By P. Menon
This lucid and tightly-argued examine makes use of the motif of the mentor-lover - embodying different variations of sexual love, energy and judgement - to discover, assessment and evaluate the works of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot as they cope with problems with sexuality, kinfolk, selfhood, freedom, behavior and gender. The determine additionally offers a way to probe their courting to the reader as they turn into mentor-lovers via authorship, each one eliciting a special kind of love and electing a distinct sort of guide.
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Extra resources for Austen, Eliot, Charlotte Bronte & The Mentor-Lover
The explanation lies in Austen’s relish in making explicit the physical attraction between Darcy and Elizabeth – his sexual response to Elizabeth effectively concealing his deficiencies of character and giving a superficial impression that he engages in a “merry war”. His repeated smiles, generally in response to one of Elizabeth’s sallies, are one way Austen effectively captures the softening effect of Elizabeth’s combination of wit and physical appeal on the self-sufficiency, even the hostility, of the unwilling lover.
Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away. . ” (208) But while Elizabeth’s self-criticism is warranted, it is also at this point that Austen begins to exert a pressure on the reader’s judgment that can only be driven by her need to make the couple moral equals. For, although this reads convincingly as Elizabeth’s recognition and repudiation of her father in her, Elizabeth’s self-condemnation is extravagant – Jane’s “generous candour” is clearly less desirable than Elizabeth’s “discernment”.
In Pride and Prejudice, the relationship of passion and judgment would come under scrutiny again, but with an important difference. Austen had tackled only what she could handle with ease in Northanger Abbey, whereas in Pride and Prejudice she set up a mentorlover situation that proved more troublesome. To some extent, Pride and Prejudice echoes Northanger Abbey, in both novels the lovers having the need and the potential to learn something ‘Northanger Abbey’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Emma’ 29 from each other.