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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - 130925.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Deidre Lynch

Lecture 6 – 130925 - Utopian promise of the first sentence is undercut so quickly - Friction between the world we occupy in that first sentence in what the narrator is concerned with the universal truth of men wanting a woman as a wife - Second sentence says that the truth is something more complicated to determine o Having to guess at truth because we don’t know the feelings or the views of a man first entering a neighborhood - Geographical and social mobility – a world in which people are moving houses o People who are strangers from one another are obliged to associate with another - Knowledge and limitations to female knowledge - We move from a world in which truths are fixed to a world that is not fixed o Truths and people are unsettled in this book - People in this world aren’t fixed in place – universal things that seem universal truths end up being local truths and something that newcomers would not recognize o Mr. and Ms. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, the militia - In 1813 when P&P was published, the local militia was no longer made up from people from local areas but instead from all over England o The militia in P&P are unknown to the longtime inhabitants of the neighbourhood - New disruptions in the systems of property (by rights, Netherfield should be occupied by a local family that’s lived there for generations) o Perhaps family fortunes have declined so they rent the place out to someone else o Or maybe they’ve gone up in the world o The Bingleys are renting because of new money (his father did very well in trade) – from a trading family so they don’t have a property of their own (which is why they have to rent) - All of these are little notations that this world is socially unstable – it is seeing the change of class systems (discussed in Evelina) - An entail is a system that is set up to make sure that property never gets subdivided o A device to keep the property in the male line (as daughters usually get married off to different families and therefore adopt different names) o Mr. Bennet has no choice about it o A way to stabilizing a social world o Secure continuity in identities and not discontinue identities o If Mr. Bennet had more energy than he seem to have, some critics have pointed out that he could have gone to law to give property to his daughters – but law is pricey and a long process - Birth and money no longer intercept in any straight forward manner o How is a woman like Elizabeth Bennet to know if these men are good characters? o How do you know that the gentleman, who you might entrust your fate, is good?  A lot of guessing about his character o Women have limited opportunities of mobility and limited opportunities of intelligence processing/gathering o They have to trust the men they meet to be gentlemen (kind, polite, gentile) - Ch. 15: “of most gentlemanlike appearance” – meeting Mr. Wickham for the first time o Appearances can be deceiving – appearance are not essences - Ch. 3: “nearly looked the gentleman” – the first intro in the ballroom, Mr. Bingley’s first appearance o Somebody who first appears gentlemanlike may not actually be a gentleman - Austen’s women have to be very careful; it is easy to be mislead in the world the y are occupying o Elizabeth is smart but she’s not as smart as she thinks she is – she’s quick to discern things that separates her from her sisters o She’s a studier of character (vol. 1, ch. 9) - The narrat
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