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Written by Anselm
(9/15/2009 12:26 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ardor, penned by Ivonne
Indeed not. At the beginning of Ch.16 JA informs us that
Ardour would seem to be a degree of feeling - a subset, if you will, of the categories of sensibility and romanticism. It seems to me to describe the warmth of feeling without which those two, and especially the latter, wouldn't exist. In doing this, it encapsulates the union of form and content. You can have "romanticism" as a type of world view, but you can't be half-heartedly romantic - ardour is a degree of feeling that is a necessary component of that state of mind.
It can be natural, but it can also be artificial. If the beginning of Ch.16 describes the reactions of someone who is characterised by "ardour", it is a reaction that is quite plainly dictated by what she thinks is expected of her by the prevailing norms of romanticism and sensibility, norms that also dictate such ridiculous excesses as denying the possibility of second attachments (pace Marianne's own father Henry) or of a 35-year-old's being able to feel love.
The interesting thing to note is that ardour is a degree of feeling that can be applied equally to something "natural" or something "artificial". In this context, I think it's important to keep in mind what several people have already noted on this group read: Marianne is "not yet 17". When I think of what I was like at that age, I'm embarrassed by my "ardour" and what seems now to be its artificiality. But it was very real to me nonetheless at that age. What I know to be artificial now, and can see as such in another 17-year-old, I thought was the most natural, deeply-felt thing at that age.
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