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|The distinction JA makes is between...
Written by Adrian
(3/13/2009 3:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, ignorance v. stupidity, penned by Karen G
When Elizabeth Bennet in P&P imagines how a match between her and Darcy would be ideal, she imagines her cleverness would make him more lively and his knowledge of the world would benefit her. That sounds like the match of a knowledgeable man with a clever but ignorant wife (although Lizzy is better read and, therefore, probably better informed than Catherine would be to start).
I can see how some men might wish (within this fallacy of two alternatives) to have a wife too unimaginative and to devoid of care to get into trouble, someone totally reliant on her husband like Lady Bertram in MP. Compared to that, a clever but uninformed wife sounds like something of a liability unless the husband intends to make her better informed and a true partner in the marriage.
I have always believed that Henry valued Catherine's ability to think and willingness to learn (at least from him) as well as her trust in him. But already Catherine's ignorance (of Bath etiquette) has caused some problems with the Thorpes and Tilneys, and I wonder if Henry's willingness to settle for ignorance may come back to haunt him later.
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