Sunday, August 9, 2015

Wharton, Mayo and Jane Austen

Austen, Wharton and Virginia Mayo compared through the century, at least the mentions in books. Mayo and her plays were extremely popular in the early part of the century. The Lux Theatre (Radio) featured Polly of the Circus in the 1930's. Austen and Wharton are favorites today.

As I was going through the March, 1914 Montreal newspapers, looking for more information about the Municipal Elections of the time that will figure in my next ebook Service and Disservice, the follow up to Furies Cross the Mersey, both ebooks about the Suffragists of Montreal  pre and during WWI, I came across an interesting article.

The Book Column in the Montreal Daily Mail discusses Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Now, as I have written on this blog, that novel wasn't quite as well-known back then as it is today.

This google ngrams above and below suggests as much - and suggests mentions in books peaked in the 1960's.

 I wondered what the column's author,  Pendennis , had to say- and yes, the columnist (a woman or man?) managed to use his/her critique of Austen's books to diss the woman suffrage movement.

Of course, she did!

She did this by admiring the way Elizabeth turned down Mrs. Collins' marriage proposal. "Respectfully." sic.

Lizzie's use of restraint when replying to Collins' proposal meant she was a kind, well-bred girl and not a ball -busting bitch like modern 1910 women. (OK, my words.)

The fact that the Bennett family's fate was in the hands of the silly man didn't play a role in her mode of rejection, apparently, or the fact that he was a comical idiot and not worth the effort of a good put-down.

Remember, Elizabeth said really mean things to Darcy. "I had not known you _ days and I realized your were the last person I could ever marry." Ouch!

The author of the column says to conclude, "It would be interesting to find a man these days who would propose in such a way to a progressive suffrage seeking daughter of Eve in Montreal and it would be more interesting to read the language where she would mutilate his masculine proud."

Read about Polly of the Circus as compared to Anne of Green Gables here.on another post.