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Showing posts from August 23, 2009

the damnation of Mr. Bennet

In his great essay in defense of Robert Owen, Alexander Herzen remarks of 1850s England: ”The Continent, politically enslaved, is morally freer than England: the mass of ideas and doubts in circulation is much more extensive.They have become habitual and society does not shake with either fear of indignation before a free man – Wenn er die Kette bricht. On the Continent, people are powerless before authority: thgey endure their chains, but they do not respect them. The Englishman’s liberty is more in his institutions than in himself or in his conscience.” This is, I think, a nice way to begin a series of posts that alternate between M. de Staël and Jane Austen. In this way, I can get to the question of the condition of England. Why England?As de Stael said in On Literature(1801), England is the country in the world where the women are most truly loved. Between De Stael’s statement and Herzen’s, something is happening. Perhaps they are both right. De Stael thought Pride and Prejudice w