Social Constraint, and another thing, off-topic
Posted by Caroline on January 29, 1998 at 18:20:32:
In response to Dancing around the question, written by Patrick on January 29, 1998 at 16:37:54
] ] Again, see my post below. I really agree with Caroline: knowledge of JA from outside her books does suggest to me that the marriage ceremony mattered to her - for religious reasons as much as for social. If you can find any evidence for a contrary opinion external to the novels, I will be grateful to see it. If you don't think that's necessary, please explain to me why the characters who achieve successful relationships in her novels all get married, and the notably unsuccessful (William Elliott and Mrs Clay, Willoughby, Henry Crawford and Maria Rushworth (tell me I have the right sister), Lydia and Wickham) are the ones who contract extra-marital relationships?
] For the same reason that until twenty years or so ago, film makers never made films in which criminals got away with their crime: social constraint. Even if an artist (ie, a director) had, for legitimate artistic reasons, wanted to make such a film, she would not have been able to. JA, after all, was exquisitely sensitive to the difficulty of getting published.
There are plenty of novels that are pre-Austen where the successful relationship does not necessarily lead to marriage (can we start with Fielding or Defoe on this one?Or shall we tackle Sir Walter S straight away?), so I don't think you can claim "social constraint" here. I'll grant you that she wanted to be published, but the problems she had couldn't really be becuase of the controversy side of it. Controversy always sells, and ,if anything , hers were not controversial enough to catch the publisher's interest.Also, she wasn't, like a film-maker, dependent on other people's money...only her father's and her brothers', and she had their approval...in fact it was they who put the effort into publishing for her. It was only at the death of her father and the incapacity of her brother that she took matters into her own hands as regards her publishing.As far as I know, there is no time when she took the advice of her publisher over her own instinct, either.
Look also at the way she treated the one event that could have propelled her to real super-stardom...the 'request ' of the Prince Regent....hardly the reaction of someone who has more worries about publishing than about writing!
The other thing..I do believe in Natural Talent...as in the the Harvard theory of Multiple Intelligences, but that is totally off-topic, and if anyone wants to know about it, thaey can look it up on the Net, not talk about it here, please.
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