One-Minute Book Reviews

April 6, 2008

Did Jane Austen Have a Romantic View of Marriage? Looking Beyond Tonight’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ on PBS

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:04 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Many people imagine that Jane Austen had a romantic view of marriage. Her novels and letters don’t support this view. Hilary Mantel writes in an essay on Austen in Literary Genius: 25 Classic Writers Who Define English and American Literature (Paul Dry Books, 2007), edited by Joseph Epstein www.pauldrybooks.com:

“Jane Austen’s novels, as everyone has observed, end at the church door: with the wedding, not the marriage. Jane’s private observation did not. She looked about her and saw what marriage meant. ‘Poor animal,’ she wrote of a woman too often pregnant, ‘she will be worn out before she is thirty.’ Love within a marriage might compensate for what marriage demanded of women – the cyclical facing-down of the risk and pain of childbirth – but the ideal matches Jane sets up for her characters are outnumbered in her fiction by those that are botched together in bad circumstances, contracted in haste, and repented at leisure or simply arrange by cold and grand family interests.”

Comment by Jan:

Mantel is right about those bad marriages. The unions that fit her description include those of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Mary and Charles Musgrove in Persuasion and Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park. Then there are John and Fanny Dashwood, the weak husband and manipulative wife of Sense and Sensibility, the subject of a Masterpiece Theater production that concludes tonight on PBS www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/index.html.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

http://www.janiceharayda.com

1 Comment »

  1. […] One Minute Book Reviews disputes the perception that Jane Austen’s novels take a rose-colored view of romance. It’s a very short piece so we won’t copy over anything, but check it out and see what you think. Thanks to Alert Janeite Jeannette for the link. […]

    Pingback by AustenBlog . . . she’s everywhere » Completion — April 6, 2008 @ 10:19 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 382 other followers

%d bloggers like this: