Luddites and P&P dates
Posted by Linden on May 23, 1998 at 19:07:14:
This thread has been moved from the P&P board.
The story so far:
The issue started when I questioned the idea that P&P is set in the years 1811-1812: wouldn't everyone have noticed that the Luddite rebellion was going on?
Now read on:
Luddism was a response to the erosion by the industrial revolution of the idea that the function of an industry was to provide a reasonable living to the people who worked in it. The three main centres of Luddism were:
• Nottinghamshire, where the stocking-makers were really peeved about the introduction of broad-loom cloth which was cut up to make shoddy but cheap stockings;
• The West Riding of Yorkshire, where the croppers - skilled and well-paid workers - were opposed to the introduction of the gig mill which would put them out of their job of finishing the wool cloth;
• Lancashire, where the objection was more generally against high costs and low wages, and less industrially based than the other two areas.
Luddism was often highly organised and disciplined - far more so than the normal spontaneous food riot, which had been an accepted tactic from the poor against profiteering for centuries.
Derbyshire was right in the middle of these three areas, and while Pemberley itself would not be attacked, there would surely have been some effects:
• soldiers (both regular and militia) being posted North and marching around;
• the fictional Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy's relative, Earl Fitzwilliam, heavily involved in putting down Luddism in his position as Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire;
• general disruption and concern, and an acute division between the haves and the have-nots.
To give a contemporary analogy, it's like someone going on holiday to Bali and not noticing what's happening in the rest of Indonesia.
If P&P is accepted as set in 1811-1812, then JA was being even more blind to contemporary events than she is generally taken to be.
I think that P&P was set in 1805-06 (calendrical dating taken from the years in which the Netherfield Ball could have taken place on Tuesday November 26).
Over to you:
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- A Cloudy Subject Marie-Bernadette 11:20:52 5/28/98 (6)
- Funny you should mention that! Caroline 10:05:51 5/28/98 (4)
- Trafalgar Marie-Bernadette 12:48:55 5/26/98 (1)
- Jane & her books P. Bingham 13:19:30 5/26/98 (0)
- Possible dates for P&P Linden 06:06:01 5/25/98 (1)
- Not obsessive... Helen 12:16:17 5/28/98 (0)
- Okay, before we start Caroline 23:50:38 5/23/98 (6)
- The extent of Luddism Linden 20:28:40 5/24/98 (0)
- OOPS! A correction.... Caroline 10:36:43 5/24/98 (3)
- OOPS! A correction.... Caroline 10:35:00 5/24/98 (0)
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