Ok, it might be the middle of July, but it’s time for some reminiscence. I spent a good chunk of June on holiday in France (I know, #humblebrag) and so I had even more time to indulge in some good quality relaxation…in the form of reading! The books I read June were definitely chosen with a theme in mind, and that was France! Read more
Jane Austen is one of the best loved authors in the world. Her books have been read, and re-read for generations; and for good reason. No one does it quite like Jane, but sadly her list of works is slightly on the short side. And, let’s face it…there’s only so many times you can re-read Pride & Prejudice! So, when you’re craving some Jane Austen, but want something new, here are five authors to give a try. Read more
Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last completed novel and, in my opinion, her best. Yes, Pride and Prejudice is light, bright and sparkling- with a host of characters that delight the reader but there’s something about Persuasion that sticks with you long after you’ve finished the last page and put the book back on the shelf… Read more
80 years ago when a young Georgette Heyer sat down to write her first, and arguably the world’s first, Regency Romance: Regency Buck I like to think she knew exactly what she was doing. Anyone who puts as much attention to detail into her novels as she did has to have a master plan. Read more
When I say Mr Darcy, what, or who, do you think of? You’ve probably got a pretty specific image in your head right now as you read this. Is it:
Colin Firth, and a certain lake?
maybe, Matthew MacFayden?
Or even this guy?
Maybe you picture none of these men, you are probably still imagining someone tall, dark, handsome (and rich) though, am I right? That’s the way I think most of us probably imagine him, I know I do anyway. What struck me when I was re-reading the book recently, however, was just how little Austen actually says about what Darcy looks like.
When he is first introduced, for example, Austen offers only a basic, stock description.The room is drawn to his “fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mein”. There is no mention of specifics, no chiselled jawline, powerful thighs, masterful stare or even fashionably high collar points.
In fact, almost as soon as she offers us this lacklustre description Austen undermines it by stating “his manners gave a disgust” and proceeds to destroy any good impression his ‘noble mein’ might have afforded him. He is discovered to be “proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased”, not even his mammoth wealth, Austen seems to suggest, can save him from being, well, a bit of a prat.
If we are to take Mr Darcy’s introductory description, he’s not even as good as Mr Bingley, and he certainly isn’t a man who could inspire fan clubs all over the world. So far, so not the Mr Darcy we know and love. The truth is that the Mr Darcy of Austen’s novel is shrouded in mystery. If anything Austen builds a picture of a conceited, arrogant man who is full of flaws, hardly a dashing hero. In fact, he’s altogether far too human if you ask me.
So how have we built such a clear picture of Mr Darcy in our minds when Austen herself is so vague? I think this might just be the key, maybe it’s because because Austen is vague. Every time she doesn’t describe his features, or his clothes, or what he’s thinking, it makes us imagine him. Then, because we aren’t clouded by the unavoidable knowledge that he has a hunchback, or a peg leg, or even just blonde hair, we can build up a picture of our own perfect man, which makes him far more dear to us than any written description could.
Perhaps it’s Austen’s masterstroke, or maybe she just didn’t like describing people, either way it allows us to constantly reimagine Mr Darcy. He can be Colin Firth, or Matthew MacFayden, or any of the 17 other actors IMDB.com lists as having played him. Even better than that, it allows Mr Darcy to be all for you, and that’s why we love him so much!
How do you imagine Mr. Darcy? Have film adaptations changed the way you see him?