"That happens not to be the case" (potential Life & Times topic)
Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on March 27, 1998 at 20:54:26:
In response to the timing of P&P etc....not REGENCY at all, written by Kate on March 27, 1998 at 09:56:29
] If, as seems to be the case, P&P and S&S were substantially written in the late 1790s (we know NA definitely was) then they aren't "Regency" novels at all, not even close. I am totally ignorant about when that major switch in fashions occured (from powdered wigs, long hair for men, hooped skirts, to short hair, and the regency style of short waisted dress) but I thought it was around about the turn of the century (isn't the dress style called the "empire line" because Empress Josephine adopted it?)
] In that case, the assumption that P&P and S&S and NA take place in a world of regency fashions etc maybe misplaced. Maybe it belongs in the previous era... Wounldn't it be interesting to see an adaptation that took this approach?
Kate -- the fairly heavily Classically-influenced fashions didn't really start to be adopted in England in any big way until about 1797 or so, but women's clothes had already loosened up considerably before then, and hoops went out of style in the 1780's (except for "court dress"). Wigs also went out at about the same time.
Also, Jane Austen did fairly heavily revise ("lop and crop") Pride and Prejudice before publication, and it seems likely that if she had still conceived of it as taking place in 1796-1797 (the years when she first worked on "First Impressions"), then she would have added an explanatory note, as she did to Northanger Abbey.
By the way, the most purely Classical women's clothes are associated with France in the decade or so whose midpoint is about 1800, and Napoleon's empire wasn't formally declared until 1804.
There's a little info on some of these points on the web-pages http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/ppbrokil.html and http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/japeriod.html .
If you want to see a "pre-Regency" (in the broad sense of the term) approach to Sense and Sensibility, look at the illustrations nearr the bottom of http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/jabrokil.html, where all the women are shown wearing dresses that some women wore some of the time in the early 1790's (I think? -- not real sure...)
P.S. The subject line of this message is an SF in-joke ("The Mote in God's Eye") -- sorry...
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