A Jane Austen Valentine: Rankling and Swooning Hearts for 200 Years!

Spring, illustration by Rex Whistler (1929)

Many associate Jane Austen with romance. I also appreciate her slightly stinging reproves of the process. So in celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are few lines from Pride and Prejudice to make you swoon and or rankle your romantic ire.

“I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!”  

“I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love,” said Darcy.

“Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.” Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Chapter 9

Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?” Elizabeth Bennet to her aunt Gardiner, Chapter 27

“… and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.” Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, Chapter 58

Everyone – be sure to eat the requisite portions of chocolate today. It works both as a balm and acknowledgement for a number of romantic woes and pleasures. ;-)

A Calendar, illustrated by Rex Whistler (1929)The image above is of a detail of ‘Spring’, one of the four seasons illustrated by Rex Whistler for The New Forget-Me-Not: A Calendar, Cobden-Sanderson, London (1929). A yearly diary for 1930-31, the book contains diary pages for the week interspersed with forty short contributions by prominent writers of the day: Max Beerbohm, Clive Bell, Hilaire Belloc, Edmund Blunden, Lord Berners, Bernard Darwin, Cyril Connolly, Tyrone Guthrie, Harold Nicolson, Raymond Mortimer, Vita Sackville-West, Hugh Walpole, Christopher Sykes, Naomi Royde-Smith, Rose Macaulay, Ronald Knox, Siegfried Sassoon &C, many associated with the Bloomsbury group.

I am especially fond of artist Rex Whistler who designed the sets, costumes and program cover for the 1936 stage production of Helen Jerome’s play Pride and Prejudice: A Sentimental Comedy in Three Acts, produced at St. James Theatre, London. You can read my previous post to see the beautiful program art.

urn flourish

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