Posted by Valerie Mc. on January 25, 1998 at 00:03:44:
In response to Married names, written by MariaH on January 24, 1998 at 09:39:15
] I've been lurking a while around here, especially reading all the wonderful fiction. One thing that I've noticed is that sometimes the married women are referred to with both their 'pre-marriage' and married surname eg.
] Elizabeth Bennet Darcy or
] Marianne Dashwood Brandon
] Would this really have happened?
I think (though I may be wrong), that in the English-speaking world that form is relatively recent. (I think Miss Manners says that in the early part of the century, use of all three names signified a divorcee.)
A woman could retain her surname in marriage if she were an heiress to a considerable fortune - in other words, if she had no brothers to carry on the name. So her name would be hyphenated with her husband's, and her arms quartered with his on the family achievement. This is how some of those immense achievements of arms that look like quilts came about - generations of canny marriages!
Notice in the novels that all married women are referred to as "Mrs. So-and-so"; I don't think even their given names were used, except by relatives and intimate friends.
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