Posted by Kay on February 19, 1998 at 11:47:33:
I've been meditating this morning on George's kiss and the meanings it has for other characters. In Austen's time, it seems as any open display of affection was forbidden, and this was carried into Victorian times (except maybe for engaged, avowed lovers). George's kiss seems to me to bring us into the 20th century.
Miss Bartlett can only relate back to her Victorian experience and defines George as a cad and the kiss as an insult. I can imagine George Emerson believes he is expressing his honest emotion and breaking through Victorian hypocracy. Lucy is left in the middle, with yet something new to figure out. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
Forster was interested in the English character, and just today I read an essay on the topic. He postulates that Mrs. John Dashwood (from S & S) is typical of England. He calls her and her husband "moral consumptives" who collapse gradually without realizing what the disease is. They do wrong, not dramatically, but with propriety and pretense.
(Just thought I'd bring in the Austen connection.)
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