These are lightly-edited versions of postings to the AUSTEN-L mailing list.
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 1996 17:47:47 -0400
From: Arnessa M. Garrett
If you think about, it Pride and Prejudice has the most weddings of any Jane Austen novel (tied with Emma). In Pride and Prejudice, more so than in Emma, nearly every marriage has a different flavor. It's almost as if Jane Austen was trying on all the types and ranking them.
At the bottom of the scale, the marriage of passion only: Lydia/Wickham and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. A little above that is the marriage of no passion and little affection: Mr. Collins / Charlotte Lucas and Mr. and Mrs. Hurst. Next comes the marriage of genuine affection and esteem: Bingley/Jane and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. Then there's the mother of all marriages, with affection, esteem, and passion (or, if you will, the stars and the moon): Darcy and Lizzy.
The problem of making a good marriage can be as weighty as those of money and social issues.
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 13:33:32 -0400
From: ELLEN MOODY
Patterns of Marriage or Living Together in Austen
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 13:58:42 -0500
From: Ursula Rempel
In the category "Deserve one Another", could we put Mr. and Mrs. Hurst?
For "As happy as this world allows", I'd add Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and Mr. and Mrs. Dashwood (senior) -- although we don't really know him. But although he left Mrs. Dashwood and his daughters in a precarious financial situation, I don't believe we're to think that the marriage was anything but happy, are we?
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 18:04:06 LCL
From: Cassia Van Arsdale
Subject: Re: Precarious Social Position
Abigail Feder wrote:
In Claire Tomalin's bio of Austen, she mentions several families that Jane knew whose members fell from the edges of the upper middle class back into the lower in the matter of one generation, based on marriages and economics.
Which is why Jane Austen's choice of the marriage plot isn't nearly as limiting as some critics make it out to be. It seems to me that the marriage plot is in many ways like a jazz tune: the basic structure is solid enough to accept as many curlicues and improvisations as any writer might want to thrust upon it. It can be joyous, as it tends to be in Austen, or sorrowful; it can include all of human existence or narrowly focus on a single family. Anything can happen within its confines, as it is so basic to human understanding.