Drabble's comments on Brandon and Willoughby
Posted by Hannah on July 28, 1998 at 20:25:45:
In response to Drabble on Willoughby, written by Linda K. on July 21, 1998 at 18:37:07
Here is the Margaret Drabble essay I was talking about. FIrst of all, Drabble on Colonel Brandon:
"It is usually objected that Colonel Brandon is too sketchy a character to be accepted as a fitting husband for the complex and demanding Marianne: Marvin Mudrick calls him a "vacuum." Also, the disparities in age alarm us almost as much as they alarmed the sixteen-year-old Marianne...Austen does her best to render plausible Brandon's somewhat unlikely passion for Marianne, but there is little to suggest that other than a certain failure of hope and spirit would have persuaded her to settle for him...it is only a romantic fictitious convenience that can pass off her marriage to the COlonel as one of perfect happiness and growing compatibility."
"One would have expected the author to have dismissed Willoughby as decisively as she dismisses her other philanderers, the mercenary Wickham and the wealthy Henry Crawford...But Willoughby refuses to be distanced by Elinor's sense and Austen's morality and irony. He insists on being heard. His reappearance, on a cold and stormy night, as Marianne lies, as he thinks, desparately ill, is as melodramatic as his original introduction, but far more seriously intended, and his long attempt at self-exoneration is oddly moving, and quite beyond Austen's usual emotional range...The irredeemable and "diabolical" villain has become, through the urgency of his emotion and the power of his presence, almost acceptable as a brother-in-law."
I took these quotes from Drabble's introduction to Sense and Sensibility, published by Signet in 1995. Drabble's introduction was copyrighted in 1989.
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