Edappel8 at cs.com
Wed May 14 20:16:22 EDT 2008
An addendum for those who insist that all posts on this list have
something most directly related to Burkology:
I made reference to Pride and Prejudice in my last post. This novel
is a textbook example of the protagonist[s] going to the edge of an abyss just
before the upswing toward a gloriously redemptive denouement, wherein a new
and higher identity marks that redemptive achievement. The identity inherent in
the family name "Bennet," lower, not very munificent, landed gentry (much
like Austen's family itself, and located in the British hierarchy below the
aristocrats; then the well-heeled, old-money, landed gentry; then the rich,
new-money, entrepreneurial class that has bought the property that confers high
status, much like Bingley's family), is deeply threatened when Lydia elopes,
unmarried, with that scoundrel Wickham, who's probably just after her body, the heck
with marriage and her family's good name. By way of social linkages, Lydia's
disgrace will devolve upon the two eldest sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, also.
No "respectable man" will now ever make them an offer of marriage, both Jane
and Elizabeth fear. Jane had earlier thought she was near to a proposal from
Charles Bingley, of five thousand a year. Elizabeth had been proposed to by
Fitzwilliam Darcy, of ten thousand a year, but had refused him because of his
"pride," etc. Now, finally, when Elizabeth had come close to loving Mr. Darcy,
all hope seemed dead for her and for her beloved sister.
Owing, however, to the good offices of Mr. Darcy, Wickham is found and
bought off. Lydia is saved by the honorable new name, "Mrs. Wickham." And
Jane and Elizabeth, now free of Lydia's fateful taint, rise to the lofty titles
of "Mrs. Bingley" and "Mrs. Darcy." They've skirted the edge of social
disaster, symbolic "pollution," before attaining symbolic heights that have their
social-climbing mother in a state of euphoric delirium.
Pride and Prejudice illustrates in general the hierarchal motive in
spades, as per British society of the day.
A Burkean footnote.
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