In Regards to Jane Austen

December 28, 2008

posted by Caroline Picard

I used to have a hard time with Austen; I use to feel she was too much the parlor-woman, the author that made the list by virtue of being a woman. Her presence in my scholastic syllabi signified a kind of inverse sexism, to me. What I see now is that I was too young to read her. Even though she was present in my classes at age 16, and again at age 20, I didn’t understand the meaning of subtext. At those ages, I was frustrated by the characters inability to speak their minds. I had no respect for the formal structures and heierarchies of society – structures which I now appreciate, flawed though they may be, because they give strangers a chance to feel more comfortable together. In as much as within a structure, non-familars have a better sense of what to expect and what is expected of them. I guess I would also argue that it doesn’t matter what society you live in, that society has it’s own rules, rituals and expectations, and it is the style of a community, as it navigates those things that gives us a chance to develope friendship, just as it makes it similarly impossible to say the thing one most wants to say.

I appreciate Jane Austen much more now. I think I might even find the foibles amusing rather than frustrating.

austen

I found these familal charts posted, along with a ton of other information, at http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/ppdrmtis.html#index2.

Bennets, Philipses, and Gardiners

Mr. Collins is a cousin of Mr. Bennet (an explanation of the entail is available).

                    +--------------+---------------------------+
                    |              |                           |
                    |              |                           |
Mr. Bennet === Mrs. Bennet   Mrs. Philips === Mr. Philips   Edward === M----
            |                                              Gardiner |
 +--------+-+-----+-------+-------+                                 |
 |        |       |       |       |                           +--+--+--+
Jane  Elizabeth  Mary  "Kitty"  Lydia                         |  |  |  |
                     [Catherine]                           Four children

Darcys, Fitzwilliams, and De Bourghs

The individuals in parentheses died before the main action of the novel begins.

                       (Old Earl of ----,
                       surnamed Fitzwilliam)
                              |
                 +------------+----+----------------+
                 |                 |                |
  (Old Mr. === (Lady            current            Lady  === (Sir Lewis
   Darcy)   |   Anne)         Earl of ----      Catherine |   de Bourgh)
            |                      |                      |
     +------+------+           +---+------+               |
     |             |           |          |               |
Fitzwilliam    Georgiana     elder     Colonel          Anne de
   Darcy         Darcy       son(s)   Fitzwilliam        Bourgh

Lucases and Bingleys

 Sir William === Lady                 +----------+----------+
    Lucas     |  Lucas                |          |          |
              |                       |          |          |
    +---------+----------+         Charles    Caroline   Louisa === Mr.
    |         |          |         Bingley    Bingley              Hurst
Charlotte   Maria    other boys
  Lucas     Lucas     and girls
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