“Votaries and observers of fashion, but not her slaves, we follow her through her versatile path; catch her varied attractions, and present her changes to our readers as they pass before us in gay succession.” La Belle Assemblée, 1812.
Somehow, I cannot picture Elizabeth Bennet reclining on the drawing room sofa, idly flipping through the pages of the latest issue of La Belle Assemblée or The Lady’s Magazine. And yet, if she had indulged in a bit of frivolous fashion magazine perusal, what advice might she have read there and what images might she have seen?
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813. The story itself begins in the year 1811 and concludes at the close of 1812. In June of 1812, Elizabeth Bennet is home at Longbourn, anxiously awaiting the July arrival of her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, who are to take her travelling in Derbyshire. Whenever Mrs. Gardiner visits Longbourn, she delivers to her country relatives “an account of the present fashions” in London.[…]Continue Reading
It’s Father’s Day and, in celebration, I thought it would be a perfect time to take a brief look at a few of the many and varied fathers depicted in some of our favorite literary classics from the 19th century and beyond.[…]Continue Reading
“If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love…I love….I love you.”
(Pride and Prejudice, 2005.)
If you are a serious, literary-minded Jane Austen fan, it may raise your blood pressure a bit to learn that there are many people who believe the above quote was actually said by Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Similarly, there are those who are convinced that the famous scene where Darcy leaps into the lake at Pemberley is an accurate depiction of something that Austen wrote on the page. In fact, as most of you reading this will know, the above lines are said by actor Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice and the scene with Darcy in the lake is enacted by Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC miniseries. Neither scene is in the book.[…]Continue Reading
The reading and writing of letters plays an important role in many of our most beloved nineteenth century novels. And it is no wonder why. In an era defined by its social constraints, a well-written letter can achieve what the characters cannot accomplish through ordinary dialogue. […]Continue Reading