Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Was Mr Darcy really Dr Blackwell?

In my (ha!) spare time, I've been working to start a local chapter of JASNA and have been searching high and low for fellow Jane Austen fans. They are out there, I'm sure of it. And when we meet, madcap Regency hijinks will ensue. Guaranteed.

Anyway, as part of the planning and preparing, I started a Jane Austen in Alaska blog to spark local interest. I'm not in the habit of stealing entries (especially my own!), but thought my friends here would probably find this interesting. Most of us own two different versions of Pride and Prejudice and we've all had to read "Sense and Sensibility" in an English class or four. Anyway, my nerd superpowers sparked up when I found this and I had to share.

Last week, The Telegraph ran the following story: “The real-life Mr Darcy who broke Jane Austen’s heart during a summer romance was a clergyman”.

In the past, the mystery man has been Tom Lefroy, a relative of a family friend. A scholar in Britain, Dr Andrew Norman, has written a book entitled “Jane Austen: An Unrequited Love” out this month. In it, he provides evidence he believes points to one Dr Samuel Blackall. And how this romance led to a rift between Jane and her beloved sister Cassandra.

If you get to read the article, take a look at the comments on the bottom. A reader suggested that Blackall wasn’t Mr Darcy…that the evidence, elements, and timing of the romance would actually parallel Cpt. Wentworth in “Persuasion.” I’ve always thought “Persuasion” was Jane Austen writing a happy ending for herself.

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