Tag Archives: Benwick

What about poetry?


Poetry (Photo credit: Kimli)

Captain Benwick, from Persuasion, is an interesting character. Austen celebrates him as being different – brave but sensitive. One of the best descriptions of any character comes from General Crofts – “too piano”. His fiancé died while he was at sea. Deeply melancholy, he consumes poetry to nurture his grief. But as Virtuous and Undervalued Anne seems to understand, a steady diet of poetry is fuelling his melancholy feelings, rather than alleviating them. She recommends reading a variety of material to aide in the “struggling against affliction”. (Austen is always in favour of moderation as a tool of mental health.)

Unknown to Benwich, Anne realises that she is able to give such advice as she is in  need of it herself! She had been pining for her own lost love for eight years: she “had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination”.  Continue reading

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Jane would recommend just one true attachment forever and ever wouldn’t she?

English: "To enquire after Marianne was a...

English: “To enquire after Marianne was at first his excuse” – Willoughby comments on his visits to the Dashwood cottage. Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. London: George Allen, 1899, page 50. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just in case you might be ready to throw up after last week’s post, here is another facet to the Austen Six that  shows the grittiness of life even it is not central stage. It is true that the Austen Six end with the happy couplings of a series of characters. And of course we expect that these characters will be soul-mates forever. Yet, life was precarious in the 18th century for an innumerable  number of reasons (death by childbirth is just one example); and there were many relationships that did not last the distance. The Austen universe is peopled with characters that have second attachments. And there are many instances where characters must learn to move on. They may have found that the love they had put their faith in has found a better offer.  But Austen shows the value of moving on. The past is a different set of circumstances but there are similarities to today.

 Pining after a lost love can be romantic but Jane often recommends a new attachment. Fed on a diet of Hollywood romances we can place too much emphasis Continue reading

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Filed under Resilience, Romance and Marriage