Lord Peter as Darcy and D.L.Sayers as postregency Austen (moved from P&PB)
Posted by sanna on July 30, 1998 at 13:02:47:
"I agree" by Tamee on P&Pboard 270798:
"The question of gratitude reminded me strongly of another literary couple [Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane] whose entire courtship was made difficult, tramatic, and nigh unto impossible because of he saved her from a hanging and she felt a heavy cloud of gratitude hanging over her head that it took five years to dispel so that she could with a free conscience marry him because she loved him and not just to be grateful)
In P&P board there was conversation about the "curse of gratitude" - what effects had Darcy´‹s help in Lydia´s unhappy business to his relationship with Lizzy? This sort of continues it, but perhaps I´d better move my message to Library (Board Managers? Is Big Sister Watching You :-)J OK?)
Peter Wimsey´s turbulent relationship with Harriet Vane came quickly also to my mind, when there was talk about gratitude as foundation of love, but hopefully not the main reason for marriage (See the thread on P&P Board, interesting talk about regency and victorian sensibilities). Dramatic or traumatic - whichever Tamee meant, that was the tone of the Wimsey-Vane-affair (until the very happy end. The success of the marriage was questioned only by Miss de Vine). Similarities with P&P and Sayers´ 5-year -love-story (gratitude is just one of them):
1. Unhappy beginnings - the man is too self-centered and emotional (overcome by his own feelings) , the woman under stress or a misapprehension -we could perhaps say that she has some justified reservations about the man (but she or we don´t yet understand or accept the whole picture)
2. Man has a high social position - "eligibility is his middle name" (Gaudy Night)
3. Woman refuses him - Lizzy once, Harriet many times. The question of how to give-and-take maturely and the question of equality concerns both ( regency-Lizzy, of course, has different morality than a truly modern woman Harriet)
4. There is a clear reflection of wrong prudence and moral laxness in both stories - shown in other characters that mirror them (compare: The Duchess of Denver/Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Harriet´s ex-lover or nephew Jerry/the Willoughby-Crawford-Wickham-Elliot characters.) A quest for the right sense and sensibility in love.
5. The last proposal scene (or the preparation for it) in Sayers (Gaudy Night) has much of the same tone as the 2nd proposal in P&P (the man´s new self-realization and humbler attitude, the woman partly ashamed, matured to acceptance)
6. The "Great First Occasions" in both love stories seem to me similar in spirit if not literally same (seeing Pemberley for the first time/Harriet´s first "poor old Peter!"-remark and insights on river). Actually, writing letters and reading them is important for the development of relationship for both couples.
7. Intellectual integrity and honesty is a key to happiness with Wimseys, the Darcys are perhaps not so high-brow, but in the same line.
8. "Detachment - if you find a person who likes you because of it, that liking is sincere" (Gaudy Night). A certain kind of detachment (or trying to achieve it) is certainly something common both to Lizzy and Darcy and something that sets them apart from their usual social spheres.
Oh dear, I can´t get to the end of comparisons. There are many lovely sentences and bits of text to compare, but let´s cite another time. And I haven´t yet started to name the differences (there are certainly many). This is reading and near-reading to your heart´‹s delight - a kind of improvisation - everyman´s intertextuality (well, are there any direct citations from Austen in Sayers?...). I´ll hope this amuses at least Sayers-fans (there seem to be a lot of them in RoP) and doesn´t suspend any pleasure of others.J:-)
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