courage is necessary and the results can be revolutionary. Continue reading

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Beware the seemingly perfect person

English: Persuasion, ch 21: Anne Elliot read a...

English: Persuasion, ch 21: Anne Elliot read a letter from Mr Elliot.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Austen warns us to suspect the perfect person. Mr Elliot,  from Persuasion, the heir to Kellynch estate is such a perfect person. He says and does all that is expected of him. He doesn’t let himself behave like an embarrassing git. In society, he conducts himself in an exemplary manner, tuned in to all the wishes of all around him and he plays court to those he wishes to infiltrate very successfully. Continue reading

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