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Pride and Prejudice and The Regency Era

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Emily Navas

on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Pride and Prejudice and The Regency Era

and the Age of Elegance Pride and Prejudice Time and Place The Novel takes place in England in the early 1800s, during a time known as the Regency period. This term refers to England's ruler between 1810-1820, George IV. He served as a regent, or substitute monarch for his father. This period is sometimes called the Age of Elegance.

Encompassing the years of 1812 to 1830, the period signaled the end of Georgian exuberance and the advent of Victorian sensibilities. The Industrial Revolution, which had begun in the mid-18th century, continued to bring innovation to the Western hemisphere during this era, while the political world remained entangled in wars and revolutions.

For nearly the entire first half of the Regency era, France and England remained embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1815, Napoleon's quest for continental domination was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. The British continued to dominate India, the West Indies, and the Persian Gulf, its handsome spoils from peace treaties established during this period.

Elsewhere around the globe, the Regency era saw the independence of several South American countries including Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. Spain experienced a revolution, resulting in the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1812. In 1829, the Peace of Adrianople ended the Russo-Turk War and Turkey acknowledged Greek independence. Fashion

Regardless of the wearer's social class, fashions of the Regency era were lighter and simpler than those of past decades. The stiff brocades and embroidered silks of the Georgian period were replaced by lightweight fabrics in plain, subdued colors. Inspired by Grecian statues, Regency designers raised the waistline to just below the wearer's bosom. The waistline was often defined by a wide sash tied in a bow at the back of a dress and accentuated by a crossover gauze bodice or muslin neckerchief above.

Following the trend of women's fashions, men in the Regency era were dressed more soberly than their predecessors. The richly colored, brocaded suits were replaced by plain, dark cutaway coats which were especially practical for horsemanship. Knee breeches, stockings and buckled shoes gave way to pantaloons tucked into high riding boots. Finally, the powdered wigs of the Georgian era were forever relegated from fashion, as men of the period began wearing their hair short and natural. Important Terms/ Concepts Gentry: A term reserved for a social class of person in Austen’s time. These individuals made their incomes from renting the lands they owned. It should be noted that it is a term utilized throughout history in different ways, but this definition covers the use through the Regency Period.

Governess: A woman hired to educate the children of a household. She was usually a gentlewoman that had to resort to working due to lack of financial support (from husband or family). Though educated herself, she was considered lower in rank to the family she worked for, but higher in rank compared to the rest of the house servants.

Introductions: A new person to a party or gathering was always introduced by someone who knew him. her. New acquaintances would curtsey or bow, while handshaking was reserved for true friends. Self introductions were allowed by people of higher rank. People of lower rank had to wait for an introduction and remain silent in mixed-rank company until such an introduction was made. Once introduced to someone, it was expect to forevermore acknowledge that person with a bow, curtsey or nod.

Militia: An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers. In Jane Austen’s time militias were called to protect the homeland from overseas invasion if needed.

Parsonage: A parsonage is the building that houses the leader of the local Christian church. History Vs. Writing War colored most of Jane Austen’s life.

The American Revolution raged during her childhood years, the French Revolution was sparked when she was a teenager, leading into the French and Napoleonic Wars. Many critics find it odd that Jane Austen’s novels almost totally exclude these important events, for she would certainly have been aware of them. But Austen’s focus was consistent with the subject she had chosen to depict.

Her novels faithfully reflect the self-centered view of the well-to-do classes. Moreover, as an artist, Austen knew what her particular gifts were: observing and commenting on the manners and morals of the middle class she knew intimately. Women's Fashion Men's Fashion Ten Ways to Be Vulgar in Regency England 10) Broadcast your knowledge and opinions as widely as you can.
9) Remember: what happens in Scotland, stays in Scotland. This neighboring country was the place of choice for hasty marriages and elopements.
8) Be cutting edge with your fashions. Put some plums on your bonnet, even if no one else is doing it!
7) Carry on a conversation with someone to whom you have not been introduced.
6) Have a prominent or affluent relative, and be sure to spread the word so everyone knows of your influence in society.
5) Gossip! And use slang when you do.
4) Hey fellas! Do you fancy a special lady? Take her for a ride in your carriage...without an escort!
3) Laugh. Loudly! And as often as you can. It doesn’t really matter what you’re laughing at.
2) Touch a member of the opposite sex anywhere but their hand in public.
1) As a woman, write and publish a novel, and take credit for your work! Art Literature and Poetry

The Regency era blossomed with the romantic literature and poetry of writers such as Lord Byron, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and of course, Jane Austen. All of these poets and authors published most of their renowned works during this period. Many of these writers are associated with Romanticism, an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe.

Although all her works are love stories, and although her career coincided with the Romantic movement in literature, Austen was not an intensely passionate Romantic. Among Austen's most famous works include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Her insights into the lives of women of her period, and her mastery of form and irony have made Austen one of the most noted and influential novelists of her time.


Regency composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Gioacchino Rossini, Franz Peter Schubert, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. Beethoven is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of music, and was the predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music.

Additionally, during this era, the waltz became all the rage in ballrooms across Europe. Courtship and Marriage Courtship – that interlude of finding one’s mate – was a serious affair with rules rigidly enforced by all parties. During the search for a potential marriage partner, single persons were severely limited in when they could touch or conduct an intimate conversation The merest hint of impropriety was damaging, reputation and the prize of virginity valued as highly as the dowry. Thus a man and woman were never alone or allowed to sit too close together, they could not address each other by their Christian names, and were unable to correspond privately or exchange gifts. Numerous booklets on the “rules of conduct” were written and memorized to ensure acted correctly.

The early 1800s welcomed a radical shift toward marriages being based on love or at least affection. Arranged marriages were frowned upon, and pressure from parents was judged contemptible. It was deemed wise to consider equality in social standing, wealth, and security, but emotion played a much larger part in the pairing. Young men and women were expected to choose based on their heart, but also utilize reason and responsibility to family. A marriage proposal was directly asked of the lady in question with parental consent obtained after she agreed, rather than the old-fashioned method of asking the father first. Regency Manners By 1820, a strict code of conduct had evolved for polite society that protected the upper crust from vulgar and improper behavior. The code was particularly stringent for young ladies of good breeding, for one false step could permanently injure their chances of making an excellent match. As the century progressed, the rules of precedence became so complicated that inexperienced Victorian hostesses would often consult Burke’s Book of Precedence or their relatives and friends in order to avoid critical mistakes in leading guests to the dining room in the right order and seating them properly at the table.

Rules of conduct covered visitations, invitations, introductions, balls and assemblies, morning and afternoon walks, rides in the park, relations between men and women, and modes of dress. A budding young hostess would spend countless hours learning the code in order not to offend family, friends, strangers, and guests.

While a young lady of high rank would enjoy some protection from Society’s censure when she made a mistake, those who were rising up the social ladder or whose families were placed on the lower rungs or moved along the fringes of the Ton, were given no such license. It was particularly important for them to develop a certain elegance of manners and deportment, and to adhere strictly to the rules
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