Tuesday 1 August 2017

Jane Austen and Seduction

It's a pleasure to welcome Meg Kerr for a look at seduction in the works of Jane Austen, and a cheeky quiz all about Austen's seductive scenes!


Devotion, explores the theme of seduction by picking up on the threads left by Pride and Prejudice Hello readers of Madame Gilflurt! My name is Meg Kerr, and I’m thrilled to be here with you. I’d like to thank Catherine for allowing me to contribute this guest post on seduction in Jane Austen’s writings. My new book, Devotion, explores the theme of seduction by picking up on the threads left by Pride and Prejudice through fan-favourite characters including Georgiana Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and others.

How does seduction feature, thematically, in Pride and Prejudice?
When as a reader you’re caught up in the chaste romance between Darcy and Elizabeth, you sometimes lose sight of the fact that two seductions are pivotal in the plot of Pride and Prejudice. 

We know quite a bit about George Wickham’s seduction of Lydia Bennet—or at least all the news that’s fit to print in a Jane Austen novel: she becomes his mistress until the pair are apprehended and forced to marry. 

We only hear about Georgiana Darcy’s brush with Wickham through Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth, so the details are hidden from us. Was more than hand holding involved? We have no reason to think well of Wickham; his relationship with Lydia was certainly a sexual one; and then after news of his flight to London with Lydia becomes public in Meryton, we hear that his “intrigues, all honoured with the title of seduction, had been extended into every tradesman's family.” Wickham is a man on permanent booty call, and Georgiana is a lovely, ingenuous and rich young girl….

What about in Jane Austen’s other novels?
George Wickham is not alone. Jane Austen’s novels are full of charming seducers. Austen’s bad boys—and bad girls! Besides Wickham going after everything that moves in Pride and Prejudice, there’s 
  • John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, who ruined Colonel Brandon’s teenaged ward, and who may have had illicit intentions towards Marianne Dashwood—even love-drugged Marianne is not certain of his innocence in that regard
  • Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park, who out of “cold blooded vanity” plans to capture the hearts of the three young ladies at Mansfield, Maria and Julia Bertram and Fanny Price, and is two-thirds successful; and then runs off with Mrs. Rushworth, née Maria Bertram, destroying her life (not his own of course)
  • Lady Susan in Lady Susan (something went on with Mainwaring and we somehow don’t feel positive that Sir James Martin remained untouched before his wedding night)
  • Mrs. Clay/William Elliot in Persuasion (it’s hard to tell who’s taking the lead there!). 

There’s even a parody seducer in Northanger Abbey, John Thorpe, who doesn’t exactly force Catherine Morland into a traveling-chaise and four and drive off with incredible speed, but pretty close. 

Seduction image

How does Devotion explore the theme of seduction?
The charming bad boys and bad girls do their actual seducing off the pages of the novels. I wanted to see what it would be like to catch a bad boy in the act! But not only that—more importantly to me—I wanted to see whether it was possible to redeem a bad boy. Austen tried. 

John Willoughby came close. “That his repentance of misconduct … was sincere, need not be doubted.” And as Austen says that rich old Mrs. Smith would almost certainly have forgiven him for marrying more or less any woman of character, “had he behaved with honour towards Marianne, he might at once have been happy and rich.”  

Henry Crawford came even closer. “Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman's affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of success and felicity for him.”

But neither reached the goal. Maybe it just is not possible for a bad boy to change?

Devotion is a tale of two seductions—one featuring Georgiana Darcy once more!, and of a charming bad boy, John Amaury, who might be able to change….

Devotion is a tale of two seductions. Who would like to seduce whom in Pride and Prejudice? Test your knowledge with this fun matching quiz and match the “he” to the correct “she”!

Quiz #1 Who does he want to seduce?
Who wants to seduce whom in Pride and Prejudice? Match the eager “He” to “Her”

About Devotion:
In this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana Darcy, now twenty years old and completely lovely, is ripe for marriage. Her brother has carefully selected her future husband, but the arrival of a long-delayed letter, and a secret journey, bring Georgiana into the arms of an utterly wicked and charming young man whose attentions promise her ruin. At the same time, events in Meryton are creating much-needed occupation for Mrs. Bennet and a quandary for Lydia Bennet’s girlhood companion Pen Harrington; and the former Caroline Bingley is given — perhaps — an opportunity to re-make some of her disastrous choices. Meg Kerr, writing effortlessly and wittily in the style of Jane Austen, sweeps the reader back to the year 1816 for a reunion with many beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice and an introduction to some intriguing characters.

About Meg Kerr:

What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her.


Regencyresearcher said...

You forgot Frank Churchill. Many readers think he got Jane Fairfax pregnant. Though that isn't necessarily true, he was engaged to Jane and flirting with Emma. While he does marry penniless Jane, the general belief is that he will prove unfaithful within the year.

Alma Clark said...

Oh yeah, and Captain Tilney. That guy was a bad news bear!

Regencyresearcher said...

Really, Mr. Collins doesn't want to seduce anyone. He did want a wife. The chart is misleading because Mrs. Bennet isn't looking for someone to seduce a daughter either. Darcy isn't going to seduce anyone, either. Men looking for quick sex and those looking for a spouse are intermingled.