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Showing posts tagged: Pride & Prejudice click to see more stuff tagged with Pride & Prejudice
Apr 18 2014 3:00pm

Today is Lucrezia Borgia's birthday, born in Italy way back in 1480. Happy Birthday, Lucrezia!

Lucrezia has become notorious in history as a woman who will do anything for her family, including poisoning, sexual favors, and incest. The men of her family were worse in their actions, but it's Lucrezia who is the most notorious.*

Perhaps, if she were a man, Lucrezia would have been modestly infamous for being so ruthless and Machiavellian, but it seems to be even more outrageous that she did those things and was a female. Of course, if she were male, she wouldn't have had to resort to sneakier methods of getting her way such as using sex or a poison ring to guarantee the outcome she wanted; she would just have straight-out murdered the person in question, or perhaps gone ahead and led an army against them. But being a woman, she didn't have those methods at her disposal, so she used what she did have—her femininity and the misguided thought that women were the weaker sex, and wouldn't dare to act as she did.

[Hence the poison ring thing...]

Dec 20 2013 1:30pm

Longbourn by Jo BakerPride and Prejudice may have inspired more spin-offs, rewrites, imitations, and alternate versions than any other work of fiction—did the world really need another one? When it's as compelling and enlightening as Jo Baker's Longbourn, most certainly. Longbourn is not an attempt to imitate Austen's style or plot; instead it jumps off from the well-known story to show us what else was happening in the world that Austen very consciously kept small and contained, that famous “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush.”

The story is told through the other people in the Bennet household, the ones who merit only a mention or two in the original.  If we scour the book, we find them: there's a Sarah and another unnamed housemaid, a Mrs. Hill, a footman, and a butler. In Longbourn, Sarah is a young woman struggling with the brutal fact that her entire life is spent taking care of other young women who have everything she naturally desires. The second housemaid Polly is very young and naive, still fairly happy as long as she can shirk her work and filch some sugar. The kindhearted housekeeper Mrs. Hill has suffered enough heartache to feel grateful for her relatively privileged position, though occasionally spares a thought about the unfairness of life, particularly when the security of the servant hall is threatened by Elizabeth's refusal of Mr. Collins:

“What it is to be young and lovely and very well aware of it. What it is to know that you will only settle for the keenest love, the most perfect match.”

[True; Lizzie's was a good problem to have...]

Oct 8 2013 10:39am

Just out is the news that Jennifer Ehle, seen above as Elizabeth Bennet in 1995's Pride and Prejudice, has been cast as Anastasia's mother in the film adaptation of E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey. Ehle joins the leads Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele and Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey. The film will be out in theaters in August 2014.

Sep 20 2013 2:30pm

Freefall by Tess OliverToday H&H is joined by author Tess Oliver, who asks the hard-hitting question of why do we love Mr. Darcy so much—and not Mr. Bingley? Tess's latest release, Freefall, is a New Adult romance where the bad boy hero has to rescue his best friend from a bad situation—sound familiar? Thanks for being here, Tess!

Why Mr. Darcy and not Mr. Bingley?

Aside from the obvious, of course— twice the income and the awesome estate of Pemberley. After all, Mr. Bingley was handsome, wealthy, attentive and much more fun at a ball than his arrogant friend, Mr. Darcy. The Regency period was filled with dandified, polite men, but in the midst of fancy clothes and less-than-masculine quadrilles, Jane Austen managed to create a breathtaking bad boy hero—although, admittedly, Darcy has far better manners and far fewer tattoos and piercings than today’s bad boy. Still, he has attitude and we love him for that.

The Bronte sisters had it a bit easier because the Victorian period just lent itself better to dark, brooding characters. Mr. Rochester is mean, gruff and not all that handsome, and yet what reader can resist falling in love with him right along with Jane? Charlotte’s sister, Emily, conjured up the ultimate bad boy character, Heathcliff. And this will probably spark some controversy, but I’ve actually always felt that Bronte sort of crossed the line with him. In my opinion, some of his actions made him somewhat irredeemable as a hero.

[Why ARE we drawn to these guys?...]

Jul 17 2013 2:30pm

The Famous Heroine by Mary BaloghPart One: Marrying the Maid (Or the Governess or . . .)

The theme of love powerful enough to overcome the boundaries of class is rooted deeply in the tradition of romance fiction. Whether one views the title character in Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) as hypocritical schemer or moralistic prig, the virtuous maid “tames the rake” and marries the master, a decidedly upward move in the class hierarchy given Pamela’s poverty and low social status and Mr. B.’s estates in Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire and his connection with the peerage.

The class distinction between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) is far more subtle than the gap between Mr. B. and Pamela. As Elizabeth says of Darcy to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, “He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal.”  Although Darcy is wealthier, he and Mr. Bennet both belong to the landed gentry. However, more than a difference in income separates the two men. Mr. Bennet married the daughter of an attorney, a misalliancethat is compounded by their differences in temperament and intelligence. Darcy’s father married the daughter of an earl. Charlotte Brontë held a poor opinion of Austen’s novels, but she pairs her most famous heroine with a hero who is considered her social superior throughout most of the novel. By the time the heroine says “Reader, I married him” in the first sentence of the final chapter of Jane Eyre (1847), she has reversed the inequalities that marked her position for most of the novel, but by that time the impression of Jane as poor, plain, and powerless has been memorably established.

[Love knows no social bounds...]