[LMB] OT: Social structures, was Build your own Emperor

A. Marina Fournier saffronrose at me.com
Fri Sep 29 10:38:43 BST 2017

On Sep 28, 2017, at 10:43 PM, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com> wrote:

Jane Austen gets several chapters of angst out of a single careless sentence uttered at a picnic.

Persuasion, right?

While she wasn't writing about rebellious heroines, she was pointing out the lack of responsibility of men who were supposed to provide for their dependent womenfolk. Mr Bennet in P&P--or his father--did not truly provide for them in the case of no male issue. In S&S, Elinor and immediate family were left with very little and treated like servants by their relatives, even though they did have a separate home. This was an era where gentlewomen could not take any employment that paid enough money to live independently, and it was generally the improvidence or thoughtlessness of the male head of household to blame. What dowry might have been brought to the marriage may have been spent by a well, gambler or self-centered cur.

As for more modern writers - Georgette Heyer gets it right. In The Grand Sophy
she has a heroine who certainly breaks a few rules (kidnapping people and shooting
them, frex) but she does it, again, within certain social boundaries. She knows
which rules to break, and how to behave to stay within acceptable limits. She
makes sure she has a chaperone for the kidnapping! Obey the right rules and you
can bend a few others.

All hail St. Georgette!
Sorry, this is a bit jumbled. I'm not making a lot of sense right now.

Nonsense--you made sense very well.


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