Posted by Claire on August 06, 1997 at 21:34:54:
In reply to rules for physical contact in courting posted by gail on August 05, 1997 at 09:24:28
] In P&P2 Elizabeth and Darcy are first shown to kiss after the wedding. Who knows what the rules were
] for kissing and other physical contact for couples courting in Jane Austen's day?
In an older P&P book, I have a lengthy introduction, critique by one Tony Tanner. The critique is over 60 pages, and he has done a marvelous job on analyzing the times, characters, etc. Among his descriptions of the social norms of the time: It is a society which stresses social control over individual ecstasy, formality over informality, sartorial neatness over bodily abondon, and alert consciousness over the more Romantic states of revery and trance. The schemes and structures of the group -- family, community, society -- tned to coerce and even predetermine the volition and aspirations of the self. ... and some of the dialogue between Elizabeth and Darcy requires a very high degree of alertness and conscionsness. Indeed, this is just the point, that in this society linguistic experience is stress almost to the exclusion of bodily experience. That last statement pretty much sums up their contact. But Mr. Tanner writes more: Intimate physical contacts and experiences, while not denied, are minimized. hands may meet, though it is more likely to be the eyes which come together across a distinct social space. ... Dancing is almost exclusively an occasion for private conversation while in public. It seems most important for one to be able to fully express oneself in language, which, I think is why we love Austen so well.
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