Elizabeth Bennet Elizabeth Bennet, or Lizzy Bennet, or Eliza, is the main character of the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice (1813). She is a witty young girl of twenty with dark eyes and hair. Elizabeth Bennet is the second of five sisters and resides in a small house called Longbourn outside the town of Meryton. Her closest companions are her eldest sister Jane Bennet and her friend Charlotte Lucas. ElizabethBennet is closest to her father, she is his favourite daughter and he tries to look out for her as best he can. Her other sisters are Mary, Lydia and Kitty. She has no fortune of her own and her welfare depends on the wealth of her marriage. Pride and Prejudice is the story of how Elizabeth Bennet meets and falls in love with Mr. Darcy, a wealthy man who could solve all her problems of fortune. Elizabeth loves to laugh at the folly of others and is a bright energetic girl. She also has in her character a tendency to judge others on first appearance. This is how she establishes Mr. Darcy as a proud, hateful man and what guides her in her trust of the charming and handsome militiaman, Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth Bennet receives three a proposals of marriage in the course of the novel. The first is from her distant cousin Mr. Collins, who is to inherit her family’s estate. He is a very foolish, ridiculous man and she flatly refuses him. The second two are from (more…)
Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, by Quinçon “She possessed the pure Grecian contour; her head was exquisitely formed, her forehead fair and shapely, her eyes large and dark, with an expression of tenderness that did not belong to her character; and the delicate loveliness of her mouth and chin, the soft bloom of her complexion, together with her beautifully rounded shoulders and tapering arms, combined to form one of the loveliest of women.” -quote about Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, by an unknown admirer Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was born Baltimore, Maryland, February 6 1785, the eldest of 13 children . Known as “Betsy”, she was the daughter of a Baltimore, Maryland merchant, the first wife of Jérôme Bonaparte, and sister-in-law of Emperor Napoleon I of France. Elizabeth’s father, William Patterson, had been born in Ireland and came to North America prior to the American Revolutionary War. He was a Catholic, and the wealthiest man in Maryland after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. Elizabeth’s brother, Robert, married Carroll’s granddaughter, Marianne Caton (but more on her later…) How they met is a mystery, but Elizabeth and Jérôme Bonaparte (at the time 18 and 20, respectively) were married on December 24, 1803, at a ceremony presided over by John Carroll, the Archbishop of Baltimore. Betsy quickly became known for her “risqué” taste in fashion, starting with her wedding dress. Elizabeth Patterson's Wedding Dress, described as a dress so small that it “would fit easily into a gentleman’s pocket.” Image (more…)
In her book, The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, Elizabeth Kantor asks the question, “Just what is it about Jane Austen that has us coming back year after year, decade after decade, making her by far the most famous female writer of her time. Why DO we read Jane Austen?” It’s more than just wanting a good read or to be part of a perfect world, set apart in time. She theorizes that “We wish we could be Jane Austen heroines in our own lives, dealing with everything—especially men—with the sophistication and competence we admire in characters like Elizabeth Bennet. Women see something in Jane Austen that’s missing from modern relationships, and we can’t help wondering if there might be some way to have what we see there—without going back to empire waistlines, horse-drawn carriages, and the bad old days before the Married Women’s Property Act.” “I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness” -Elizabeth Bennet My mother’s favorite axiom is, “Your attitude is your choice”. After researching all of Jane’s work, using not only her six published novels, but also the fragments, Juvenilia and surviving letters, Kantor has come to a similar conclusion. Your happiness—or lack thereof, is the result of your own choices in life. Sure, we can be dealt situations less than idyllic—not everyone can be born a gentleman’s daughter in Hertfordshire, but the first question she would have us ask of ourselves is whether (more…)
The Free Jane Austen App. How odd that an 18th century author finds her work being promoted and enjoyed via the medium of 21st century technology. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath has been busy working on an Iphone app which will deliver a witty or meaningful quote from Jane Austen’s novels or letters to your phone every day. These quotes, compiled over the past 6 months are as relevant to life today as they were in the C18th! Jane Austen speaks of love, marriage and friendship. Here are some examples that may chime with you; “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” Pride and Prejudice “I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage.” Mansfield Park “To flatter and follow others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment.” Persuasion “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.” Pride and Prejudice “I think very highly of the understanding of all the women in the world — especially of those — whoever they may be — with whom I happen to be in company.” Northanger Abbey The app is free and can be found at the appstore by searching for Jane Austen Centre.
“MY DEAR HARRIET, You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall think you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the world I love, and he is an angel. I should never be happy without him, so think it no harm to be off. You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when I write to them and sign my name Lydia Wickham. What a good joke it will be! Pride and Prejudice This account of the life of Joseph Paisley (with an etched Likeness), styled as ‘The Celebrated Gretna-Green Parson’, appeared in the Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated solely to their Use and Amusement, May, 1811, as a letter to the editor. To the Editor of the Lady’s Magazine SIR, I inclose you an Account (from the Carlisle Journal) of the Gretna-Green Parson, who died a few days ago, as also an etching, which is an excellent likeness, and was taken some years ago, by a neighbouring country lad, without the knowledge of the Parson; he not being willing to sit for such a purpose. If you think them worth publishing, they are at your service. In addition to the printed (more…)
Lovely couple, side by side; They’ve left behind them Richard Kennet With the Parents of the Bride! Canterbury they have passed through; Next succeeded Stamford-bridge; Chilham village they came fast through; Now they’ve mounted yonder ridge. Down the hill they’re swift proceeding, Now they skirt the Park around; Lo! The Cattle sweetly feeding Scamper, startled at the sound! Run, my Brothers, to the Pier gate! Throw it open, very wide! Let it not be said that we’re late In welcoming my Uncle’s Bride! To the house the chaise advances; Now it stops–They’re here, they’re here! How d’ye do, my Uncle Francis? How does do your Lady dear? Jane Austen Enjoyed this article? Browse our book shop at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk
One Reader’s Response It is a truth universally acknowledged that upon turning the last page of Pride and Prejudice the reader feels joy at seeing Elizabeth and Darcy married, but upon closer examination can the reader admit reservations? Professor Wallace is content with the assertion that Austen (just like Mozart) wrote in a classical (or neoclassical) style in which the comic ending was conventional. But isn’t a happy ending a kind of escapist fantasy? I will a priori set aside minor factors which might account cumulatively for the reader’s happiness at the end: in her study entitled Jane Austen on Love, Juliet McMaster asserts for example: “In a discussion of the erotic response of Jane Austen’s women to men, it is worth considering her use of the rescue, which is often a stimulus to love.” To what extent do the readers of Pride and Prejudice respond to this or to Darcy’s open manifestation of physical attraction to Elizabeth? Such a question would be interesting to answer but it is beyond the scope of this essay. Will modern, skeptical readers unwilling to accept the fairytale ending look for problems over which Jane Austen might have glossed? Is the excitement the reader feels at the satisfying conclusion to be tempered with sober yet cynical thoughts about what marriage really entails and what experience teaches us? Or does the very unreality of a happy marriage become a satiric reflection on the very real limitations of society and individuals? It appears reasonable to consider (more…)
“Yes, Ma’am, all.” “All! — What, all five out at once? Very odd! — And you only the second. — The younger ones out before the elder are married! — Your younger sisters must be very young?” “Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full young to be much in company. But really, Ma’am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. — The last born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth, as the first. And to be kept back on such a motive! — I think it would not be very likely to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind.” Pride and Prejudice The Regency debutante comes in very handy for authors like me, even though she is as individual as the writers who create her. She can appear in any shape or size–within a framework of having the ability to attract “Mr. Right,” of course. (In other words, she can be anything as long as it’s attractive enough for the purposes of a romance.) Half the fun of a Regency (or any romance) is being able to understand and relate to the heroine; therefore, she must be wonderful in some ways and definitely lacking in others; she must be attractive but not so perfect that you can’t believe in her; she must strike a chord in (more…)