Etiquette has played an important role in a secular society of the 19th century. Manners and rules of behavior meant as much as the social origin or status. Etiquette was a basis for any kind of relationships including romantic ones. Courtship of the 19th century had strict rules that were respected by the society. Through certain rituals of communication, people were getting to know each other better in order to get close and build the fundament of the future family. However, etiquette also played a limiting role. It was an unwritten law that only people of similar social status could get married. Etiquette was forbidding any unequal marriages and romantic relationships between people of different social classes. Moreover, etiquette was very strict to women and their reputation. The only possible way of relationship between a man and a woman was marriage, and any other kind of communication was restricted. For instance, if a woman had sexual relationship before marriage, she was considered impure, and her reputation was ruined for the rest of her life, it would also bring shame to all her family. Such women often could not get married after the fact of their dishonor had been exposed. In this paper, I would like to examine the courtship etiquette of the 19th century in detail and analyze its impact on the society.
In the 19th century, the society considered love essential for marriage and developed a certain code of ethics that would provide a descent way to build a strong union between a man and a woman based on companionship. The fiction of that time focused on love themes proclaiming respect, cooperation, and romance as the fundamental elements of a good marriage. It became a popular tendency...
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...udies 15.1-3 (1988): 56. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Goodheart, Eugene. "Emma: Jane Austen's Errant Heroine." Sewanee Review 116.4 (2008): 589. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Hartley, Florence. "On a Young Lady's Conduct When Contemplating Marriage." The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness A Complete Hand Book for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society. Boston: Julia Miller, 1860. 244-58. Print.
Rothman, Ellen K. "Private Conduct." Hands and Hearts: A History of Courtship in America. New York: Basic, 1984. 127-51. Print.
Turner, E. S. "Courtship Tools." A History of Courting. New York: E.P. Dutton &, 1955. 70-84. Print.
Winkelman, Michael A. "Flirtation; Or Let Us Sport Us While We May: An Assay And Manifesto." Midwest Quarterly 49.1 (2007): 56. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
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