Essay on Pride and Prejudice as Romantic Novel and Romantic Criticism

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Pride and Prejudice as Romantic Novel and Romantic Criticism To a great extent, Jane Austen satirizes conventional romantic novels by inverting the expectations of "love at first sight" and the celebration of passion and physical attractiveness, and criticizing their want of sense. However, there are also elements of conventional romance in the novel, notably, in the success of Jane and Bingley's love. The first indication of Austen's inversion of accepted romantic conventions is Elizabeth and Darcy's mutual dislike on first sight. However, Jane and Bingley fall in love almost immediately, and the development of their romance follows conventional romantic-novel wisdom, down to the obstacles in the form of Darcy's and Bingley's sisters' disapprobation (the typical disapproval of the Family) and the attraction between the rich young man and the middle class maid. Their Cinderella story ends in happily-ever-after, as does Elizabeth's and Darcy's. Elizabeth's defiance of Lady Catherine recalls Meg's defiance of her aunt in Little Women, and Darcy's willingness to accept Elizabeth despite the inferiority of her connections is a triumph of conventional romantic-novel expectations. One of the most striking examples of Austen's satire is her emphasis on reason, as opposed to the wanton passion lauded into the bulk of romantic novels. Lydia and Wickham's marriage is seen as a triumph of their "passions" over their "virtue", and she is certain that "little permanent happiness" can arise from such a union. This is exemplified by Wickham's continuance of his extravagant habits, and the degeneracy of any feelings between them to indifference. The indifference Mr Bennet has for his wife, and the unsatisfactorine... ... middle of paper ... ...Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1983. Jane Austen Info Page. Henry Churchyard. U of Texas, Austin. 23 Nov. 2000. <http://www.pemberly.com/janeinfo/janeinfo/html>. Kaplan, Deborah. Structures of Status: Eighteenth-Century Social Experience as Form in Courtesy Books and Jane Austen's Novels. Diss. University of Michigan, 1979. Monaghan, David. Jane Austen Structure and Social Vision. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1980. Poplawski, Paul. A Jane Austen Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998. Reidhead, Julia, ed. Norton Anthology of English Literature vol. 7, 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000. Ward, David Allen. "Pride and Prejudice." Explicator. 51.1: (1992). Wright, Andrew H. "Feeling and Complexity in Pride and Prejudice." Ed. Donald Gray. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1966. 410-420.
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